Open weekdays 11:30 a.m. to 11 Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m. Accepts American Express and Bank Americard only. Accessible to wheelchairs. Large free parking lot available. No reservations.
Hamburger Hamlet has what must be every kid's idea of the perfect mean: Hamburgers.
The establishment at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard is dimly lit with dark wood walls, mirrors and seating on various levels. The tables are nicely spaced and have comfortably upholstered seats.
In the rear is a raw bar, deserted at 7 o'clock on a Sunday evening. The crowd consisted mostly of families out for hamburgers.
While there is more than burgers on the menu - several salads, soups, omelettes, sandwiches and fried shrimp platters - everywhere we looked we saw broiled burgers on buns.
Two sets of hamburgers are offered - half-pounders which come with a choice of potatoes or salad, or quarter-pounders which come with potatoes and an optional salad for an extra 75 cents. All five of us chose one of the quarter-pounders with salad.
We started with a half-liter of wine $2.50 for the two adults and Shirley Temples all around for three children at 75 cents each. The waitress was patient about indecisive orders and and made careful note of how we wanted each hamburger cooked. Though we varied from rare to medium well, everything came out pretty much the same - good, but medium.
Salads were bowls of iceberg lettuce with a choice of dressings. We tried the house dressing - a creamy concoction that we liked. Our 10-year-old daughter had a plain hamburger ($1.95), her friend and our son had the double cheeseburger - double on the cheese, not the burger ($2.50).
My husband and I were more adventurous. He had the Hamlet Himself, a melange of sauce marinara, melted cheese, raw onions, baked beans and something called cherry peppers ($2.95) top of the line for quarter-pound selections). The baked beans came in a crock and were, he said, sensational.I had The Greatest, a burger with melted cheese, bacon and Thousand Island Dressing ($2.75). We found the quarter-pound size ample of adults and not over-whelming for our children.
As to the onion rings, available in half or full orders, we went for two orders for five of us, everyone swearing they loved onion rings. If you like thickly breaded deep fried rings, these were very good. Personally, I lean to less breading. We managed to finish off the two large orders at the expense of the steak fries - thickly sliced french fries were less than crisp.
We had heard desserts were of the old-fashioned, fabulous kind and opted to split two between us. Our daughter and her friend shared a chocolate shake that was 95 cents. The waitress brought it out already poured into two large glasses, each filled with frosty shake. Three of us shared the fudge cake ($1.75). We consider ourselves possessed with hearty appetities, especially for dessert but this was almost too much for three. It came on a platter the size of a hamburger plate and was dripping over with its sinful ingredients. It was also delicious - light chocolate cake layered with fudge, gobs of vanilla ice cream, tons of hot fudge, mounds of ersatz whipped cream. The waitress was cheerful about supplying extra plates and forks. She seemed ready for any sharing requests.
The tab for the meal, including tax, came to $27.83 for the five of us.