I like food; I will make no apologies.
Such a generous affection for chow certainly has its ups: I have enjoyed a lot of different kinds of food, from as many categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-categories that can be consumed. The expansive down: I have put on about 25 pounds since Morristown Patch launched in August 2010. Maybe 30.
Going back to that "up," though, I have eaten a lot of different kinds of food. And I, like someone who drinks a lot of wine, have developed what I would consider an at-least more acute sense of taste and appreciation than, say, someone who eats only one kind of food, or style of food, day-in, day-out.
Which brings me to Don's Burgers, Fries & Fountain, which really can't be called "fast" food, as it takes a bit longer than your usual Dollar Value Menu item. Though it serves up much of the same fare of your standard Mickey D's or BK, neither myself, nor the many fans that have been waiting a long time for this consumable tribute to the legendary Don's of Livingston, would lump it in the same category.
But, I never ate at that Don's. So, I do not have perhaps the nostalgia many of its patrons coming now to its Morristown rebirth have. I also try (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to vary my culinary canvas with a lot of different items, from Korean to Italian, Osso Bucco to octopus brain (the latter of which was one of the few items I am not itching to try again). It makes me a Jack of all Tastes, master of none.
So, when I tucked into my cheddar burger and fries at Don's this week, I was not overwhelmed. Nor was I disappointed. The meat–claimed to be 100-percent fresh ground Angus beef–is cooked to order. The cheddar was much more flavorful and rewarding than a slice of sloppy American cheese. The lettuce was crisp, the onions sharp. The tomato, well, tomatoes are lousy wherever you go this time of year.
The fries were another story. I didn't get a great look, but I think they are fresh-fried potatoes. They're ... OK. Personally, I like my fries thicker. These are more the shoestring kind and–this is going to sound bad–tasted too much like potatoes. Yes, that sounded bad. Have I just eaten too much crap to appreciate these? Who knows?
I don't think Don's is going to have any trouble attracting a loyal fanbase of customers that never experienced its Livingston ancestor. And, while I am so, so poised to shave off some of that 25 (maybe 30) pounds amassed from too many "Morristown Munchies," I certainly see myself popping in again for another bite.
So, is my opinion of this new burger joint a result of just having had a lot of different flavors pass by my lips over the last 18 months? Or, have warm and fuzzy memories of past Don's diners clouded some initial impressions? I can't honestly say if one is more accurate than another. It's up to you, my burger-loving readers, to try and decide on your own.