Cheap Thrills: Burgers and Fried Giardiniera

Parts and Labor keeps its burgers simple

Parts and Labor is nothing like the "gourmet" burger joints that are taking over the city.

The burgers cost a cool $5 ($6 if you want bacon). That's only about 40 cents more than McDonald's, by they way. Ten bucks gets you a "combo"–a double burger, a side and either a beer or a shot. It's tough to do better than that in this town.

TPuritans rejoice: There's no prosciutto, lamb, feta or salmon hiding between these buns. There are two griddled beef patties, lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese. If you love a classic burger, you're already satisfied.

And you haven't even gotten to the sides ($3 each). The fried giardiniera is a game-changer. (Why isn't all giardiniera lightly breaded and fried to a crisp?) The spicy, salty tang of the vinegar marinade cuts through the fat, so you can basically keep eating this stuff indefinitely. (It's healthy, right? There are vegetables in there somewhere.)

Fried pickles

Crispy onion rings have just enough crust to make them satisfying. The fried pickles are barely breaded and only lightly fried, so the slices keep their texture. Skip the fries altogether; just order more fried veggies.

Parts and Labor's 17 fancy sodas–like Sioux City prickly pear or Mexican Coke–are a step up from the typical burger shack. And if you want to keep it local, end your meal with a classic Green River float.

Or a shot of whiskey. Your call.