At this stage, the opening of a new burger restaurant in Leeds is hardly news; we’ve been inundated over the last couple of years and a new kid on the burger block just doesn’t stir up the same excitement as it once did. That is, until The Joint, a new venture from the guys behind ‘Get Baked’, a takeaway serving up decadent desserts and juicy burgers from the back streets of Meanwood. Whilst they present themselves as chilled-out stoners, I’m pretty sure some business masterminds are working their magic behind the scenes; their launch has had some serious buzz and their new home has been decked out with no expense spared – and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happy by accident. Maybe it’s just that their burgers are *that* good – their takeaway is always busy and everyone raves about the food (although the delivery time is less than ideal at over an hour…). Either way, something’s working for them.
We skipped opening weekend, pretty sure that it would be rammed full of students and headed for a leisurely Sunday lunch the week after instead. Whilst there’s no doubt that this is student central – it’s right next to the Uni, so you can’t expect less – it was surprisingly quiet and our large group was very kindly accommodated as we rearranged the furniture so we could sit together. The decor has that dirty, grungy vibe with neon signs, industrial fittings and ostentatious chandeliers littering the place. It’s achingly cool, that’s for sure, with peeks of the original church building coming through next to the pop culture references and in-jokes. I’m showing my age when I say that it made me yearn for my student days, now sadly behind me, when you could spend all afternoon in the pub under the guise of ‘studying’ – this is the perfect place for it.
The menu is suitably dirty – burgers with lashings of hot sauce and covered in crisps and cheese, chicken wings covered in maple syrup, chips with all the trimmings you can imagine. It’s tough to choose – it’s all so tempting. This isn’t a place to go the week before your wedding dress fitting; unless you’re me and you have no impulse control. I went for the Cactus Jack – fried chicken, fried onions, hot sauce, crispy lettuce and cheese – but I think between us we tried almost everything on the menu. True to form, behind the gimmicks and the jokes, the burgers were beautiful: juicy, tasty and totally satisfying, in that greasy, I-shouldn’t-eat-for-a-week way. The fries were triple-fried, and are best shared if you’re both going all out burger-wise.
Of course, as if that wasn’t enough, we had to have a go at the desserts as well. Not for the faint-hearted, two of us struggled to get to the bottom of one of their sundaes, and whilst Paul managed his, he was in a food coma for the rest of the day (a very happy food coma, I might add). A slice of apple pie, caramel sauce, ice cream, whipped cream and toasted marshmallows all in one massive bowl. It’s so wrong, but so right.
In fact, that’s pretty much the whole vibe of the place – so wrong, but so right. I have no doubt that I’ll be back; those burgers really are just too good.