Scratch Burger, scratch-made fries

You’d be surprised how crowded Scratch Kitchen can get on a Wednesday night. Or, no, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a burger place with a gimmick. People love that. Who might’ve been surprised: the restaurant’s management, who only had three people on the clock—a cook, a server, and a busperson—for the bulk of the evening shift. Well, four people, actually. About 45 minutes after my dining companion and I arrived and took seats at the bar a couple weeks ago, one of the owners materialized, explained that he was “running late,” and took our order. I’d had a couple of glasses of wine—one of them gratis, either an oversight or to make up for the wait, but who cares—and was feeling uncharacteristically forgiving. But if I was that waitress, that poor, apologetic lady running herself ragged, I might have wrung his neck.

Yeah, so, we caught them on a bad night. Anyway, the proprietors of the newish Forest Park burger joint are doing great considering how high the space’s previous occupant set the fuck-up bar (he was apparently nabbed by the DEA for dealing cocaine from the location). Instead of narcotics, Scratch Kitchen’s “thing,” as their name overtly suggests, is making everything from scratch, right down to the ketchup and mustard. I’m dubious, but more on that in a sec.

Wait time aside, Scratch Kitchen is an exceedingly pleasant little place. It’s cozy, filled with televisions (which I find comforting because I was raised by one), and they play good music. The TV in front of us was tuned to the Food Network, which I take as subliminal suggestion to alert that dinglebag Guy Fieri to their presence. Do we still like making fun of Guy Fieri? That felt really boring. Anyway, the bar wraps around the open kitchen, creating a sort of hearth that smells of charbroiled meat. They only serve canned beer and box wine. I’m into pushing back against pretension.