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Thursday, July 27, 2006

So I'm not eating at Ham's anymore

Go Triad - Most Greensboro residents know that Ham's Restaurant started in that tiny building on Friendly Avenue a little more than 70 years ago. It has changed form throughout the years, and it has branched out a bit, but some of the roots still show.

For starters, the menu is heavily sandwich- and burger-based, which makes sense for a place that started off as a deli. Still, the increasingly popular Ham's is shaping up to be another successful, albeit faceless, restaurant chain.

Each of its restaurants boasts the trademark toy train chugging about the place, but the rest of the decoration offers no discernible theme.

Street signs from another century, birdhouses and athletic memorabilia cover the walls. It's as if a disorganized antiques store exploded and a restaurant was salvaged from the remains.

One feature of Ham's I enjoy is its resemblance to a sports bar. There are never fewer than three televisions in sight, no matter where you're sitting. The location on High Point Road also has a pool table and a few arcade games if you get bored with ESPN.

Unfortunately, like many bars, Ham's offers karaoke a couple of nights a week. Nothing quite ruins a meal like a drunk person belting out Celine Dion. But bad karaoke wasn't enough to keep me from checking out "Charlie's Cheeseburger," the Tuesday special offered at the High Point Road location.

For $2.99, you get an Angus beef cheeseburger and a side of scrumptious potato chips with ranch dressing for dipping. The only downside is that you're required to buy a soft drink with the deal, which tacks on another $1.99. That's how they get you, as they say.

My $3 meal arrived, and I was confronted with a frustrating example of getting what you pay for. I can only guess, but it seems that Ham's keeps up with the Tuesday-night cheeseburger rush by making a few orders early, say around noon, and letting them sit out until an unlucky customer orders one. My burger was a six-ounce mass of only slightly warm meat, the melted cheese having long ago reformed to its solid state.

Full column here

I've gotten only happy readers and Nigerian bankers emailing me about this one, but it's my first actual negative review. We'll see how it plays out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ham's has been transformed from that cool little deli bar on Friendly to a regional chain and with it, the loss of identity. Families love the place because it's a cheap eat. College kids love it because of the cheap eats and loose ID poliy.

It's a shame that the Ham's name has been transformed; but "O'Charlie's" was already taken.

It's not the best food, not the cheapest beer; but still it can be neighborhood bar for a lot of folks.

Don Moore

7/27/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Elledge said...

Allow me to suggest that you try the Old South burger before completely quitting Ham's.

8/02/2006 09:01:00 PM  

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