Meatheads: Redefining Fast Food

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It’s great when a new restaurant opens in your hometown.

Meatheads. Funny name with a whole lot of meaning behind what they stand for. The name pretty much sums up what they are known for. Yep, burgers. Burgers made of 100 percent Angus beef, that are chef inspired, using 1/3 lb. beef with creations called Texas ranch, Cajun sunrise, NY Reuben, Hawaiian or patty melt. Meatheads also has options for those who aren’t meat eaters (‘ALT,’ which is avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwich on grilled Texas toast, and other options, including salads, are on the way soon!) The slogan though, speaks volumes for what this restaurant is doing for communities across Illinois: Meatheads, thoughtful food by caring people.

The owners of Meatheads stand behind the product they serve. Everything on the menu made to order (no microwaves in sight), and the only thing you’ll find in the freezer is ice cream.

The day Meatheads opened it’s doors in Elmhurst, I grabbed my daughters and headed over to check it out. Once my girls got over their fascination with the two digital Coke machines with 120 different flavors, they were entertaining themselves with the complimentary wikistix.

The restaurant is open in 11 different cities in Illinois with over a dozen more openings on the horizon, including the next one slated for Lincolnwood.

Although there are many Meatheads restaurants, you wouldn’t know it once inside. The walls are lined with local high school sports team names and places to record the scores from various games. Each restaurant becomes engrained in the community. “We look for character in each community, and really enjoy getting to know everyone in each town we have a Meatheads,” says Joe Sanders, who heads up marketing.

Meatheads offers enticing incentives for the youth. For example, coaches can nominate players for a ‘Meathead of the Game.’ Then, these local athletes are awarded for determination, hustle and hard work.

Younger children are given ‘Voracious Meatheads Reading Awards,” which stem from a unique reading program for kids, ages 6-13, required to read at least five books. Kids in both categories receive a free kids meal.

My daughters loved the crispy chicken tenders, grilled cheese and hot dog, while I tried the Californian burger with pepper jack cheese, cucumber wasabi sauce, avocado lettuce and tomato and the original or Cajun French fries aren’t bad either.

It’s nice to know that you can go out to eat at a place that gives 10 percent back to charities, teams and schools, and they reward kids for being avid readers. My daughters have already asked about going back, on more than one occasion. I now know what will motivate them to continue reading this summer – another burger or basket of crispy chicken tenders. Now were talking!

Christine Bachman

About Christine Bachman

Christine Bachman is founder and president of Plan It PR, a public relations and marketing firm. The mother of five shares tips and survival stories in “Play Dates and Power Lunches.” Ms. Bachman started working public relations after a long career in broadcast journalism, which included work as a television anchor, reporter and producer.