First time at King of Creams, and the scene felt classic and clever with oldies playing overhead and a sign promising to card customers who look over 40.

My dining partner suggested the burger first, the Philly cheesesteak next time. No qualms here, so I ordered the quarter pounder, without cheese, but with all the freebies: creamy mayo, pickles, tomato, lettuce, jalapeno, onion. (There's the option of fried or raw, I'm an onion-raw girl, thankyouverymuch.)

The flavor explosion on first bite left me silent for a few seconds.

That comes in the seasoning - a recipe store manager James Powe would not disclose - and "the smashes." They roll their burgers into a ball and smoosh them on the grill for speed and flavor-locking, he said. Without that stick, the burger's not the same.

Add the toppings, and the burger is uncomplicated and delish - they plan it that way.

"Sometimes, simple is better than making something too complex," Powe said.

They import egg buns from Franklin Street Bakery in the Twin Cities, and their most popular items are the Philly cheesesteak and the burgers, he said.

The prices were reasonable for a substantial fare: $4.49 for a hamburger. Add a few more bucks for half-pounders, and 50 cents for American, pepper jack or Swiss. Their onions rings are heavy and crunchy at $3.99. And for dessert, there are tubs of ice cream in Cookie Monster, Caramel Collision and more - and malts and shakes and sundaes.

It was a slow Friday evening with a full table of younger diners filtering in. Leaving, we passed a woman reading and dining solo. We all fit nicely into this Hillside burger joint.

The King of Creams

502 E 4th St.

(218) 725-9000

www.thekingofcreams.com