I dined at Cody’s Beef & Beans on Ft. Lowell because several of you Tucsonans wrote that it is your favorite burger place. It’s located in a strip mall, but once inside it could be any place Way-Out-West. To skip to the results of our Best Burgers in Tucson Survey click here.
On the wall opposite the front door hangs a large cowhide & very large mounted bullhorns. Framed western art hangs on most of the other wall space. Here & there are a couple of old wagon wheels. Simple & straight-forward. You know what you’re here for and Cody’s is gonna give it to ya’.
My waitress was pleasant & efficient. I never got her name, but my receipt says she’s number 0003. Not sure if that has anything to do with a “License to Kill”.
Indicating that I brought my iPad to the table, I asked her for the password. She looked at me like I was speaking in a foreign language. So I repeated myself VERY slowly. “What … is … the … pass — word … to … your … wifi?”
Suddenly, an expression of comprehension. “Oh, we don’t have wifi,” she told me as she set my iced tea on the table. “What would you like to eat?”
“I think I’ll have a Cody burger. I’ve heard they’re good.”
“Yes, people seem to like ‘em.”
“I’d like mine with cheddar cheese & sautéed mushrooms.”
“We don’t have no mushrooms.”
“How ‘bout some caramelized onions?”
“The cook could grill you some onions.”
“Very good. I’ll have my burger with cheddar cheese & grilled onions. Do I have a choice of buns?”
“No. You have a choice of cheese. And cheese is an extra $0.60.”
“Cheddar,” I repeated, noting that my $7.50 burger was now going to cost $8.10, the least expensive of all the burgers & fries we’ve tried in the past 2 months.
“Which side would you like with your burger,” she asked; and then rattled off a list she had long ago memorized. “It comes with fries, potato salad, cottage cheese … or …”
“Fries, thank you.”
She scrawled something on her pad and marched off to the kitchen. I recalled that someone told me he read that 3 out of 5 Tucsonans don’t have Internet access. Now I was one of them.
I detest dining out without either (a) an interesting dining companion or, (b) something to read. My eyes scanned the room. On one rustic table was a single sheet publication called “Coffee News”. It had a center column of canned editorial content surrounded on both sides by small advertisements.
Among other features, “Coffee News” had my horoscope that, among other statements of fact, listed my lucky numbers. Later that day, I acquired a lottery ticket using just those same lucky numbers. Guess what … not even one.
Never mind. I was dining at Cody’s for a review of their burgers. I had a mission to accomplish. I noted that along with my glass of iced tea, my waitress had brought more in a small pitcher. I remembered that Cayton’s Burger Bistro had served my iced tea with extra in a tall carafe topped with a large shot glass of natural agave sweetener, and a small cup with 4 lemon wedges. I wrote a note to self: “Extra iced tea so I don’t have to depend on my waitress for refills. But only one lemon slice so that when I refill my own glass, I will still have to rely on my waitress to bring more lemon.”
I also made a mental note that it would be totally unfair to compare Cody’s with the Ritz. About then, I noticed that she had not brought a coaster, so now the condensation from my iced tea glass and accompanying pitcher had created a puddle on my table. As a consequence, my “Coffee News” was now all wet.
Number 0003 brought my burger with cheddar cheese & grilled onions, accompanied by sliced dill pickles, lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a tiny paper cup of 1000 Island dressing, plus thick steak fries.
I searched my entire table for a knife with which to cut my sizable sandwich in half. The only flatware provided had been a long spoon. Now I’m looking around to get her attention and she had completely disappeared.
I got up and headed for the kitchen in the back. There I found another lady who looked at me like it was against policy for guests to leave their table. I explained that I need a knife to cut my burger in half.
“I’ll get you one,” she said in a manner that suggested “I’ll bring you a knife if you go back to your table and sit down like you’re supposed to.”
With the large steak knife finally in hand, I cut my burger and took a bite. The first thing I noticed was that the bun was both fresh & slightly sweet. That and my sandwich was real greasy. I assume that fact was exaggerated by the grilled onions. Nevertheless, I required several additional napkins.
My Cody burger was quite tasty and the fries were also good. Does Coby’s Beef & Beans have the best burgers in Tucson? Thankfully, we’re coming down to the wire and have only one more burger place to rank. My intent is to publish the ranking of the top three next week. Editor's Note: The results are now in. Find the Best Burgers in Tucson here.
In the meantime, you can go to SouthernArizonaGuide.com and find our short list of the only restaurants we rated 5-Saguaro last year. Of the 80 or so dining reviews I have written, only these 10 are considered the Best of the Best.
Cody’s Beef & Beans
2708 E. Fort Lowell Road
Open Monday – Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM