PMG’s Lunch Adventure

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Hello everyone, my name is Chris Garafola and I’m honored to say I’m one of PMG’s new PR Interns. I’ve only been working here for about a month and I’m already amazed at how much I’ve learned. Having the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience is invaluable. Currently, I’m a senior at The University of Vermont and I’m majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.

Sometimes we PMG’ers like to get together and grab a nice lunch on the town. However, since there are so many great places to eat, deciding on where to have lunch is difficult. After a few suggestions were made, my fellow Intern Joe and I decided that today would be a great day for a burger—and that’s how our lunch adventure began.

Burlington, Vermont is known to many for its rolling green mountains and Lake Champlain. Yes, it’s even reported to be the stomping grounds of Champ the iconic lake monster. Almost anyone who has heard of Burlington has also more-than- likely heard of Church Street. The cobblestoned street is the center of Burlington’s energy. Everything from nightclubs, restaurants, live music and a cone of the highly acclaimed Ben and Jerry’s can be found here. However, nestled just a couple blocks away on North Street lays a hidden treasure—and I’m not talking about gold. I’m talking about burgers! Or more notably the best burger in Vermont!

This is truly a diamond in the rough. The Shopping Bag is located in what some claim to be a “rough neighborhood”. From the outside, The Shopping Bag looked uninspiring and didn’t seem like a place worthy of “Vermont’s best Hamburger.” However, after one of my roommates ate there the day prior and described it as, “the most delicious burger I’ve ever eaten!” I felt destined to try this burger. Not to mention, Joe the intern accompanying me also happens to be one of my best friends (this is when you say “awww… how cute”).

After we mustered up enough courage to enter the store we realized it wasn’t all that bad. We found out that we needed to see the cashier after deciding what we wanted to order. After we paid, Joe and I were given a scrap piece of paper that said “Scibec Sizzler”. From there, we were informed to give this scrap paper to the grill cook. My first impression of the grill cook was that of intimidation. He was a big man who had an angry look on his face. In other words, if you were ever in a fight, you would want him on your side. However, that didn’t phase me because for some reason I saw a little twinkle in his eye which said, “I may look mean but I make a meaner burger” Once the cook grabbed our slips he disappeared in the back for a little while. At first I was confused. I didn’t know whether he was going on his break or the two swipes of Old Spice I applied in the morning didn’t do the trick. I soon learned neither was the case because he returned with two of the biggest beef patties I’ve ever seen in my life. They keep the patties in the back cooler, almost as if the burger was a brick of gold and the back was a bank vault.At this point, I arrived at the realization that I was in for the most intense burger I’ve ever eaten.

While waiting for the mammoth burger to cook I decided to wander around the store. So I’m in my own little world humming Foreigner’s Cold as Ice (I had just heard it on the radio, and you know how that goes), when I came upon an attractive poster. The poster read, “Food Network, 50 States, 50 Burgers” and on it was the best ranked burgers from each state—and guess who made the list for Vermont? If you guessed our very own Shopping Bag—you guessed right! Not only was this burger hyped up by my friends, it was given national acclaim in a praised and respected magazine. My standards were rising higher and higher as the burger sizzled on the grill. Once the half pound burger was complete (and by complete I mean grilled and topped with: dill pickles, bacon, red onion, lettuce, tomato, toasted sesame seed bun, Montreal seasoning, three slices of American cheese, mustard, ketchup and mayo) it was time to eat.

Joe and I arrived back at PMG to eat our massive burgers. The once paper bags that were holding our Sizzlers now looked like see through plastic bags from all the grease that seeped through. However, it was all worth it because this burger was A M A Z I N G! Every bite I took created a juicy mouthful of flavors that wrapped around my tongue like a kid eating his first Popsicle. I was literarily in culinary heaven. Every ingredient and topping on the burger complemented each other perfectly. The experience was great and the burger was delicious. Granted it took me 17 minutes to completely finish eating it, but it was well worth it and I plan on making an excursion back to the Shopping Bag soon for round two.

Just one more thing, if you’re planning on getting a Sizzler, plan your day ahead of time. After you eat one of these bad boys you’re not going to want to strap on the old roller blades or hit the gym. Instead, you may want to lie down and watch VH1 I love the 80s while your food coma subdues.

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4 Responses to “PMG’s Lunch Adventure”

  1. Kim Grenier Says:

    Good Job Chris! I’m not a big fan of “burgers” but next time I’m around the area I might just have to get one from here. You made it sound like the “filet mignon” of burgers.

  2. Cheryl Says:

    Nice. Love to see food reports from outside the usual zone! I’ll make sure to stop by and mention pmg when I’m next passing through North St.

  3. Turkey P Says:

    I live next to The ‘Bag and I have to make one correction to your report… the beef is fresh ground per burger. not in a cooler. I believe this to be the secret of their deliciousness.

  4. Allen "Big Al" Burquist Says:

    Turkey P is correct, I’m the bald deli guy and we disappear into the back cooler to grind the patties and shape them before they are thrown onto the grill. I, too, am of the opinion that this is the secret to the sizzler.

    I have a correction to make as well.. We normally use two slices of American cheese with two slices of provolone cheese. The two slices make one layer however, as one covers only half the burger 😀

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