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Big Bird's Burgers

On the plate of Reviewer No. 2

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If you'd like a mouthful of positive Jesus vibrations crammed down your throat, drive out to Meridian and hang at the year-old Big Bird's Burgers. If you want a decent burger, save yourself the trip.

This novelty burger joint is indeed a trip. From the outside, it's an attractive space--for a strip mall--with free wi-fi and a decent patio. But once inside, glance around for a minute and you will pick up on the unabashed religious decor. You won't miss the extra-extra large T-shirts on the walls declaring "Driven by Faith: In Jesus" or "Wait Training" or the ads for The Pursuit, a church that features a rock band every Sunday. Subscribe to their Twitter feed and you'll be graced with an occasional, "Thank you, Father." Look at the message on your receipt if you are still not convinced.

I have no problem with a niche restaurant, even a Christian-themed restaurant. But if your niche is going to be Jesus, don't expect this reviewer--or a medium-sized segment of the population--to feel welcome there. And if your niche is Jesus, you have no business serving pastrami and pupiks. Or jalapenos, for that matter. Well, maybe jalapenos.

Please, Bird. That unpeppered slice of pastrami gracing your pastrami burger ($5.49) barely registers as a deli meat. And the burger, which biker dude/rock-and-roll evangelist/restaurateur Ken "Big Bird" Solts promises is marinated in a secret sauce, is a pre-made hockey puck of a patty that, in my case, was a bit too pink for comfort.

Now the pupiks, those I was more excited about. The first one was really good. Big Bird's fried chicken gizzards ($6.99 full order) brought me back to before my erstwhile vegetarian period, when my carnivorous, organ-eating Jewish grandmother introduced me to such ... uh, delicacies.

I actually called my mother to brag that I had a piping hot bag of gizzards in my lap. But by the third one, the consistency was getting to me ... I'm not sure they were fully cooked either, though it's sometimes hard to tell with crunchy gastric mills. Incidentally, Big Bird's may be the only place in the valley to get gizzards, so it is worth a stop for that.

A generous side helping of onion rings ($2.12) came with a pretty good spicy fry sauce (25 cents extra) that became my main course.

Perhaps I should have gone with some more Christian-sounding menu items, like the blue cheese burger or the big ham burger. But I did get a bite of the peanut butter and bacon burger, and it's presentation--a glob of sugary peanut butter, pickles, bacon, cheddar--actually made me wish that the lord would swoop down out of heaven and turn that "burger" into wine. Or anything edible. But alas, he/she did not.

--Nathaniel Hoffman would be fine with eternal life, so long as his peanut butter and his ground beef stay in their own pews.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Big Bird's Burgers.

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