A gritty name for a gritty place - just kidding it’s in a very nice, clean strip mall, right beside a wonderful boba tea place(I used to think strip malls had to have strippers in them for some reason). Mugshots invokes mental images of carnal food and offers huge burgers and cups.

Mugshots: My hand isn't white colored

Atmosphere: Woody and raw. I don’t know how much control restaurants have over their interior decor in a strip mall, but it looked very different from any other store in the same strip mall. The tables were highly polished wood, almost looking like the preserved bread they show off during the advent month at the front of my Baptist church (They baked a loaf ~17 years ago and completely laminated it with some kind of food laminator and it’s still on display. But it’s grossly shiny and I’m terrified that it’s lasted this long). Bad wood texture. Also the wooden booths didn’t have padded seats, what’s up with that? I think it’s a BASIC requirement for booths to have padding. The brick was “raw” but fake so that it didn’t scratch me when I smacked it. I liked that.

Let’s talk elevation. I love it. Mugshots has a BUILT-IN STAIRCASE leading to its back portion. A fence to prevent people from falling off the higher back half. Ugh. It’s legit. Definitely an atmosphere-conscious locale that understands our innate human desire for possessing the higher ground. There are plenty of windows but it’s also pleasantly cave-dark the deeper you go . Made me feel like a caveman cowering in a semi-dark brick cave, feasting on my recently-killed saber tooth tiger cub and gulping water. A new experience to be sure.

Actual Food: We’ll start with the water. You ever seen a Yeti cup? Like the big personal ones that Alabama substitute teachers carry after inadvertently dropping 3 racial slurs during roll call in an AP class? Yea. Imagine that, but there’s no vacuum gap between the inside wall and outside wall, so the whole thing is massive and completely filled with ~3 pounds of water. That’s their cups. A friend I was with added a few spurts of Cholula hot sauce to my water, but it had so much dilution that I almost didn’t notice it. The spice and sour just tingled on my tongue. Tingly water is an experience everyone should have.

Normal meal is a gallon of water, burger and fries. The fries are beer-battered. I ordered with no expectations, but they are thick slab-cut fries that taste wonderful. The spice isn’t too salty and the outer shell (I think from the beer-battering) really enhances their mouthfeel and makes them plenty crispy. One of the best fries I’ve had for sure. Now, I love eggs in my burger so I had the WILL’S ALL AMERICAN BURGER with fried egg, smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. A pretty basic burger to be sure, but I really liked it. Until I realized that their BUNS were SWEET. I could go on a whole rant against every restaurant that sweetens their breads to double-stack carbs into an evolutionarily irresistible food, but I’ll keep it short. @Pizza Hut, who sweetens their pizza dough because their pizza quality can’t keep up and @Mugshots, who uses sweetened buns to make their burgers taste better subconsciously. Y’ALL ARE CHEATERS. If your FOOD QUALITY doesn’t make it delicious and you rely on a POTENT DENSITY of CARBOHYDRATES to make it good, YOU DON’T DESERVE ACCOLADES FOR ANY OF YOUR FOOD. The burger was tasty though, I will admit, and bigger than I could deal with one-handed. The worst part is that Mugshots HAS the quality requirements, so I don’t know who it’s trying to convince.

Rating: Like a self-conscious beauty, Mugshots uses sweetened buns as if their ingredient quality itself isn’t already enough to make me come back, and pairs it with a lake of water and the best fries I’ve had since Ted’s Montana Grill. Disappointed in you, Mugshots. Be proud of yourself, without the need for sugary additives. 9/14 sweetened buns


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