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Schoop's an area favorite for burgers, fries

March 6, 2009 1:52:00 PM PST
It's the first Friday of the month, and to ABC7 Chicago's Hungry Hound, that means one thing: burgers and fries.Food reporter Steve Dolinsky's monthly feature takes us to northwest Indiana today, where a legendary burger operation continues to win fans over with its super-thin patties.

The criteria every month is that the burger joint in question has to have at least half of its menu devoted to burgers and fries. In terms of longevity, it's hard to beat Schoop's, which started in 1948 in Hammond and has grown since then to include nearly 20 locations around the region.

At first glance, it's just another burger joint, albeit, one with a '50s-era diner look. But this isn't some "theme" they concocted, it's Schoop's, a ground beef icon in Northwest Indiana since, well, the late 1940s.

The Whiting location is one of nearly 20 in the region, most of which are on the Indiana side of the border. Their burgers have become something of a local legend.

"On the grill is like an upside down saucer. Your edges are crispy, and your middle is pretty well thick," said Neala Wolford, Manager of Schoop's in Whiting, Indiana.

That's because they smash the baseball-sized balls of ground beef into the thinnest discs possible. Doubles and triples are not uncommon. Typical toppings include cheese, bacon, mushrooms and onions. Of course, you can also customize toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, relish, pickles, mustard and ketchup.

But it's the other options on the menu that set Schoop's apart from the other burger joints in the region. For one, they always have a homemade soup or chili on the menu. They also offer a few fountain specials, including very good root beer floats.

While many of the locations are independently owned, they all offer homemade pies, like apple, available with or without ice cream.

Another regional touch: the "Irish" nachos. Translated, that's French fries topped with ranch dressing, crumbled bacon and scallions, then placed beneath a hot cheese dispenser for that unique ballpark flavor.

But seriously, it's the wide, flat, juicy burgers customers come for, and that's about all the regulars really need.

'It's good burgers...nice and juicy," said Wolford.

Schoop's Hamburgers

1449 Indianapolis Blvd.

219-659-7030

www.schoophamburgers.com

Previously featured on First Fridays with Fries:

Meatheads

2555 W. 75th St., Naperville

630-355-6066

Five Guys Burgers & Fries

1115 Lake St., Oak Park

708-358-0856

or

2140 N. Clybourn

773-327-5953

Fatburger

15100 LaGrange Rd., Orland Park

708-364-8380

Hamburger Mary's

5400 N Clark St

773-784-6969

Epic Burger

517 S. State St.

312-913-1373

The Counter

666 W. Diversey Pkwy.

773-935-1995


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