After a doctor's visit at St. Vincent's recently, we had the opportunity to try Chris Z's for lunch. When asked what their "specialty" is, although they've gotten kudos for their hot dogs, they guided us toward the burgers -- quarter-pound patties handmade every morning, they said. So we got one "all the way" -- mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and Z's special sauce (Birmingham-style hot dog sauce).
The order was ready surprisingly quickly, and the burger was good, with the amount of condiments complementing the meat rather than covering it up, no one condiment fighting for supremacy. A little messy, with the special sauce, and a toasted bun would have been nice, but overall, quite good. The shoestring fries were good, too. One word of caution -- be careful when ordering a "cheeseburger" that it doesn't get confused with a "Z burger," which is a double-patty monster on a larger, sesame seed bun.
The atmosphere is very casual, seating three dozen max, with state and local sports memorabilia on the walls. You order at the counter and serve yourself fountain drinks, then pick up your order when it's called out.
Chris Z's offers breakfast and lunch, serving 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and also does catering. Breakfast offerings include breakfast sandwiches, omelettes, and sides such as grits, hashbrowns, eggs, biscuits, bacon or sausage. On the lunch menu you'll find not only burgers, but hot dogs, salads, and specialty and deli sandwiches such as Philly cheesesteak, Reuben, BLT, club sandwich, ham and cheese, grilled chicken breast sandwich, and chicken finger baskets.
Chris Z's is located at 2808 University Blvd., phone 458-1007, website www.chriszs.com/.