Ted's Steam Machine: Cheesy Goodness In The Park

Ted's Restaurant has been serving its famous steamed burgers for more than 50 years. But its new Steam Machine is putting a new spin on an old classic.

Our CTNow team has gotten into the habit of taking strolls around Hartford to explore local dining options each Thursday now that the weather is nice. Billings Forge, check. Front Street, check. Next stop, Bushnell Park food trucks.

Though there are many trucks parked on Elm Street to satisfy a number of cravings, one of the newest options is the Steam Machine, a big silver truck with Ted's logo.

Many of us had never had a steamed cheeseburger (even though I've lived here my whole life), so Ted's it was. The line was short, but we still had enough time to soak in the colorful chalkboard menu. Cheeseburger, $6; hamburger, $4; hot dog, $3; cheese dog, $5; and hot cheese, $4.

Hot cheese?

It's just what it sounds like: a bun filled with hot, gooey cheese that you can add any number of toppings to.

Toppings options for all menu items are lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, relish, ketchup, mayo and mustard. Thirsty? A soda is $1 and water is $2.

After a short wait we walked away with one of each cheesy choice. A myriad of toppings decorated each item; pickles on the burger, tomato on the hot cheese and relish and mustard hid safely beneath the cheese smothered dog.

We spotted an empty spot of grass and sat down to eat under the blue sky. There were young professionals strolling and even playing a game of Frisbee in the park, and by the time we had started eating a jazz trio had set up shop beneath a tree across the way, providing us with some tunes for our lunch.

Each item from the Steam Machine was served with chips in a small paper basket with the main attraction wrapped in brown paper. The gooey cheddar stuck a bit to the wrapping, but didn't take away from the end cheesy experience.

Next time, I would lose the pickle on the cheeseburger because overpowered the juicy burger's flavor. One negative was that the bun was much bigger than the thick burger.

The cheese dog had great flavor. It was smothered with cheese, but the condiments were hidden nicely between dog and bun, coming though in every bite. The hot cheese was pretty straightforward.

It's safe to say the walk back was a little slower than the journey there.

Ted's Steam Machine is at Hartford's Bushnell Park Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Follow @Tedsteammachine on twitter for other locations. To book the truck for private events, call 860-635-8337 or email Christian@tedsrestaurant.com.