Believe it or not, states other than New Jersey have burger joints. I know its hard to imagine them being able to compete with our incredible diners, but some of them are pretty good. Besides I’ve got a lot of burger fans who follow me on Twitter and Facebook from Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and I wanted to throw them a bone at least once. So get ready, Philly, here’s your big debut on my site with a review of Tony Jr’s.

Tony Jr’s
118 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-4917
(215) 568-4630

The Place - I found this place when I wandered a block or two off Rittenhouse Square. That’s the part of Philly that I know best, since I have friends who live nearby, and I think its the nicest part of the city. On all of the streets that branch off from the square, there are tons of trendy little cafes, sushi places and bistros. I was in a rush that afternoon, and I didn’t want to have to go for a sit down meal. I sought out Tony Jr’s because I initially thought I’d pick up an authentic Philly Cheese Steak, but that changed when I saw the menu.

Tony Jr’s restaurant space is pretty small and has only a couple of tables. I felt like I was in one of those hole in the wall places where the food could go either way and end up being a greasy mess or be a culinary diamond in the rough that I’m so used to finding in New Jersey. Most of the people who came in while I was waiting for my food were getting their stuff to go, so I assumed that this place had a reputation for being quick. They also deliver, so if you work in the area, you can order from them either via the phone or through the website, which is always helpful.

The Menu – Tony Jr’s has a pretty varied menu for such a small burger and sandwich joint. Their kitchen serves up a bunch of different sandwiches like chicken, roast pork, roast beef and, of course, Philly cheese steaks. Of greater interest to me are their burgers, which they offered with either one patty or two, bacon, and cheese. If you’ve got an aversion to meat, they also have a couple of different veggie sandwiches available and an array of wraps. (Also, if you are in fact an herbivore, I have no idea why you’re reading my burger reviews, so let me know what I’m doing right.)

The Burger – Like I said, I was originally attracted to Tony Jr’s because I saw they had Philly Cheese Steaks. I thought I could resist having a burger for once, but then I saw that Tony Jr’s didn’t just have regular beef burgers on their menu. They also had Ostrich Burgers. I thought back into the mental catalog of burgers I’ve had over the years. I know I’ve had burgers made of beef, Angus beef, Kobe beef, Buffalo, turkey, soy, veggie, and even boar, but had I had Ostrich Burgers before? Maybe, but I couldn’t recall it. I was really only going to get one shot at Tony Jr’s, since its outside of Jersey and I don’t get to Philly often, I rationalized that it would be best if I give the burger made out of bird a shot.

Now you may think that, since its poultry, they may serve the Ostrich to you as a cutlet on a bun like they would chicken. This was a true burger, though, with a shaped patty made of ground up meat. The taste was really very similar to beef, and, if you weren’t thinking about it, you might miss that it wasn’t. For the more observant or attuned taster, you’d notice that it actually tastes lighter than the heartiness and gaminess of beef. Its texture and taste lies somewhere between that of a beef burger and a a turkey burger. But don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like chicken.

The burger itself was a little greasy, just like you’d want it to be coming off a flat grill at a place like this. The hard roll they served it one was really fresh, too. It was also really savory and quite delicious, so, if you wanted to give something new a shot, I whole-heartedly recommend it!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Tony Jr’s, and that’s what earned them a review. I went in there expecting a cheese steak, and instead I was lured in to trying a burger made out of a bird rather than beef. Like I said, I was only able to visit there once, unlike most of my reviews, but I still feel confident recommending them. I say go for it. If you’re just visiting Philly, you owe it to yourself to have a Philly Cheese Steak, and, if you don’t, they do have a burger worth eating, too.