Finley’s – July 28, 2017
($19.75 after tax, B4 tip)
Before I start...July 28th is Watkins Glen Day to me... In 1973 The Grateful Dead played a show at the Watkins Glen Speedway with The Allman Brothers to a crowd of something like 600,000 people before that shit really happened (outside of Woodstock of course). Together they played 23 minute Mountain Jam at the end of the show...the only time The Grateful Dead played it. Daaaamn! :)
I went into work at around 9pm last night and put in a grind shift til just before 10am or some shit. I was gonna get some groceries before I left town for the weekend. Despite it being the mid-morning, to me it was end of long-ass day, and I had been thinkin’ about Finley’s burger all night because of the massive letdown in the Adventure Hotel building at Louie’s and The Uptown Tavern. I needed to get back on track on this freakin’ burger thing, so I said, “Fuck it…I’m goin’ to Finley’s to see if they’re firin’ up their burgers!”
It was about 10:45 when I rolled up. Their door was open and their open sign was lit up. “Fuck yeah! This is encouraging.” Step one…check!
I only plugged one quarter in our newly “even-shittier –parking-scene-in-Nelson-meter.”
(The chintzy fucks at the city decided to drop the time that those things are good for. First they get rid of dimes and nickels, and now a quarter ain’t even worth 15 fuckin’ minutes! Daaaaamn! They’re like hawks with those things too. Parking meters are literally the only thing that gets enforced by Bi-Law officers around here, and as far as I’m concerned we should call Bi-Law Officers for what they really are: ‘Meter Maids.’)
I walked across the street and straight up to the bar inside their door. I asked the girl behind the counter if they were serving burgers yet. She said they were, and I said, “Sweet…Can I have one of those please?” She said, “Of course.” I asked if I could get jalapenos, cheese, and bacon. She smiled more and said, “Of course-er,” only in her words of that sentiment. :)
I ordered that with a ginger ale to come with the food. She set me up, and then I went back across the street to feed that hungry bastard meter I was parked at.
When I went back inside Finley’s I wandered around. For some reason, every time I have been in there I still think about The Civic. I saw some great music there back in the day, but it always seemed dingy in there. It’s why each time I have been in Finley’s over the years I get a little more impressed. You can tell they’re puttin’ some love into the place…breathing new life into it.
I know it has been Finley’s for a bunch of years now, but even still, when I was walking around the back patio area while waiting for my food I was kinda taken aback. Admittedly, I hadn’t been back there in a long time, but I was like, “Shiiit maaan…it’s fuckin’ nice back here! They did a great job.” It made me happy for some reason, even though I don’t go there too often. I guess I like when you see people who care about what they do and then seeing it show through the way they carry themselves. That’s kinda the best way I can describe why I’d feel happy about the patio the way I did.
I wandered around lookin’ for a spot to sit. There were only maybe two other people in there at that time, and I was still wanderin’ in circles trying to find the spot I felt like sitting at. I recognized I was bein’ a bit of an idiot makin’ that big of a decision out of sitting down to eat a burger, but you know…we can’t always hide from who we are. I chose to sit in the middle facing out to Juice FM, or whatever they call their radio station now. (It has changed a few times and I don’t listen to the radio, so I never know what it’s actually called.) A good friend of mine works there, so it made me think of her and painted a smile on my face.
The Uptown Tavern and Louie’s were such a let down for my burger tour, but it felt like everything was goin’ in the right direction to make this train get back on track this morning.
I was watching a bit of golf for the last little bit of my short wait. It made me think of the comedian Bill Burr. He and I share the same opinion on one aspect of sport…unless someone’s trying to stop you, it’s not a real sport, it’s just an activity. I mean, look at elite athletes in other sports like hockey, basketball, football, MMA...they’re ripped in shape; but in golfing you can be obese while smokin’ cigarettes or cigars while you’re playing and still be crushing it. Activity!
(I had some hilarious conversations about that with my friend I worked with up the lake who lives and breathes golfing. Anyone who knows Reg Clarkson in the Balfour area knows how that conversational debate would go. :) )
I was kinda staring into space bouncing back and forth between thinkin’ of the Bill Burr/Reg Clarkson thought, and my friend who works at the Name of Many FM radio station. It was a smiley moment.
My server brought a burger & fries tool kit to my table. It was a wooden mini handled crate thing that had ketchup, HP Sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and vinegar. No other place had done that yet. I even thought that was a nice touch, ‘cause they just bring you everything you need in a tight little set-up.
I asked for a steak knife so I could cut through the burger to open it up. She grabbed the knife and dropped it off, and then my burger & fries were up, so she got those too.
I got right at it. Busted out my shitty camera and took a few photos of the burger as served. Then I clicked on video to take the video of cutting it open. (I’m not sure why I do that ‘cause I doubt I’ll ever care to look at a video of me cutting a burger in half, but I do it anyway.)
While I was slicing through I started looking forward to whenever I finish this little tour so I didn’t have to cut these bastards in half anymore. Burgers aren’t meant to be cut in half. You’re just supposed to pick ‘em up and cram ‘em in your face. I think it’s insulting to the burger to cut it in half.
Still tainted by the grease from Louie's, I was conscious to look at the plate after I sliced 'er in half and opened it up kinda like a Pac-Man the way I do. Clean plate! See for yourself! I was psyched! I then licked the little burger shrapnel off my finger before I picked up my camera again.
Daaaaamn…there was a mini little flavour rush just from licking my finger. It had a bit of a peppery bite. That made me psyched. Just had to take the freakin’ photos first! After getting that taste I felt time was of the essence even though it was anything but that.
I put the camera down, made sure the long toothpick thing was stuck through the bigger half so it wouldn’t fall apart, then I picked the small half and shoved that fucker in my face.
Inside my head: “Ooooooh Shiiiiiiiit!!!”
Outside: calm, casual and engaged in ultra face stuffin’!
This thing was fuckin’ good. The patty was perfectly cooked without asking for it to be cooked any particular way. It was moist and juicy. (All you dumb bastards who don’t like the word ‘moist’ for some reason…that shit is critical for so much properly done food in the culinary world, so you can suck it! :) ) The spicing was amazing too.
Just as impressive as the patty was the bun. It was the perfect bun. Perfect texture and size! It wasn’t crunchy like a grilled bun, but the softness didn’t turn into a soggy piece of undesirable mess like some soft buns can do when holding a burger.
The size of it was perfect too. It was a big fatty, but not over the top so it was a pain in the ass to eat. I don’t like when some restaurants try to be fancy by piling so many toppings that it’s virtually impossible to eat as a whole burger…you kinda have to eat it in stages. To me, that doesn’t make much sense. Every bite is supposed to have a bit of everything. Also, the patty is supposed to be the showcase of a burger…not a salad between the buns where the patty disappears as a little meat disk on the bottom.
(LOOKKIT THAT FUCKERRR!!!)
Everything was right with this Finley’s burger. The way I knew that was the reason alone… I didn’t even make it through the small half before I had the term, “The Perfect Burger” floating consciously through my mind. Once the thought was there it played over and over. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I mean, what more can you say than that?!
The second half seemed even better. Maybe that was because the smaller half brought me to a place of happy perfection, and now I got to eat the bigger half. Fuck yeah!
As yummy as it was I didn’t take time to savor it or anything, it was still business as usual…shove that shit in my face! It felt like I was cramming happy in my face. (Things like burgers, tacos, burritos, pizza, etc are designed specifically to be eaten in a face stuffing fashion. :) )
When I was done, I got up, grabbed my camera, and walked to the bar to pay my tab. It was $19.75 after tax and before tip. “Sweet…not only the best, but they squeaked in to be the cheapest so far too…Daaaamn Finley’s!”
I left with the term, “The Perfect Burger” rattling through my head. On my walk back across the street to my van I immediately started scrolling through the rolodex of burgers in my life in the same way you see so much of your life in a flash when you get launched over the handle bars while chargin’ on your bike. That whole, “flying through the air in slow motion feeling but is really a split second when you have enough pause to contemplate the thought, ‘Shit maaan…this is gonna hurt,’ while you watch a quick movie on your life” moment. I saw a life of burgers like that: “Webers” going to the Muskoka country as a kid, some place in Chicago the morning after the final Grateful Dead show ever, “Harvey’s” double burgers for fast food, more recently…”Zetsky’s” by the Toronto airport, and even some turkey burgers Todd brought over to Joe & Al’s many years ago…fuckin’ nice ones bro! ;)
I literally put that much thought into something that would stand up to the burger I just ate at Finley’s, and I couldn’t find any…nothing close!
Burger tour back on track? Shit maaaan…that was the Usain-9.58-Bolt ass-whuppin’ smackdown version of back on track…where second place crushes the current world record but still gets its ass handed to it! Daaaaamn!
That Finley’s burger definitely both crushed and raised the standard for what a burger should and could be in this town. The ginger ale could use a bit of lovin’, but who gives a shit, this was about the burger and it was the mutha-fucka!
705 Vernon Street, Nelson BC V1L 4G3
PHONE: 250 352 5121
FAX: 250 352 5174
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.