The Rookery (Macon, GA)

Since we’re just south of Macon, GA for a couple weeks, we decided to head into “downtown Macon” for their Friday Fest. We picked out The Rookery, a local bar and restaurant, to grab some burgers and a drink before walking around and seeing the area. Overall, it was a worthwhile choice. We kind of splurged and went for most of the fried stuff…not exactly healthy, but most certainly delicious!

The Jimmy Carter Burger

Scott opted for the “Jimmy Carter Burger,” which is an 8oz burger with peanut butter and bacon. Yes, peanut butter and bacon. Now, before you turn up your nose, let me assure you that this odd combination was a hit with both of us, along with the people at the next table that have had one.

The peanut butter is all melty and gooey and goes really well with the beef and bacon flavors. It reminded me of Sunday morning breakfast, when you have toast with peanut butter and shove some bacon in there, but they added some beef just for good measure.

It’s a simple, but effective combination. There’s no lettuce, tomato, or other vegetables to get in the way of meaty, peanutty goodness. The only real complaint is that it’s a tad shy on the bacon. It just has one small strip that covers about 4 whole bites of the burger.

The Ray Charles Burger

Edie went with the “Ray Charles Burger” with pepperjack, guacamole, and bacon, plus the standard burger toppings of lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mayonnaise, though she got it without mayo. It was basically like eating a taco on a bun.

The guacamole was fresh and had a strong cumin flavor. It was even served with a wedge of lime that definitely kicked the flavor up a notch. The whole combination worked really well to make a very fresh tasting burger.

The only complaint was that this burger was in no way, shape, or form cooked medium-well as requested. It was more like medium-rare to medium. Luckily, she didn’t have any issues with it and dug right in.

Some overall notes on the burgers. The burgers are big, but not too big. They’re just the right size for a solid meal. For a $3 upcharge per burger, you get grass-fed beef from a local Georgia farm, Rocking Chair Ranch. We always appreciate being able to get local, properly raised meats, and this was some tasty beef, definitely worth the upgrade. One other nice touch: salt and pepper grinders on each table.

Extras

Fried Pickle Spears

We got an appetizer of the fried pickle spears, which were served with jalapeno ranch. The ranch has a NICE kick that bites you back. For $5, you get 8 pickle spears, so no complaints about the size of the order. They have a crusty, crispy breading, but the pickle is still crisp, evidence of a great flash-frying. These are pretty much perfect (4.5/5). They could be served with more of the jalapeno ranch, though to be fair, we didn’t ask if we could get more.

Battered Fries

The battered fries are a $1.50 substitute from the regular fries. They’re similar to Arby’s fries, but crispier, thicker, and meatier. They have a decent spicing, though could use a bit more. The serving size was ample, but for the price, I’d stick with the regular fries. They’re good, but not really good enough to charge more for.

Onion Rings

We’re big fans of onion rings. They’re vegetables, so they’re healthy, right? These are crispy with a perfect breading-to-onion ratio. The Rookery really knows how to fry. For only $1.50 extra, we give these a 5.

The Service

Mary, our server, was friendly and attentive and talked about dogs with us. She’d only been there for a month, but was still really knowledgeable about the food. Unfortunately, the appetizer and entrees were served within 2 minutes of each other, which is never good. That’s actually the only reason the overall rating for Service is below a 5. Mary herself rocked.

Overall Value

Without our drinks (Old Rasputin Imperial Stout for Scott and Woodford Reserve on the rocks for Edie), the total was $36, which seems a tad high for two burgers and an appetizer. The kicker is that you start with $9-12 burgers, then add $3 to get the good grass-fed beef, and you end up with $12-15 burgers. Maybe if the starting price of a burger made with mass-market conventional beef was more in line, the overall price would be better. Compared to Bluegrass Burgers in Louisville, KY, where the grass-fed beef is the standard option for $8, these are overpriced. We were full when we left, but burgers and fried stuff shouldn’t run this high.

The Doggy Bag, By Knox

Yay, leftovers!!!! I got to try some of the burger made from a fellow named Ray Charles, a taste of someone named Jimmy Carter, who tasted a lot like that Ray guy, and a couple of those fries and a fried pickle. All in all, it was great, but seriously, what the hell is this fried pickle thing? At least the breading tasted good. I left the green part for Mom, but Scott picked it up and threw it in the trash, which wasn’t very nice. Now what’s Mom going to do when she gets hungry?

Overall Ratings

Jimmy Carter Burger
Ray Charles Burger
Extras
Service
Overall Value
Final Rating
Knox’s Rating