Fast Food Review: Denny’s Hobbit Breakfast and Smaug Burger


This one goes out to all of you who think I dine too regionally in the casual sphere. And yes, it’s a loose definition of fast food to include actual sit-down places, but I’ve been to enough “fast-casual” places that use actual plates and such for obvious fast-food fare that it counts for me, and that’s all that really matters. Besides – trivia note here – the very first fast food review I ever write professionally was of a Dave & Busters menu item. A Philly cheesesteak eggroll with nacho sauce for dipping just struck me as something someone ought to be telling the world about, for its awfulness and awesomeness coexisting in one ridiculously fatty bit of fusion.

Anyway…Oh hai Denny‘s!

“Smaug” sounds awfully similar to “smeg” and “smog,” which is to say it’s not the type of word you’d generally pick to describe food (Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch should have been a more obvious, tastier tie-in). But spicy burgers to me are like Smaug’s soft under-side – a major weakness. And that description of Smaug’s Fire Burger, is so well-written that it obviously wasn’t Peter Jackson who came up withe the copy:

A hand-pressed beef patty seasoned with our 7-pepper blend. Served on a grilled Cheddar bun with our special X-sauce?, Jalape?o Bottle Caps?, melted Pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions and pickles.

Ooh, ooh…”X-sauce?”! Does it have mutant powers? Or is it X-TREEEEEEME?

Neither. Turns out it’s completely X-pendable, because it tastes of nothing. I think they also butter the bun, which is kinda gross and also counterproductive – fat and dairy counters heat, and heat is what you promised, dragon burger.

The seven-pepper blend in the beef? Denny’s, you shouldn’t plan too much; it might not come out right! If there was any pepper in there I missed it. I know there was cheese in the bun because I could see it, but like a reverse One Ring, putting it on somehow makes the flavor invisible.

There is heat – finally – in the jalapeno rings, but that’s obvious fallback cheap heat, like when a wrestling bad guy with no charisma finally has to say “Your local sports team sucks!” to get a crowd reaction.

Bard’s Pumpkin Pie Milkshake, however, which arguably comes the closest to something a Hobbit would eat, was quickly finished.


As for the “Hobbit Hole Breakfast,” which seems designed to look like an actual Hobbit Hole, complete with “door,” here’s Julia…

Julia: I should in theory love this dish, because I love hash browns. I love cheese, I really love bacon, I love eggs and I love cheesy toast. But all of these things put together and how this was cooked, It’s really…it”s a no-go, because the egg was overcooked, the cheddar bread didn’t even taste like cheddar, the hash browns were undercooked a bit, half of the cheese was melted and half of the cheese was not melted. The only good part is they managed to do the bacon right. I just…eh…this was a WAH-WAH! Mwaaaaa [Imagine a Charlie Brown adult speaking]. The pumpkin shake was really good, though. I liked that a lot.

For dessert, it was time for Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies Sundae, named after the birdshit-sporting, animal-loving wizard played by Sylvester McCoy. Why they thought naming something edible called puppies after such an obvious protector of strays is beyond me, as is the combination of red velvet with someone who looks homeless. But that’s not the biggest mystery here, which is…


…did somebody masturbate over my bowl? Seriously, you were thinking that too, right? Bad enough I was already thinking of birdshit.

And yet if you can put all that out of your mind, it really is a pretty tasty dessert, with sweet dough fritters, ice cream and cream cheese frosting (the semen-looking stuff). Unlike the menu pictures, the balls do not have white chips inside, and unlike the name, they taste nothing like red velvet – which is admittedly a flavor that has a wide range or parameters. Here’s Julia again:

So, we just had the red velvet sundae, you know, the wizard that has bird ca-ca on him sundae, which, as soon as you told me that one, I was like, oh god, do I really want to eat this? Heads-up: I’m not a fan of red velvet, but this thing didn’t even taste like red velvet, so that was fine. It was a little bit sweet, the hushpuppy, and the ice cream was good. I think with this whole Hobbit menu, they nailed the desserts, but they didn’t quite 100% get the entrees. I don’t know if the chef’s having an off-day right now, but, yeah.

The food definitely did not look like the picture: the sundae, the burger, the hushpuppies did not look like the picture. My Hobbit hole DEFINITELY did not look like the picture. I mean, I understand that this is all stunt food, but, I mean, is it that hard to cook an egg? Really? Is it seriously that hard?

To sum up:

In the middle of the table, in the burger of fire, was a brave lack of flavor that we don’t admire. With its non-spicy taste, jala-pen-os, came with a Hobbit Hole and everybody knows it…Denny’s! Denny’s Hobbit! The lamest little menu of them all.