Owner Mohsen Kalbassi prepares a Swiss mushroom burger at Ernie’s All American Burger.
Owner Mohsen Kalbassi prepares a Swiss mushroom burger at Ernie’s All American Burger.

I think we can all admit we’ve eaten at a gas station before. Sometimes the siren song of the long overcooked hot dog spinning on the metal rollers is too much to resist. Or maybe it’s just me. Ernie’s All American Burger may share space with a gas station, but you won’t find any sad, dried-up hot dogs here. Instead, Ernie’s is a small eatery offering items ranging from burgers to pasta to chicken fried steak.

On this trip, my friend Tim and I were in the mood for burgers. I went with the namesake, the Ernie’s All American burger ($5.89 for the combo, which includes a drink and fries). Instead of fries, I decided to get the onion rings ($2.25). The All American comes with a quarter pound patty on a choice of Texas toast or a sesame bun. I would probably eat cat food if it came on Texas toast, so clearly I jumped on the chance to have this with my burger. Tim went with the Swiss mushroom melt ($7.19 for the combo), added on bacon and upgraded his drink to a milkshake ($3.25). He also went with the Texas toast.

After placing our order with the very friendly woman behind the counter, we took a seat at one of the booths. While the space is small, it’s set up well and is very clean. The walls are sponge painted—giving it a bit of a cave-like feel. For those who want to skip coming inside all together, Ernie’s offers a drive-thru.

Tim and I were starving, so he was happy when his chocolate shake was brought out first. I was about to be jealous, but then the friendly counter woman placed a tiny cup of chocolate shake in front of me so I could have a sample, too! The shake was rich and chocolaty and I kept refilling my cup from Tim’s shake.

The rest of the food arrived fairly quickly after this. My burger was large and piled high with chopped lettuce, tomato and pickles. A slice of cheese covered the burger, which was resting in between two fat slices of Texas toast. The burger was cooked well and was tasty, but overall, it seemed sort of average. I hate to even say this, but I almost felt like the Texas toast was too much bread. Trust me, those words have never come out of my mouth before. I set to work on my onion rings, which were perfectly battered and nice and crispy.

Meanwhile, Tim was practically proposing marriage to his burger. He offered me a bite, and I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. They chopped up the bacon and mixed it in with the melted cheese and mushrooms, meaning you got bacon in every cheesy, melty bite. Where I felt the Texas toast was too much bread on the other burger, on the mushroom Swiss, it seemed to work to hold everything together. The crinkle cut fries were salty and crispy, but overall, I preferred the onion rings.

We ate about every bite of food presented to us and had to roll ourselves back out into the parking lot. Ernie’s has good food and reasonable prices, but next time I would definitely go with one of the specialty burgers versus the plain one. So if you find yourself in Sparks needing gas, double down and get yourself a burger, too.

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