Hank’s Creekside

I am ashamed–very ashamed–to admit that after living in Sonoma County for more than three years, I have never been to Hank’s Creekside. Call me a brunch snob. I simply refuse to stand in an hour-long line for pancakes*. No matter how many Food Network stars rave about them**.

I stand corrected.

Well, sort of. Because I still have no idea if their pancakes are worth the wait. I can’t tell you with any assuredness that their biscuits and gravy will make your knees buckle. But I can tell you that their burgers are damn fine. Damn fine. And if that’s any indication about the rest of the menu, I may be standing along the banks of the Santa Rosa Creek with the rest of you sleepy-eyed brunchers sometime very soon.

Let me break it down-
Medium rare means just that: I’ll worry about food-borne illness. Here at Hank’s if you want your burger a little on the pink side, it comes that way. Not charcoal grey through and through. That means they’re confident about the meat. And it shows.
Skip the foie-gras: I’m all for culinary imagination, but sometimes it’s nice just to taste the hamburger. A little onion. Maybe some avocado if I’m feeling adventurous. Hank’s gets it.
Toasted bun: Not too bready, and nicely crisped. No onions or sesame seeds or other goo-gaws to get stuck in your teeth afterwards.
Enough is always enough: Sometimes you want a burger as big as your head. Usually, however, you don’t. Hank’s Creekside serves up burgers that are thick enough to satisfy. ‘Nuff said.
Sides matter: Crispy fries are a burger’s best friend. Again, dead-on.
Burger with a view: If you’re lucky, you’ll get a prime spot by the windows, overlooking the jungle of vines climing the banks and the creek below. What could be better?

So, after careful consideration, I’m elevating Hank’s to my new favorite burger joint (see past winners here). Giving all you burger fans yet another reason to throng to Hank’s. Just save me a place in line, will you?

Hank’s Creekside, 2800 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707.575.8839

* Since pretty much everyone in Sonoma County has been to Hank’s at least once in their life, I’ll forgo a lengthy explanation. But for those of you (like me) who are Hank’s Virgins, imaging a place where the smell of bacon and eggs permeates everything, ‘How Ya Doin’ staff, ketchup bottles on the table, kids everywhere and just about everyone talking to their neighbors (because they’re probably actual neighbors).

**Rachel Ray has recommended Hank’s in her Tasty Travels show and Guy Fieri was recently at the restaurant filming for his forthcoming show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.