Well, The Burger Project continues, this time with a visit to an old favorite. We all have our favorite burger haunts, and the Chuck Box is a favorite of mine, especially since it was one of the first, well, dives I ever went to for a burger.
I’m sure that when it was built (which I don’t know when that was, the Box was a veteran burger joint when our family moved to Arizona in the early 80s), it was on the north side of Arizona State University, but as ASU has grown, it’s probably more accurate to say that it’s now kind of in the middle of ASU.
In any case, the Chuck Box is basically a burger shack, emphasis on the shack. It’s old gnarled wood, and it sports a definite sloppiness in construction that’s the hallmark of a “shack”. Actually, sometime in the 80s I remember the place had a bit of a makeover, in which they added some windows (greatly increasing the light level), added some ventilation (greatly reducing the smoke level from the grill), and removed a lot of the accumulated crap on the walls and ceiling. I think I liked it better before, but I’m not a building code enforcer, either.
But, even though the random mementos on the wall are interesting (including such oddities as a picture of Ronald McDonald signed “Even Ronald likes to go to the Box!”), the real features of the Chuck Box are the several foot long charcoal grill, several Frialators, and a big giant condiment bar (that says “Have it your way… but play fair!”). Basically, it’s all about having a grilled sandwich, with the main features being the “Big One” 1/3 lb burger, and the “Great Big One” 1/2 lb burger. They also have a variety of grilled chicken sandwiches and the like. All the burgers are available on white or wheat buns, with several cheeses (including pepper jack), bacon, or even fried peppers.
Finally, you can round out your burger with the free condiments bar. Nothing terribly elaborate here, but it’s got a decent array of your basic burger toppings (onions, pickles, pickled jalapenos, mustard, etc).
1. This is a seriously good charbroiled burger done right. I opted for my normal, a Big One with swiss and grilled peppers, with a bunch of onions, mustard, and jalapeno piled on.
2. Free well-stocked condiment bars should be the norm at any burger joint…
3. The fries (a.k.a. Chuckbox Potatoes) are quite good here, with a nice crunchy exterior and a mashed-potato-like interior. Seriously, I like the fries here.
1. Being in the middle of ASU, parking can be an issue, and on occasion, it’s pretty crowded.
2. If it’s not sunny out, this place can be danker than Moe’s Tavern.
All-in-all, I was glad to see that one of my favorite burgers for over 20 years is still a solidly dependable burger.