Mystery Diner: D.C. Cobb’s in McHenry famed for creative burgers

On a beautiful summer evening along the McHenry Riverwalk, we ambled into D.C. Cobb’s in McHenry.

We learned our wait would be about 30 minutes, so we headed to the bar, which had an enticing open view of the outdoor seating area and a portion of the restaurant’s dining room.

At the bar, we looked over a series of interesting beer taps. The barkeep could see we were ready to ask questions about some of the selections.

“Sorry,” she said, “but the taps are down. They won’t be back on until Monday or so.” We chose a beer from the large number of bottle and can options still available. But the closed tap was just the beginning of the intrigue surrounding the D.C. Cobb’s of McHenry location as we would soon learn and read about in the Northwest Herald. There is a legal dispute happening between the owners of the corporation behind the D.C. Cobb’s restaurant in McHenry that is raising questions over who can use the brand’s logo, name, menus and recipes, as a licensing deal between them recently expired, court documents show. There are also D.C. Cobb’s restaurants in Woodstock and East Dundee. As of this writing, the McHenry restaurant is open.

We weren’t aware of the legal drama during our visit to the McHenry restaurant, and our drinks were cold and the ambiance in the outdoor seating area overlooking the water along the Riverwalk was relaxing.

So, on to our dinner experience.

We started with an appetizer of Avocado Egg Rolls ($12), which were stuffed with avocado, cream cheese, pico de gallo and chorizo, served with fresh salsa verde. These were wonderful, with a bit of tasty bite. The cream cheese was a perfect addition to the Mexican spin on the egg roll. And the coating was crisp and crunchy.

D.C. Cobb’s is known for its variety of hamburgers. You can create your own burger by choosing toppings, protein and side. Or you can choose from a selection of 20 specialty burgers, many playing off “Groundhog Day” (inspired by the Woodstock filming of the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray).

Some of the specialty burger options include The Ned Ryerson ($14, sort of a Reuben on top of a burger), The Windy City ($13, with Italian beef, mozzarella and spicy giardiniera), The Jail House ($13, with guacamole, pepper Jack cheese, fried jalapeño caps and chipotle pepper), The Politician ($13, with battered and deep-fried bacon, garlic aioli, sun-dried tomato and romaine lettuce), The Heart Attack ($14, with pulled pork, fried egg, Black Forest ham, onion strings, BBQ and jalapeño on a pretzel bun) and the Dick Tracy ($14, with grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and Swiss cheese between two grilled cheese sandwiches).

We chose the create your own Classic Cheeseburger ($11) with fries, and The Popeye ($12) with tater tots ($2 upgrade). Both burgers were cooked exactly as requested: medium for The Classic Cheeseburger and well for The Popeye.

The Classic Cheeseburger was ordered with cheddar cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato and mayo. The bun is branded with a D.C., which was a nice touch. The fries were excellent, and there were plenty of them.

The Popeye was topped with caramelized onion, garlic sautéed spinach, bleu cheese and cracked black pepper on a brioche bun. From the onion to the bleu cheese, this concoction was a powerful mix of tastes, with the spinach a nice touch.

A note about the meat in our burgers. Both were grass-fed beef, a $3 upgrade. These were pitched as “better for you, better for the environment – all natural with no antibiotics, steroids or growth hormones.” Those who ask for their meat well done can’t complain, as our Popeye burger was still juicy and flavorful. The medium grass-fed beef burger was moist but slightly bland.

Other protein choices include corn-fed beef, American bison ($5 upgrade), chicken breast, ground turkey ($2 upgrade), veggie black bean, Impossible Burger ($4 upgrade) and a vegan burger ($4 upgrade).

Overall, D.C. Cobb’s in McHenry was a pleasing experience. We hope the legal matters get solved in a way that suits all parties, most importantly, the customers.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: D.C. Cobb’s

WHERE: 1204 N. Green St., McHenry

PHONE: 815-332-0696

INFORMATION: dccobbs.net for menus and alternate locations