Restaurant review: Zeek’s Pieshake Parlour

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Sammy’s is gone. Some are relieved. Some are depressed. All are wondering, what are things like at the restaurant that took its place?

Zeek’s Pieshake Parlour now occupies the once-beloved hole in the wall at 100 West and Center Street in Provo. A chalk wall has replaced the familiar Polaroids, and a new-and-improved menu greets customers.

While most of the menu items will seem familiar to visitors, many have been renamed, and all are now produced with higher-quality ingredients. New owners Alex and Isaac Ames have made the quality of the food they sell their first priority.

“You can have a hole in your chair, but if the food is good, you’ll come back,” Isaac Ames said. “If we have the choice between spending money on ingredients and spending money on something else, we’ll put it toward ingredients every time.”

Such high claims made us want to put Zeek’s new menu to the test. A Saturday afternoon found our team of food aficionados at the Pieshake Parlour counter.

The King Charles Xavier with a side of sweet potato fries. (Sarah Burchett)

King Charles Xavier with Fresh Cut Sweet Potato Fries

Most visitors to Zeek’s will never guess this sandwich is named after the Ames’ family dog. One thing is for sure — it’s one doggone delicious burger. The flavorful combination of mushrooms, onions, pastrami and melted cheese satisfies any taste buds searching for a twist on the classic diner burger. Like all the burgers at Zeek’s, the King Charles Xavier is served on an amazingly perfect bun that successfully balances between a crisp exterior and soft interior. Too crisp means chipped teeth. Too soft means a soggy sandwich. These burger bookends are just right.

The Fresh Cut Sweet Potato Fries are hand cut and prepared in house. Eat them while they’re hot. Like most sweet potato fries, they lose their crunch once they get cold. Bring a friend to help you out if you’re afraid you won’t finish them in time.

The El Wachito with a side of fries. (Sarah Burchett)

El Wachito with Fresh Cut Fries

Isaac Ames served his mission in Chile, where natives use “Wachito” as a term of endearment. This particular menu item lives up to its namesake. We’ve never thought of a lunch food as endearing before, but we will from now on. El Wachito sports a myriad of fresh veggies, GUACAMOLE OR AVOCADO???, and extra-thick slices of bacon.

Zeek’s Fresh Cut Fries are cut and prepared in-house just like their Sweet Potato Fries. They partner well with ketchup, fry sauce and, if you’re feeling crazy, dipped in a signature shake. You can’t go wrong with this traditional favorite.

The Hugh Jackman with a side of battered fries. (Sarah Burchett)

Hugh Jackman with Battered Fries

Named for the actor from the land down under, the Hugh Jackman is served Aussie style. Besides a traditional beef patty, the sandwich features a fried egg, pineapple, and a thick slice of ham instead of SPAM (for which we are grateful). Frankly, it sounds like a bizarre mix of flavors, but the result is magical. A word of caution: This burger is not for the dainty eater. It’s a juicy, messy, delightful experience. Thankfully, Zeek’s has a plethora of napkins at the ready.

The Battered Fries will change your life. They taste amazing hot and cold, because nothing can possibly make them un-crispy. The fry gods were smiling the day Zeek’s placed them on the menu.

The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcake Shake, Blackberry Cheesecake Shake, and Chocolate Creme Oreo Pie Shake. (Sarah Burchett)

Zeek’s Famous Shakes

Frozen confections put Zeek’s on the map. The shining stars of the restaurant, each shake is a unique creation combining favorite desserts with vanilla soft serve ice cream. All the creme pies are made in house, while the fruit pies and cheesecakes are purchased from local bakeries. Cupcake shakes feature homemade cupcakes from a nearby mom and pop, and all the fruit that’s mixed in is fresh. We tried a different shake from each category: cupcake shakes, cheesecake shakes and pie shakes.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcake Shake

This creamy shake was perfectly blended, not so chunky it ceases to be a shake and not so smooth you wonder if a cupcake actually went into it. The ratio of peanut butter flavor to chocolate flavor is just about equal, a blessing that kept the shake from being too rich. A guest can eat the whole thing without sacrificing flavor or starting to experience sugar overload.

Blackberry Cheesecake Shake

Fresh blackberries were the stars of this combination. Generous helpings of berries were delicious when combined with the vanilla soft serve. This shake was a little chunkier than the cupcake shake, which could be good or bad, depending on how you feel about graham cracker crust.

Chocolate Cream Oreo Pie Shake

It was easy to see why this is the most popular shake on the menu. If you steer away from rich treats, this isn’t the dessert for you. It should be your first choice, however, if you enjoy chocolate flavor and perfectly sized oreo chunks.

Overall the Zeek’s revamp leaves Sammy’s in the dust. The food is better. The service is faster. The employees seem to enjoy their jobs. All this combines to create the fun dining experience customers want from a college hot spot. The new hole in the wall has filled the hole in our hearts.

Zeek’s is open Monday–Thursday and Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight and Fridays 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Customers can also look forward to Zeek’s community block party on April 18.

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