About five years ago, Remedy, chef Danyele McPherson’s Greenville Avenue joint that harnessed nostalgia like fireworks, debuted an unforgettable cheeseburger.
Three years ago, it came up for air at Standard Service in Heath.
It had cheddar at some point, a, frankly unacceptable modification for McPherson, now culinary director for 80|20 Hospitality: "American is the best burger cheese,” she declares, with zero wiggle room.
The beef remains the same, that American wagyu-style patty, dazzling with juices.
Now it’s back to Lowest Greenville, reinstated with American cheese and a new dill pickle — cucumbers marinated with fresh herbs from Garland’s Hunn pickles — and it’s as good as it ever was after the long and winding road ($14 with fries).
When she was in high school, McPherson helmed the drive-thru at a Hardees in Waynesville, North Carolina. She ran the fastest damn drive-thru in the area — corporate Hardees, pre-Carl’s Jr., literally awarded her this title, and she got a super rad blue Discman out of the deal.
The memories inform what she does now, a gravitational pull of nostalgia. Remedy in 2015 had a bologna sandwich with thin ribbons on good bread with mayonnaise, which was a portal to the past.
She had a crispy and sensational fried fish sandwich on the menu, an homage to a certain fast-food sandwich that rhymes with schmilet-o-smish. It did not sell well, a cruel and unfair fate for such a perfect thing.
The cheeseburger was something else entirely — a mega-hit with wagyu-style beef flavor as big and sky-reaching as a redwood, alongside sweet onions, a nest of shredded lettuce and a classic dill pickle. It sent you back in time, propping you up in a diner from the 1950s with a hot griddle.
By the power of Grayskull, McPherson called up those memories to refine the cheeseburger experience.
“I started really looking at fast-food sandwiches,” she says.
For maximum efficiency, she used to drop the toppings on the bottom bun. Big drive-thrus don’t do that as much — toppings sit above the cheeseburger. She rests pickles only on the bottom bun now; tomato, shredded lettuce, onion above the bright yellow cheese.
The result — whether dining in behind a mask or via takeout — is a mega beef flavor, those caramelized juices running into the creamy mustard of the bun and a couple of beaming pickles. Another result? No “soggy-ass bottom bun,” she ensures.
When Standard Service reopened during pandemic times, anxiety loomed.
“I was like, are we really going to do this?” McPherson says.
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They forged ahead. She did R&D from the safety of her home kitchen as much as she could. The restaurant kept on as many staffers as possible. Business is still down, of course.
Brunch helps — a shot of business hit once it returned to the menu. Her restaurant group has some rainy day funds to keep things moving along. Still, it’s the little things — the homemade Filet O’Fish sandwiches and the American cheese on that burger — that seem to keep McPherson going.
“I want to recreate those experiences I had when I was growing up.”
Standard Service, 5631 Alta Ave. (Lowest Greenville). 214-821-3415. Open for limited dine-in and takeout 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.