Today I had the pleasure of trying out Ben’s Fresh in Port Jervis. I found out about them a couple months ago when my friend Jaime Cruz shared one of their posts on my FB wall. The post was of one of their specials, the Doughnut Burger. Jamie knew my weakness, and that bacon cheeseburger between two doughnuts meant I knew that I would have to some day make my way out to check this place out.
I’ve been watching their Facebook page, almost daily they are posting pictures of some delicious looking burger, sundae, or some other delectable (and often fried) treat. A few days ago they posted a picture of the Belgian Burger, which is a bacon cheeseburger with hashbrown, fried egg, and served between two waffles with syrup. The ultimate brunch sandwich. I saw that and said yep, that is it, I’m getting off my ass and going for a ride. I called a friend of mine who lives not very far away and asked to meet, so we did.
Ben’s is easy to find, it is on one of the main drags in Port Jervis, and if you are coming into town from the Hawks Nest you are likely to drive right past it. The place isn’t huge, but it has a decent amount of room inside, and they have plenty of tables outside for when it is nicer out. Ample parking too, but I am under the impression this place fills up in the summer.
The restaurant was neat and the tables were clean. My only real complaint with the building is the menu. Most of the menu selection is hand written on chalkboards up by the ceiling behind the cashiers, and the plastic partition they have hanging has a terrible glare, it is really difficult to read the menu, I even tried taking some pictures of them but glare got in the way. Some stuff was also printed on paper and hung up on a small board in front of the cashier. There just isn’t a lot of room in this area near the cashier, so it took some time for me to figure out what I was going to get with trying to stay out of the way of other people ordering or waiting for their meals. They do not appear to have a website or any other digital menu, the stuff they post on Facebook is just the specials.
The menu however is vast. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, quesadillas, wraps, rice bowls, soups, dozens of ice cream flavors, shakes, sundaes, smoothies, and so on. Also many fried things like mac and cheese bites, fried Oreos, pretzel fries, and more. You will have a hard time figuring out what to get, I know I did, if I wasn’t riding I’d certainly would have ordered more.
Other than difficulties with the menu, I liked everything else about the restaurant. I had no problems ordering, and they delivered our food to our table in a reasonable timeframe. The price was reasonable too, I ended up getting a combo of the Belgian Burger with fries and a fountain soda, it came out to around $15.
I was pleasantly delighted when we got our food, it certainly was looking as good as it did online. The burger had bacon, cheese, fried egg, and a hashbrown, and was situated between two square waffles, with some maple syrup on the side. The fries are freshly cut and cooked perfectly, not overly crisp. I knew once I picked up the burger it was going to be a mess and I was right, I had to hose off in the bathroom after I finished. Between the egg yoke, the syrup, and the fact that waffles don’t usually hold up as a bun, it did get all over the place but it was very much well worth it. I’ve had eggs on burgers before (and I usually do that when cooking for myself) but the hashbrown and waffles bring it to a whole different level. I polished it off and all I could think to myself was “fantastic, what can I wash it all down with?”
I had seen on Facebook the “Sweet and Salty Bryson”, a sundae consisting of vanilla ice cream, chopped up blondie pieces, salted caramel and chocolate covered pretzels. Ben’s does a thing where customers can submit an idea for the special sundae of the week, and this was the winner. Well it won me over too. Whomever suggested it has great taste, the combination worked better than I could have imagined, the saltiness of the pretzels and caramel worked great with the sweetness of the blondies and ice cream.
Ben’s is definitely on my list of places to hit again in the future, and being right off I-84 it is convenient and something I go by frequently enough.