Lindy’s On Fourth, Tucson, Ariz.
This will be my second no-food picture one, as, like Ike’s Place, my visit to Lindy’s on Fourth predates when I took pictures of food. So I’ll just have to give everything a description as best as I can of the burgers that make Lindy’s a Tucson institution.
Basically, Lindy’s is to burgers what Ike’s is to sandwiches what Voodoo is to doughnuts. The restaurant loves to come up with creative names for its multiple burger creations, and its abundance of burgers puts it on a par with Vortex. Lindy’s boasts 23 burgers, and like Vortex, for a nominal fee, you can substitute a meatless patty or a chicken breast for those who simply aren’t fans of beef.
Once there, your first choice is how many patties you want. Most burgers come with one, two or three, with each patty weighing in at 1/3 pounds. For the people with ridiculously huge appetites, however, Lindy’s offers the AZ Hooligan, which features five patties. If that’s not enough, you can take on the challenge of the OMFG burger, which features nine patties, plus Swiss and cheddar cheeses and the traditional burger toppings. Finish in 30 minutes and you win and get a picture on the wall. Get it done in 20, and your burger is free. If not, you’re paying $25.
With the huge portions out of the way, it’s time to get down to the creativity that is Lindy’s menu. Options include the Ninja, which features pineapple, provolone, ginger and wasabi, the Spartacus, featuring feta cheese and Greek tzatziki sauce (although Spartacus was Roman, not sure what that’s about), the Picnic Basket, which tops your burger with a mound of potato salad and the Fat Bastard, which adds a fried egg and bacon to the burger on a glazed cinnamon roll.
In the face of all those options, I went with something else I’d never tried: the Mac and Cheese burger. It’s your standard burger, with one big change. The burger patty is covered with Kraft macaroni and cheese, combining two of America’s most loved comfort foods. The result is a tasty mess that is all but guaranteed to fall apart, but it’s so worth the hassle.
The noodles and cheese sauce work very well with the tastes of the perfectly grilled burger, and the macaroni has the unintentional effect of turning the fries (if you chose to order them) into an impromptu plate of cheese fries. Would that I could discover mistakes like this more often.
Besides the burgers, Lindy’s also serves cheesesteaks, with far fewer options to them than exist on their burgers. There are a few things you can play around with, but cheesesteaks are not one of them. Staying true to how it’s done in Philly, your only cheese options on these are provolone or Whiz. It is strange that no American is offered (for those unfamiliar, American is also considered perfectly reasonable on a true Philly, but Swiss is never allowed), but I guess they voted to focus the creativity on the burgers, and given the results. I can’t fault them for that.
Sure, Arizona might be known for Mexican and Sonoran cuisine, but there’s always room for a good burger, no matter what part of the country you’re in. When you’re as creative with your burgers as Lindy’s is, you’re going to find a following no matter where you are, and deservedly so.
Time to go: Depends on the day. Lindy’s is closed at 4 p.m. on Mondays and 5 p.m. on Sundays, but it stays open as late as 2 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday. If you’re going on a day that isn’t Sunday or Monday, a late visit works.
Wait during my visit: On the longer side, as the restaurant is in an old town section of Tucson somewhat close to the University of Arizona.
Location: Lindy’s is at 431 N. 4th Avenue. Be especially vigilant here, it is not easy to find from the road.
Cost: Not bad, a burger and fries should run you about $11.
Parking: Good luck. There’s only street parking here, and this street gets very busy. I don’t even remember where I managed to find a space, I just remember I was pretty sure I was parked illegally in one area. Just grab the first open spot you can find.
Website: Lindy’s On Fourth
Specialty items: Burgers