When asked about my menu, I generally tell someone why each plate is special to me. For example, let me tell you about my burger. I used to spend a lot of time in Lake Forest, Illinois and shopped at Don’s Finest Foods, a wonderful local grocer with a spectacular meat counter. His ground chuck was the best! I wish the store were still open. When I opened Ridgway Bar & Grill in the fall of 2001, I wanted to have a great burger on the menu and set out to do so. I spoke with James at Grand Western, they were at the time and still are today our only meat purveyor. My objective was to replicate Don’s Finest Grocery ground chuck. The basis is USDA prime chuck meat, freshly ground and then hand packed at the restaurant where it gets seared on a flat top griddle. The first mix was 80 percent lean to 20 percent fat. It was good, but not great. My second attempt was a ratio of 70 percent lean to 30 percent steak fat. The burger cooks like a steak and taste as good as any hunk of meat. We pan sear the burger because the open flame on the grill might get a little too active with the fat bursting onto the coals. I also like the more neutral char the heavy grill gives the beef. So that’s my story on why The Ridgway Burger is so good. Thanks to Don for his friendship, guidance and inspiration from years ago. And thanks to Grand Western for knowing that quality and taste are the only way to go. Next month I’ll tell you my Carrot Cake recipe story.