The Indy Burger Guy visited the Lemon Drop on Saturday, October 15, 2016.
One of my favorite annual autumnal traditions has become getting together with some friends every Halloween and watching horror movies. My wife and I have hung out with the same group of friends for the past three years and watched about six different scary movies.
Last year, our friends moved up to Pendleton, IN, so we’ve been having our annual film watching with them up there.
Earlier in the year, my buddy sends me this text:
I had to inform him that The Lemon Drop was, in fact, on my list and that he’d have to accompany me out there some time.
So, when time came to plan our annual horror movie night, The Lemon Drop was a logical choice for our pre-film meal stop. And, I have to say, I’m glad we did!
Firstly, let me say that The Lemon Drop is tiny. Like, seating-for-maybe-thirty-people tiny. There are four or five tables around the perimeter of the restaurant, a booth in the corner, and a bar where the cash register sits, behind which is the small kitchen and grill area. And, on a Saturday night in mid-October, this place was packed – understandably so!
The Lemon Drop has been a staple in the Anderson landscape since 1954, serving burgers to the population for over 60 years! In that time, many people have lighted its doorstep (though The Lemon Drop clearly enjoys its popularity among the Indianapolis Colts – there are a number of laminated photographs hanging on the large steel refrigerator in the kitchen, visible to the clientele, of Andrew Luck and others enjoying their burgers). If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t stay open for 60+ years unless you’re doing something right!
That ‘something’ their doing right is the Double Onionburger. “The Onionburger is their signature burger,” my buddy told me as my wife and I slid into the booth they were already occupying. He informed me that The Lemon Drop specialized in smashed patty burgers (!!!), so I opted for the Double Onionburger (since I’ve discovered that single smashed patty burgers tend to be lacking in the precious MTB ratio).
What my buddy failed to tell me was that the single Onionburger was already a double cheeseburger! For the uninitiated, The Lemon Drop cooks their burgers on the small, well-seasoned grill behind the bar. The Onionburger consists of two smashed patties with griddled onions sandwiched in between them. Following that, the Double Onionburger is four smashed patties, each set containing griddled onions. It’s a spectacular combination!
The burgers themselves come plain on either a bun or toast. (The ‘toasted cheeseburger’ is The Lemon Drop’s other signature burger.) I opted for the bun and then for lettuce (iceberg, natch), tomato, cheese (of course!), and mayonnaise. (No need for onions, since they’re already included!) It was one of the most original burger concepts I’d ever seen and incredibly tasty as well! The griddled onion flavor permeated the meat beautifully, leading to a great-tasting burger reminiscent of the best expertly-cooked diner burger!
That being said, the Double Onionburger was not without its flaws. I had ordered the burger on a bun but, after eating it, I started to wish I’d gone with the toast option. Like any great diner burger, grease was a major factor and the white hamburger bun this beast was served on could not stand up its formidable might. As such, I was left with a bun that turned soggy a little too quickly and began to fall apart by burger’s end.
I also felt that the meat could’ve been seasoned a bit more aggressively. A little salt would have gone a long way to elevating the burger to another echelon. I also thought that the cheese on the burger (only one slice for a double burger) could have been applied sooner – while the burger was still on the heat, as opposed to after it had been placed on the bun. If that had happened, the cheese would have been oozy and melty from start to finish. Instead, I got a burger that didn’t have that great cheesy punch until the last few bites.
Still, The Lemon Drop is a great spot and one well worth your time and effort to try! The waitstaff are incredibly kind and dedicated (they don’t use pads to take your order – everything is committed to memory… and all of our orders came out perfectly). There’s an old-school jukebox in the corner and even a basket of lemon drops up by the register for you to enjoy while you’re paying your bill! Check out The Lemon Drop and enjoy a great burger and some great atmosphere! It’s a great slice of Americana trapped in the middle of Indiana’s 15th largest city!
FINAL RANKING: 8.0/10
The Lemon Drop
1701 Mounds Rd.
Anderson, IN 46016
Visit The Lemon Drop on Facebook!
Cost Range: $ ($6 and under)