Coming off a 400 mile trip from Kentucky I was flat-starving by the time I hit Gadsden, Alabama.
I was sorely tempted to pull off Interstate 59 and get a rib plate from Lizzie’s Barbecue but my visits to Birmingham come only once a year and I had a nigh overwhelming urge for a Milo’s burger and a sleeve of their popcorn salt-french fries.
It’s a meal that I’ve enjoyed dozens of times since I matriculated at UAB back when Country Boy Eddie and Sun Ra were both on the towns-folks lips about the city.
Walking into the new (to me) Milo’s on 19th Street, the familiar smell of hot fried potatoes and flat-top burgers filled the air. There’s a lady on line in front of me having a mental breakdown but her friend quickly ushers her out of doors before she clambers over the counter and gets made famous on LiveLeak.
I order my standard: french fries, hamburger, sweet tea and all the fried pies, and make my way to a window seat so I can soak in good old Bham, and wool-gather over all the high times I used to have in the jewel of the Deep South.
Then the food hit the table.
I dearly love a good hamburger and Milo’s has always had the best, fast-food burger in the market but this patty tastes like it came off an old, downer-cow the manager hit with his Taurus on his way into work from Forestdale.
The meat tastes old. Like it had been pattied out when Paul Finebaum still had hair-old.
Old.Milo’s Hamburgers and Milo’s Famous Tea had a famous falling out back in 2012 when the burger chain vowed to quit using the tea company’s product. The old burger restaurant spun off its tea division in 2002 with the heirs of Milo Carlton switching full-time to the beverage line and selling the restaurants as a separate entity to a Dean Chitwood.
With great growth (Milo’s now has 15 stores) often comes a commensurate drop in quality. One has to wonder if that’s what’s going on at Milo’s Hamburgers.
This is what I pondered as I tossed half my hamburger in the waste can as I made my way to the front door.
401 19th St S #130