NORTH BEND — A few weeks ago when sports editor John Gunther and I announced our burger quest for the next few months, our new executive editor Amy Moss Strong had one request — to save Vinny's for a time when she could go with us.
Seems working in Bandon was a detriment to her ever getting to Vinny's Smokin' Good Burgers. Obviously that smoke wafting around the intersection of Broadway and Newmark doesn't float all the way to Bandon. If so, she'd never have been able to resist that long.
Sports editor John Gunther and I saved Vinny's for a day when new Executive Editor Amy Moss Strong could join us for lunch since she had never…
So, every Monday, we'd ask, "Is today good?"
Every week, we would put it off. So we changed our approach.
"How about Thursday?"
"That works," she said. "But I have a conference call at noon."
It made for a tight window to get the paper out first thing in the morning, check the press run, get to Vinny's, have lunch and get her back in time for her meeting.
We were hustling the whole time, but we pulled back into the parking lot at 11:58 a.m.
No problem. Plenty of time.
Good thing was that a little after 11 a.m., when we arrived at our dining destination, there wasn't much of a crowd at Vinny's ... yet.
We did have to study the menu. Like I said, it was Amy's first trip and John and I were there back in 2017. John might still be running off the calories from The Boss he had that day.
We asked our usual question and found out that the Hitman, the Meathead and the Godfather were the top three selections.
Since it was her first trip (and she's the boss), we gave Amy first choice at Vinny's massive menu.
She chose the Meathead. I heard those snickers from those of you who have been there before. I know, this is not one of those burgers for your first time at the restaurant.
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The Meathead is a 1/3-pound beef patty, pulled pork, smoked brisket with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and pickles with house and Whiskey BBQ sauce. It comes with choice of fries (regular, Parmesan garlic or Cajun) and a drink for $13.99.
This is not a choice for the weak of constitution ... but she had a plan. She already knew she was taking half of it home to her husband, Wayne. Smart decision ... that's why she's the boss.
It also gave her a sampling of a little bit of everything, the burger, the pulled pork and the brisket. It was so generously portioned that she ate one-quarter of it and saved the other quarter for later.
As new Executive Editor Amy Moss Strong found out, The Meathead is enough for two meals.
When we got our burgers, the owner brought over samples of his new smoked mac 'n' cheese. I'm now a fan.
My usual when I go to Vinny's is the Enforcer, which is the brisket. After smelling the aroma from the smoker outside, I usually want something smoked.
So in the spirit of trying something new, I ordered one of the newest burgers on the menu, Vincenzo's Revenge. It comes with a 1/3-pound beef patty, pastrami, bacon, bell pepper, pepper jack cheese and onions.
I was not smart enough to think about saving half for later. And even if I had, after tasting Vincenzo's Revenge, I probably would have finished it anyway.
If you like pastrami, this is one you should try. Every part of this burger was good.
John's choice was also off the grid, selecting the Hawaiian Assassin. It is a 1/3-pound beef patty, grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, teriyaki glaze, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and house sauce.
Vincenzo's Revenge is another of Vinny's massive hamburger creations that comes with a quarter-pound patty, pastrami, bell peppers and Swiss cheese.
We ordered three huge burgers, but in all my trips there, I've never thought about ordering the biggest one, The Godfather. This monster is two beef patties, pulled pork, bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, pickles with house and Whiskey BBQ sauce. This comes with fries and a drink for $14.99.
I can't even imagine how big that is. John had the Boss last time and it was two patties without the pulled pork and it came with something that looked like a railroad spike holding it together.
Going big is Vinny's specialty and with all the choices, there is something for everyone here. Yep, they even have a black bean burger and a vegan burger, which Amy said she'd be trying next time we go.