As you'd hope at a burger joint, the fries are topnotch, crisp and flavorful. (The onion rings, on the other hand, are done in by a too-thick batter; it's pleasantly crisp, but it dwarfs the main ingredient within.) With each order of fries, you choose an accompanying sauce from a selection of ten varieties, all of them excellent, including the aforementioned "Rooster" and cheddar-cheese concoctions. Several of these sauces are variations on ketchup — wasabi, ginger and, the standout, chipotle, smoky, sweet and a little hot — though purists may opt for ketchup, plain and simple.

The beer list features 30 drafts. All but one are area craft beers, a testament to the rapid boom in local brewing. (The last draft is a rotating "guest" beer.) There's also an extensive selection of craft sodas, almost all of them made with cane sugar. The shakes are blended with housemade ice cream. I'd like to unreservedly recommend these, but the one I chose, made with delicious salted-caramel ice cream, wasn't blended very well. I suppose I could have sent it back, but instead I ate it like ice cream, the straw my spoon.

Great flavor, flawed execution: That shake is emblematic of the single nettlesome shortcoming that too often undermined my meals at Baileys' Range. It's one thing to make a great-tasting burger, but another thing entirely to make hundreds of them at a stretch. On one visit I waited half an hour for my burger; a friend I ran into there on another day told me he'd just waited an hour for his.

Not surprisingly, Bailey didn't need me to tell him his restaurant had timing troubles. "There was sense [in the kitchen] that, 'We can't do it, we can't go any faster,'" he says. Range, he admits, "didn't have strong people in the right positions." Bailey doesn't exclude himself, either. He and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter, only weeks before the restaurant opened. Consequently, he says, "I didn't have my thumb on everyone as I usually do."

Bailey has brought aboard a new executive chef and sous chef (Peter Clark and Angel Acevedo, respectively), and he says both are experienced in the art of balancing quality and volume. He's confident that his latest venture has the kinks ironed out.

Given his track record, I'm inclined to believe him.

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3 comments
dave
dave

The flavors are delicious, but smothered by bread. Who the hell thought using pillow-sized buns was delicious?

Lincoln Douglas
Lincoln Douglas

"lack of quack." Good one. I thoroughly enjoy your reviews, Mr. Froeb. They're by far the most intelligent part of the RFT.

Court S.
Court S.

Very glad to see the attention paid to timing and inconsistencies...that was my only complaint the first time we went. My burger was served lukewarm, so though very tasty, not very palatable. Looking forward to trying it again now, and enjoying more of that awesome housemade ketchup and local brew.

 
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