2 Fleur
Average check per person $5-$15
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Lee’s Hamburgers

Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 1507 Metairie Rd . 504-837-8990. Map.
Very Casual
AE MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
A modern revival of an ancient New Orleans institution, the current Lee’s captures a bit–but not all–of the flavor that made the place famous. That hinged on the grilling of the ground meat patties with the chopped onions already in the mix. The reason it’s not quite the same is that the current Lee’s takes a page from the fast-food burger stands of today (the old Lee’s was anything but fast) by cooking its burgers on a grill that’s not hot enough to caramelize the onions. The slightly burned onions were what created the old Lee’s excitement. Still, it’s a better burger than most.

WHAT’S GOOD
The meat is fresh, the hamburgers come right off the grill, and the buns are warmed beforehand. Could be better, but it could be much, much worse.

BACKSTORY
Lee’s goes back to the hamburger’s earliest days, before World War I. Lee Hash’s original stand was downtown, near the Orpheum Theater. Most people who remember the original recall its second location on Tulane Avenue near the Criminal Courts Building. After that closed down, the family more or less retired to Slidell, where they kept an outpost of Lee’s going in a location you had to really look for. In the early 1980s, some entrepreneurs took a franchise on the name and began opening the new version of Lee’s here and there throughout the city.

DINING ROOM
The look varies from place to place, but all of the Lee’s are utilitarian eateries with walls decorated with old New Orleans relics, with memories of 1950s rock and roll. They’re not as antiseptic as the typical fast food chain, but not as rough and grubby as Bud’s Broiler.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Hamburger
Grilled chicken sandwich
French fries

FOR BEST RESULTS
Pass on the fries, which are really ordinary.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The old Lee’s taste could be restored with a hotter grill that could put a crust on the burger. But that’s trickier to cook than the way they do it now, requiring more skill on the part of the cooks.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment -1
  • Consistency
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open some holidays
  • Open all afternoon
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking

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