I remember being in 5th grade and jealous of other kids who had t-shirts proving that they had been to the Hard Rock in New York or in Chicago. In all honesty, I didn’t even know what it was but I knew I needed to own one of those shirts. Then one summer I went to Los Angeles and my aunt mentioned that the Hard Rock located there was not far from her house. I knew that if I didn’t go there before I left I would not have had a complete trip. On that day, it started my trend of trying to get my hands on as much merchandise as possible from different Hard Rock Cafe locations.
Before there was a location in Miami, I used to try to convince anyone I could to drive up with me to the Hard Rock next to Universal Studios in Orlando. And finally, when the Miami location in Bayside finally opened up I, along with a few of my friends waited in line at the grand opening. Just so we could eat there on its first day (well over 2-hour wait). I’m not necessarily proud of that last fact.
Most of my obsession came from the branding of the place and the logo. Never really the food, which I’ve always thought is second fiddle to their massive marketing machine. Do they always hype how good their burgers are, but are they really? Now Bayside is not a place I frequent. From the looks of the Hard Rock Cafe there, I’m not the only one with that philosophy. There were only 6 other customers in the place at dinner time and we were definitely outnumbered by the staff who I must mention was really cool. I’m sure most people who want to eat at the Hard Rock go to the hipper Hard Rock Seminole in Hollywood. I don’t blame them. This place seems to be dying a slow death, kinda like Chinese Democracy. So onto the food.
I figured it would be easier to sample most of their appetizers via the Jumbo Combo: Santa Fe Spring Rolls, Tupelo Chicken Tenders, Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings (served Heavy Metal style), Onion Rings & Potato Skins.
The Sante Fe Spring Rolls were just a run of the mill Southwestern Egg Roll. The Tupelo Chicken Tenders were good and moist but are really no match for the Crunch Chicken from Planet Hollywood. The Wings, Onion rings and Potato Skins were the usual fare, nothing special.
I ordered the Red, White & Blue Burger: “10 oz. Patty laced and grilled with Spicy Buffalo Sauce and Cajun seasoning, then topped with crumbled Blue Cheese and a Crisp Fried Onion Ring.”
I had not tried a burger that tasted like this before. In some ways, the flavors almost resemble a Cuban Frita but significantly spicier. It was a nice surprise but I can’t get over the fact this is a frozen burger.
Hard Rock Cafe
401 Biscayne Blvd @ Bayside Marketplace, Miami, Fl 33132