Hubby and I ended up at Mug n Bun the other day because frankly, we were trying to go somewhere else and it was out of business. I knew Mug n Bun was nearby and it had been on the list for awhile (admittedly the part of the list I often just ignore a lot of the time). It was my first time, and I didn’t realize this is a true drive-in still. They have picnic tables and in your car service. There is also a little building they have added next door, but literally, they make the food at the drive-in and carry it across the parking lot. Luckily it was a decent day, so we sat out at the picnic tables. Neither hubby nor I are particularly keen on eating in the car.
So I have read a lot of positive things about this place, and I appreciate the fact that this place is a kind of a legend and it has been around forever, but let’s face it, they are serving pretty much everything straight from the freezer. I even asked, and was told by our server that the only things made in house are the onion rings, the root beer and the chili sauce for the dogs. So why would you drive across town for a frozen tenderloin you could get a million places? That’s my question.
Anyway, we got the root beer ($1.50) and the onion rings ($2.90) because they are the specialty and made there. Hubby ordered the tenderloin (everyone else seemed to be ordering it around us) ($3.60) and I got the special burger ($3.30). I did enjoy the root beer. I haven’t had a root beer in probably 20 something years and it tasted good. Served in a frosty mug with no ice, I can appreciate the appeal of something like this. The order of onion rings was huge! So glad we just got one to share and not the “family size” hubby was contemplating. I can’t even imagine how big that would have been. So the rings were battered in a tempura-type batter and, while they weren’t bad, I can’t say they really wowed me either. The batter was a little too doughy and there was a bit too much of it. And honestly, they could have stood to have been a little warmer. I can see how if they were done perfectly, they could be very good. Too bad they weren’t. I also wonder about the huge list of other fried side items they have on the menu and why they can’t make some of them freshly as well. They had mushrooms and zucchini among other things and I bet they could taste pretty good fried in that same batter.
So the tenderloin was one of those kinds that you just know is pre-made and frozen even without the server telling you so because it is so uniformly round. It was fine. As in, not bad for basically a fast food tenderloin. But when I recently heard of someone from out of town wanting to base their tenderloin experience on a Mug n Bun sandwich, I pleaded with them to try a different one. There are so many great ones, and this is not the one to experience a tenderloin for the first time (speaking of which, where would you tell someone who has never had one to go?).
My special burger was a burger patty with cheese and bacon served on toast. Sounded good to me, and again, it was fine, in a fast food kind of way. What can I say about it? It was your basic burger--the bacon was pretty good. If I had to choose between the two, though, I would say hubby’s tenderloin was probably better. But honestly, neither stood out for anything.
So I can see how this place could be fun in the summer sitting outside—even though the place is a little run down honestly. It is more about an old school atmosphere I think than it is about the food. I should say there were quite a few people there, even in the not so warm weather. And I guess if you lived nearby, and wanted fast food type food, at least it is locally owned. And our server was very very friendly. But I find it sad that the place has basically turned into a restaurant that just takes stuff out of a bag and fries it. I bet once, when it first opened, everything was made fresh, and I bet it was tasty.
Mug n Bun
5211 West 10th