Having heard that the Best Burger Barn in Denison turned out a pretty good hamburger, it went on my list of places to review. With that in mind, I picked up a friend, and we dropped in recently at about noon to have lunch.

That proved to be my first mistake.

While their lineup of burgers sounded tasty, I decided to try the Reuben sandwich. It was advertised as grilled on rye with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and house-made thousand island dressing, and that sounds like a winning recipe. I like Reubens, especially when I can add a dollop of mustard to each bite, and consider a properly constructed sandwich as a mark that the restaurant if making a good faith effort.

So why was that decision my second mistake? It is sort of like the “When in Rome….” concept. When in a burger place, or a place that touts its burgers, have a burger — at least the first time. It seems only fair. But I ordered the Reuben.

My friend chose a Chihuahua, described as a pair of grilled all beef wieners served open-faced on a buttered roll with chili, cheese and onions. We then added fries with some onion rings, which the waitress said she would do so we could try both.

The restaurant was not particularly busy for the lunch hour, and the old building with very high ceilings, obviously a hard space to heat efficiently, was chilly. I tend toward being cold all the the time on these chilly gray days, but even my friend remarked on the lively cool draft blowing around our ankles.

My Reuben arrived, and it looked like the real thing. The server even remembered my request for a side of mustard. But while the sandwich seemed as advertised, it did not quite measure it. It was soggy, and grilled sandwiches ought not be soggy on the bottom. In the end, I resorted to a knife and fork approach. The corned beef appeared to be in slivers rather than slices, and the flavor was not very pronounced.

My friend described his hot dogs as OK with a topping of “undistinguished” chili and while he commented on the nice crust on the onion rings, both the rings and the fries were no better than warm on the temperature scale.

Overall, my first outing to the Best Burger Barn was unremarkable, but as I said earlier, perhaps that was from my error. Their burgers are widely praised, and that is what I should have had. That probably is what they do best, and the next time — and I will definitely give them another try — that is what I will have. When I do, I will let you know how it turns out.

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