Zombie Burger: Burgers (and Brains) on a Budget

ImageDuring my three week hiatus from writing on this blog, I spent a weekend at home, completed a three-week online class, moved into a new apartment above the edgy and wonderful Mars Cafe [2318 University Ave], and started a new full-time internship at Meredith Corporation. As crazy as that was, I also made the transition from Drake University hall resident to crap-I-have-to-pay-for-this-apartment tenant, which means money is even tighter than usual. So I’ve tightened my belt and hunted down some cheap joints for lunch and dinner, giving me a break from my EasyMac, Ramen and omelet diet.

This past Saturday, my new roommate, ex-roommate and I headed to Zombie Burger and Drink Lab [300 E. Grand Ave.], a zombie-themed restaurant in downtown DSM. Remembering my last trip, I was careful to wear clothing that would disguise an inevitable “food baby.”

Zombie Burger is divided into two halves: a full-service, sit-down dinner and a quick-service counter for grabbing a bite on the go. Both sides maintain a traditional burger joint decor [not too far from your typical Steak & Shake] with a distinctly zombie twist. My favorite touch was the wall of zombified movie posters–Toy Gory, The Horde of Dead Things: The Tomb Towers, and Bleak is the Future–and the mural of Des-Moines-inspired zombies, including one undead fellow who was rocking some Drake apparel.

We decided to grab food at the quick-service counter and eat outside [Partly because we wanted to avoid tip]. The menu varies from your basic Zombie Burger, an American cheeseburger [$5 for a single, $7 for a double], to the more complex “They’re Coming to Get You Barbara” which includes a two grilled-cheese-sandwich bun, American cheese, caramelized onion, bacon and Zombie sauce [$7.50 for a single, $9.50 for a double]. But I settled on a single “28 Days Later” burger with blue cheese, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo for $5.50. My dinner guests both bought single Flamethrowers for $5.50 each; their burgers included buffalo sauce, blue cheese, onion rings and ranch dressing. We split a fry basket between the three of us for $3.29. One basket was plenty big for three college girls.

Although I did not purchase them this time around, I have previously enjoyed the sinfully delicious chili cheese fries for $5.50; they can be easily split between three people as well. I would also recommend the Zombie Bride Wedding and Red Velvet cake shakes for $5 each, they were both to die and undie for.

In the end I spent roughly $8.50 on a decent burger, fountain drink and one third of a fry basket, not bad for a Saturday night dinner downtown. And where else are you going to eat an Undead Elvis for just $6?

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