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POINTS

Steer Inn

Cheeseburger

I’ve driven past the Steer Inn countless times without ever stopping to check it out. It was always one of those things we have in Spokane where I think, “I’ll do it someday,” but never quite got around to doing it. Kind of like finding an entrance to the steam tunnels, or climbing the Lantern Statue downtown to read the secret message at the top (except I’ve actually done that last one).

If you read reviews of the Steer Inn on other websites, people seem to either love the food or hate it. Consistency sounded like a major issue, with people reporting good food on one visit and then lousy food the next, or vice versa.

I finally “steered in” to give the Steer Inn a try, and to see whether I would be in the “love it” or “hate it” crowd.

The Burger

There are a bunch of different burger options at the Steer Inn, but I chose to keep it simple and get a cheeseburger. It was a typical burger with cheese, ketchup, yellow mustard, diced onions, and pickles (I ordered mine without pickles). The whole thing came on a toasted white bread bun.

It didn’t look like much, and sadly, it didn’t taste like much either. The burger was literally dripping with ketchup and mustard, which is pretty much all I tasted the whole time.

About halfway through, I was pretty sure I could see pink in the center of the patty, which surprised me because of how thin the patty was.

The bun was soft, and the onions seemed fresh as well.

Every once in a while I got a bite that tasted pretty good, and it made me wish the rest of the burger tasted like that bite.

The patty seemed like the cheap frozen kind you buy at the grocery store. The bun probably is the kind you buy at the store. The cheese appeared to be a standard American cheese slice. There was nothing special about the ketchup, mustard, or onions. There was nothing about this burger that I couldn’t do just as well at home. Better, actually, because my homemade burger wouldn’t be drowning in ketchup and mustard. And mine would cost a fraction of the price.

The Fries

The packet of fries that came with my meal was a pleasant size, but unfortunately they were crinkle cut fries. No one ever seems to get these right, and I’m nearly convinced there no right way to prepare crinkle cut fries.

Instead of being limp and soggy, as crinkle cut fries often are, Steer Inn’s fries managed a firm enough exterior for each fry to remain rigid. That doesn’t mean they were crispy, though.

Frankly, the fries were inconsistent in every respect. Some were the perfect temperature, but most were too cold. Some tasted like perfectly fried potatoes, but most just tasted like grease. Some were crispy, but most were soft.

The Price

The price and value of the meal was by far the best part. I got the burger, a good amount of fries, and a small drink for under $6 after tax. That’s a great deal in my book. With prices that low, you could easily afford to get a larger burger, which I suggest you do, as I was still hungry after my meal.

The soda fountain is behind the counter, so I’m guessing beverage refills are not free, although I didn’t ask, so I could be mistaken.

The Restaurant

From the outside, the Steer Inn wasn’t much to look at. On the inside, things got a little better, with a pleasant atmosphere that was quite clean. Classic car photos and trophies lined the walls, and oldies music softly played overhead. The temperature inside was perfect, and the large windows that wrapped around the dining room let in plenty of light.

The tables and floor were very clean, but I could see crumbs on several chairs around the room. I get the impression that the tables are wiped down, but not the chairs. During the lunch rush, I did see tables being wiped down, so it was nice to know the dining room was getting attention when it was most needed.

The staff were friendly, and seemed to be equally attentive to the customers inside the restaurant as well as those in the drive-thru.

The bathrooms were typical for a fast food restaurant. They weren’t neglected, but not given much thought either. They were clean enough, and didn’t smell weird in any way.

So I didn’t “love it,” but don’t put me in the “hate it” column just yet. There were a few bites of burger and several fries I actually really enjoyed, and I feel like the Steer Inn could make a few small changes to their food that would vastly improve it.

Yes, it looked and tasted like the kind of burger I’ve made at backyard barbecues, but is that a bad thing? That’s a classic taste many of us have grown to enjoy over the years.

I do have one major plug I want to give to the Steer Inn, which is their vanilla milkshake. Remember back when McDonald’s had those shakes that were made from… Some kind of mysterious liquid in a bag? I don’t know what that stuff was, but it was incredible. Several years ago, all the major fast food restaurants shifted to making their shakes with “real ice cream,” which in my opinion doesn’t taste as good as the bag-o-shake-mix ones. Well if you’re like me, fear not: Steer Inn has you covered. I don’t know what’s in that shake mix, but it tastes so good, I honestly couldn’t care less.

So that’s where we stand, Steer Inn: Change your burgers, change your fries, but please never change your shakes.

Steer Inn
7920 N Division St. Spokane, WA 99208
(509) 467-6823

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Disagree with my review? That's cool, people have different tastes. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me why you think I got this one wrong. But keep your comments civil or they'll get deleted.

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