Ashys Burgers & Fries is a little storefront operation in the Paoli Shopping Center serving up excellent hand-crafted, fresh (never frozen) burgers, lots of fries, as well as some Mediterranean specialties like hummus, falafel and stuffed grape leaves.
The heart of this operation is the burger. It’s thicker than 5 Guys (to which this place will draw a lot of comparison) — about 1/3lb, but similar to the aforementioned franchise, the menu states that all burgers will be cooked well done, due to health concerns. This is certainly a shame, but our first burger was closer to medium well; it had a nicely seasoned char on the outside, with just a bit of pink in the still-juicy middle. The second burger we had was fully gray, and a tad drier, but still flavorful. Surprisingly, the bun may be the star here: it’s large and pillowy, and soaks up the meat juice expertly well. It’s dense and flavorful – almost brioche-like. A light toasting at the time of plating brings a sweetness that adds a certain complexity to the sandwich.
A variety of free toppings are available — both standard, like lettuce and tomato (which were both a bit too close to white), ketchup, mustard, bbq, etc., as well as a bit more adventurous, like blue cheese and cucumber-yogurt sauce. There doesn’t appear to be a choice of cheeses, other than the blue, or the Swiss on some of their specialty burgers, which would be a nice addition to the menu. Speaking of specialty burgers, we tried the “Ultimate Mushroom & Swiss”, which featured mushrooms & Swiss, obviously, plus lettuce, tomato, bacon and Ashys’ garlic sauce. I was a bit worried that it’d be more mushroom than burger, but, in actuality, each ingredient was used sensibly. Different bites produced different flavors — a bite of smoky bacon here, a wisp of earthy mushroom there. All in all, it was a hearty and satisfying burger without ever feeling over-the-top or unbalanced.
Ashys fries are somewhat pedestrian; though nicely crispy, they are about the same fries you’ll find at any pizza joint up and down Rt. 30. This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with them — they play a nice foil to the burger — just that they don’t stand out as anything special. Start with a single order; we tried a “couple” (medium) and had enough for about a week.
As exciting as it is to have a good burger place around, personally there may have been more excitement anticipating Ashys’ Mediterranean specialties. I’m a sucker for good falafel, and haven’t really found a good spot to get it this far out in the ‘burbs. Ashys’ version comes with four deep-fried patties, lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber-yogurt sauce, all piled on lafa-style flatbread. Once again, the bread seems to be the star here – it is soft and chewy, providing just enough support for the dense sandwich. The falafel patties are crispy on the outside and wonderfully creamy within, and the yogurt sauce provides a nice tang. Washed-out iceberg and pink tomatoes can perhaps be overlooked on a burger, but they cause more of an issue here, where it’s all about the veggies. It’d be nice to put a bit of Ashys’ homemade hummus on the sandwich as well – though it isn’t really necessary, it certainly would take things to yet another level.
Service is bright and cheerful. The owner and staff go out of their way to be friendly, and on several occasions were noted remembering repeat customers. (It’s also worth noting that there are already a fair amount of repeat customers!)
All in all, Ashys is a great addition to the Paoli neighborhood. There’s nothing on the menu over $8, and portions are quite generous. One should have no problem filling their belly for less than $10, quite a fair price to pay for quality comfort food and prompt, friendly service.
Ashys Burger & Fries
82 East Lancaster Ave
Paoli, PA 19301
Open everyday from 11:00 am to 9:00pm