“Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone.”
– Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller
THE BUCKY DOME
- Fried egg
- Beef brisket
- Cheddar cheese
- Chipotle mayonnaise
- 1/3lb. beef and pork patty
- Ciabatta bun
Well, I live in Carbondale, IL now and for the foreseeable future. It’s far enough South to be in the Bible Belt, which also means that it’s South enough for glorious barbecue, distilleries and vineyard. Some would even say that Southern Illinois has the crown jewel of BBQ, but more on that later. I like the build up.
When it comes to its worth measured in overpriced minerals, Fat Patties is neither a crown jewel, nor a diamond in the rough. It’s more like.. coal. It’s close enough, it’s pressure-free and it gets your engines going. The joint is one of those bigger-on-the-inside places, and from the get-go you learn that there are no frills here, and no combos (but their fries are super good – thin as sin, crispy as hell!). Oh, and that while diamonds are expensive, so is coal: doubling or tripling the fat patties equals a fat bill.
The Bucky Dome burger is one of their mainstays, and it’s definitely a tempter. Plus, I’m a sucker for burgers dedicated to something or someone!
It’s named after the local tourist architecture of the same name and in honor of Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller who had and knew it all. Seriously, the guy was a Renaissance man and a visionary. As for the burger… Right out of the bat, the fried egg was not the runny goodness that I thought I was getting. Had that been the case, I think my dining experience would have been twice as good. I just don’t get what’s so hard to get.. I also expected a lot more flavor from the local, Lick Creek beef out of Buncombe, IL. The patty was either overshadowed by the rest of the ingredients, or was just not adequately seasoned. Something about it remained dormant and hidden and did not speak to me, so I let the beef brisket to do the talking… aaand nothing. No smokiness, just a slightly dry slab of meat that the chipotle mayonnaise and bacon had to save. I seriously regret not asking for some lettuce or tomato when they were offered to me, and if it were not for the slices of pickles and the mayo, the Bucky Dome would have been a bit too much. The bacon was absolutely delicious, however – just the right balance of salt and pepper, crispy and somewhat reminiscent of dialed down pancetta. I’m also a big fan of ciabatta bun which felt very adequate and on point – plentiful, soft, lightly dusted with flour, and just… big. It’s a rare thing to get a burger with an almost ideal bun to burger ration, and The Bucky Dome had it, so cheers to that!
Overall, I had a very mixed experience. There are few other items on the menu I’d love to try, and Fat Patties’ proximity to everything else will inevitably draw me in in the future.
As for The Bucky Dome, well, I’d say that it shares the same fate as its architectural equivalents – interesting to look at, yet struggling to catch on. Such is the curse of visionaries. I am sure that if Bucky was still alive and well, he’d be a fan of The Bucky Dome burger, though – the grass-fed beef is a nice nod to one of the founding fathers of the green movement, and Fuller would have appreciated its design.
However, Bucky also wanted “to do more with less”. This is where The Bucky Dome truly fails.