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  1. I found myself out in Berryville, VA last weekend and stopped in to a relatively new burger shop on W. Main street called Charlie's. Charlie's is a family owned casual restaurant serving burgers, fries, hot dogs and milkshakes. The beef is local (though no source is listed on the menu) and ground in house, and the shakes are made with organic ice cream. We ordered a few burgers and a hot dog, along with an order of regular fries and sweet potato waffle fries. The burgers were cooked to order and to temperature, and can be topped with a fairly wide array of free toppings, plus the usual upcharges (cheese, bacon, etc). Both the sweet potato and regular fries were previously frozen and not made in house, but were fried to order. The burgers were all cooked as requested - one quibble from our group was that a double burger should have two slices of cheese on it, but that's very minor. Shakes were also excellent, and a wide variety of flavors were available (we had vanilla and banana). Service was a bit slow, but as mentioned everything was done to order and the owner's entire family was in the restaurant serving customers. We were given an extra helping of sweet potato fries to make up for the slowness of getting burgers out - a nice but unnecessary touch. There's not a whole lot in Clarke County, and one could do much worse than stop in and support this family owned establishment serving up good, honest fare. We aren't "over the mountain" much, but will be sure to head back in when we are.
  2. "As Shake Shack Reopens Flagship, Danny Meyer Becomes $600 Million Man" by Brian Solomon on forbes.com
  3. At the end of a day trip to Philly to visit the Please Touch Museum, we stopped by the Art Museum to do our best Rocky impersonations. We asked our daughter what she wanted for dinner and her response was "hamburger". After a quick search, I found Spot Gourmet Burgers, which is located at 2821 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130, phone: (267) 930-7370. It was highly rated online so not knowing any better, after a slight detour for what we thought was a Mister Softie truck, which turned out to be Mr. Softie's evil twin brother Mr. Frostie, we plugged the address in to the navigation and headed to our destination. This place is a definite dive, with almost zero ambiance, and broken or non-existent ac. We had low expectations. We were pleasantly surprised with the outcome. My daughter had three mini burgers, which were made from fresh ground beef served on potato rolls and were very tasty. My wife had some sort of veggie burger combination which looked amazing. She loved it, the provolone was high quality and I am guessing aged, because it actually tasted like provolone. She dispatched the entire thing at a rapid rate. I had a chicken cheeseteak (please don't judge) with provolone and grilled onions. The chicken was chopped breast meat, and not of the steakum variety. Again, the cheese had great flavor. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience, which we did not expect based upon first impressions.
  4. That reminds me of a couple of years ago when BK & McDonalds were offering Lobster Rolls in Maine
  5. Just wanted to acknowledge that it was open. The night I stopped by was a soft opening of sorts, and they didn't have their POS online yet, so let's just skip evaluating the service. I ordered a burger with bacon and a fried egg, with plain fries. The fried egg was cooked perfectly. Apparently the burger is hormone-free local beef with the family's secret marinade. The staff and owners are all personable, I also enjoyed a Chocolate City brew of some sort, was told it was a porter but it must have been something else. They also have a full bar. Outlook: room for improvement, which the owners acknowledge, but might be a good place to stop by for a quick bite before you move to other places on H Street. A solid business, I'm sure I'll update more in the future.
  6. As those of you who were too foolish to heed my warning on Monday already know, Ray's Hell-Burger (street name), aka Butcher Burgers (government name), is due to open today, Tuesday, July 1st. We will be serving one thing only--10 ounces of our secret blend of premium and prime aged beef, char-grilled over an open flame. This is the same single-breed, farm-raised beef that we use at Ray's The Steaks and Ray's The Classics, aged in house ridiculously long, hand trimmed to the same exacting standards as all of our steaks, and ground fresh daily, several times throughout the day. Free toppings include: sauteed mushrooms finished with sherry and brandy, grilled red onions, sauteed peppers, charred jalapenos, vine-ripened beefsteak tomatoes, roasted garlic, and dill or bread and butter pickle chips. Applewood-smoked bacon (the same that we use for the grilled bacon app at Ray's The Classics) and guacamole are available for an additional charge. In addition to the regular quality cheeses on offer ('Merkin, aged Vermont white cheddar, imported Swiss, imported Gruyere, aged Danish Bleu/Italian Gorgonzola, smoked mozzarella, Monster, Brie, pepperjack) we wil also be offering a changing selection of specialty and artisinal cheeses--currently, Epoisse, Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue, Queen Anne Stilton, Pa Noble Cave Aged Amish Cheddar, Chimay a la biere, Taleggio, and Bel Paese. Throughout the summer, Hell-Burgers will be served with fresh, buttered corn on the cob and a slice of cold, juicy watermelon AT NO CHARGE!!! Dominion root beer ON TAP and other great sodas and 8-10 flavors of MOOrenko's ice cream for cones and floats (no shakes, maybe later--I don't want to be the one to push shakes into the trite category, too many others stand eager to do so soon enough). Ray's Hell-Burger (imagine the "Hell" part in flamey letters) is located at 1713 Wilson Boulevard in the same strip mall as Ray's The Steaks. We plan to open Saturday and Sunday from noon on and weekdays from 5 pm, for the time being, with expansion into weekday lunch hours possible, maybe. The best part about all this, for me at least, is that since Ray's Hell-Burger is located several doors down from Ray's The Steaks, now whenever someone becomes tantrumishly nasty at the door due to the wait at The Steaks, I can kindly suggest an appropriate alternative destination to them.
  7. Coming soon to Rockville. "The Habit Burger Grill Coming to Rockville Pike" by Andrew Metcalf on bethesdamagazine.com
  8. Enjoyed roughly my 10th (or so) visit to Habit Burger a few days ago, and it was its same sensational fast-food experience. I think Habit Burger would be a hit if it were to expand to the east coast, but with the distinct disadvantage that outdoor eating would not be the same....all year around in Los Angeles, but only a few months a year in most east coast locations.
  9. This may be the most controversial, most infamous, certainly the most embarrassing of all the posts I had on CH in the five years I was a part of it. The post disappeared (as a number of my others) after my argument with Leff. Now, curiously, it is back under the new ownership. It was part of what I called my "In 'n Out Trilogy." "Without Shame: A Bite of Excess" by Joe Heflin on chowhound.com I'm convinced the best balance of meat, fromage, onions, spread, and fitting-into-mouth-ed-ness is to order a 3x3. Mmmmmmm.
  10. "Love them Ollie's fries," said the homeless man keeping the bench in front of the Barnes and Noble warm as I walked by with my white paper bag filled with an Ollieburger and fries a couple years ago. He was so right. I do love them Ollie's fries. Nice Carolina pork BBQ to boot. And I keep going back. The Popeye's thread made me think of them. In fact, I'm gonna get me some of them Ollie's fries to take to the Nats game tonight.
  11. GBD Chicken and Doughnuts is opening on Friday at 8am at 1323 Conn Ave (where Yola used to be, so fried chicken & doughnuts is replacing a healthy yogurt place). From the Our Story page on their website: "GBD (which gets its name from the restaurant kitchen shorthand for golden, brown and delicious) pairs the sweet and savory specialties of husband and wife team Chef Kyle Bailey & Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac the culinary masterminds behind Birch & Barley." Washington Post article about the opening and offerings here.
  12. Smashburger is in Fairfax now, on Fairfax Blvd. - between the Fairfax Hooters and P.J. Skidoos. Website and menu: http://smashburger.c...vd-marketplace/ AHT review: http://aht.seriousea....html?ref=thumb I should have a review ready either tomorrow or sometime during the week, since I tend to breeze *by* that area but not necessarily through it. This place is sort of like the Five Guys version of Steak n' Shake (big difference: they serve beer), and similarly, they use the "smashing" method of cooking burgers (if you couldn't divine that on your own ). Pretty soon In-'n-Out will be FORCED to come to DC simply because *every other goddamned premium burger chain* will be here.
  13. A trip out to Bowie to get an oil change (near the office, cheaper than in DC, blah blah blah) led me to an outpost of Five Guys in this small but rapidly expanding DC Burb. Yes, this was my first time at a Five Guys. Evaluation? Not going back. Where was the ketchup I asked for? Why use thinly sliced jalapenos with no heat and less flavor? What the heck was that seasoning on my "cajun" fries (and why can't you just hire a consultant from Thrashers?)? What sort of mad scientist concocted this thing you call "cheese"? Why did my bun have the consistency of soggy kleenex? One of the few -- very few -- things that can be said about chain-i-fication is that it brings about a general consistency between branches of a restaurant. And if Five Guys is headed (and with a store in Bowie, it seems like it) into becoming a widespread local chain, I'm sure not going back to any of them. Maybe I'm missing something; when I posted something on DCist about Palena's burger certain commenters were all over me for being an effete snob and not mentioning Five Guys. Maybe the commute down Rt 50 to Bowie results in drastic quality reduction. But I'm thinking the allure is nostalgia. Oh, and memo to Mr. Mellencamp and other enthusiasts: The chili dogs at Tastee Freeze suck now too.
  14. Late last year, my car broke down in Chantilly, and I drifted onto a frontage road, parked, and stepped into a little dive called Bianco Pizzeria while I waited for the tow truck. It was a short-order type place with a flat-top grill, a deep fryer, an oven, and specialized in pizzas and subs, and it was just awful - it wouldn't surprise me if I'm the only member of this website ever to eat here. I minimized the damage by getting a Cheesesteak, and it was about as good as I could have done. Today, I drove by and saw that it had changed concepts (it also turns out that when I went, it had recently changed owners). Now, it has had a little money put into it, and has reopened as The Burger Shack. The outside of the restaurant has charm, as it's in a reproduction of an 18th-century Potomac Valley Farmhouse - judging from the sign (below), I'm not sure when this house was built, but inside, it's very similar to what it was before, except whoever owns it has chosen to focus on "premium burgers" instead of subs and pizza. I didn't try anything, but the first three things on the menu I saw screamed "Frozen, Frozen, Frozen!" (Mozzarella Sticks served with Marinara, Basket of Tots served with Ranch, and Sweet Potato Fries served with Honey Mustard) - eewww. Anyway, this may be a decent place to get a burger, and it will call out to passers-by in a way that Bianco Pizzeria never could. Here are some pictures of the historic marker, the restaurant, and the menu:
  15. Chickpea Mediterranean Grill soft-opened a couple months ago and I have been pleased each time I have been able to eat there. (The hours were a little wacky. Late-night dining is only available some nights and they do close early and unexpectedly when they run out of food) Imagine a Chipotle but with hummus and falafel. They have bases of different rices, pita, salad greens or quinoa. The protein options are a rotating mix of chicken, steak, lamb, pork or meatballs and falafel. (I would stick with pork or lamb but others have really liked the spicy chicken) The toppings are standard but the house made sesame slaw is really tasty. I could eat a dish of that alone. They top it off with dressings and sauces of your choosing and off you go to eat! I also recommend washing it down with housemade lemonade that you can add mint to. Best thing is the special Greek fries but it's hard to dispute the genius of hot fresh fries tossed with herbs and feta cheese.
  16. So there's a new BurgerFi opening on Monday (Sept 26) in the what became the final resting place of Pat Troy's Ireland's Own (111 N. Pitt St). Based on a quick peek in the window, the interior looks to have been nicely renovated; lots of warm wood flooring and paneling, long communal tables with overhead hanging lights, an elevated counter area near the rear of the space. The menu of burgers, dogs, fries, and custard sounds a bit like Shake Shack, no? Craft beer and wine are also mentioned on the window graphics. This location will join four others in the area (Silver Spring, Woodbridge, Leesburg, and Laurel). We'll see how this location does, as there will be competition from the Five Guys, which will soon be relocating to the former Bertucci's space on King Street. Has anyone tried out the other locations?
  17. Check out Grumps on Forrest drive for Breakfast. Very Local, you will be happy.
  18. In honor of Michel Richard, who left California I understand because diners ignored his menu and instead asked for healthy blah food like grilled fish on a bed of lettuce, my first stop in California was for a nice burger. Father's Office definitely delivered, this is a serious burger. According to wikipedia and consistent with my own memory, it is the "Office Burger, a patty of fine dry-aged beef topped with caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon compote and arugula served on a soft roll." I also got a side of sweet potato fries, which represented quite well. It was fairly brisk on a Tuesday evening. The place is a bit dark (that's why I couldn't identify everything on the burger) but definitely worth the stop in Santa Monica.
  19. I'm normally a purist when it comes to burgers, but Hubcap Grill has made me rethink that stance. Over the course of a few visits to the Heights location now, I've had a standard cheeseburger (unless you are an NFL linebacker or Olympic athlete w/ massive caloric requirements best not to go for the double), the seasonal hatch chile cheeseburger, the guacamole swiss, and the philly cheesesteak burger. The relatively thin (but massive in diameter) 1/3rd pound freshly-ground patties are cooked more or less to medium, with a nice crust. The buns are custom-made specifically for Hubcap, and accomplish the impossible feat of remaining intact despite the onslaught of drippy toppings and glorious fat. I started things simply, with the house cheeseburger. Served with standard toppings, you get a real sense of the quality of the beef, and of the deftness of the hand that is seasoning it. So far, so good. I'd come back again and again for the simple deal, though I could imagine that sometimes I might want to opt for a "lighter" meal with a smaller, skinnier, fast-food style burger, like Shake Shack (or apparently the soon-to-open FM Burger just of Washington Ave). Of the specialty burgers, the only one I wouldn't be in a hurry to order again would be the guac/swiss. Not that it was bad by any means, but it just didn't do enough for me to sway me from the plain jane. The hatch chile was a thing of beauty that will leave you blissful, sated, and wrecked. There is no skimping on the chiles here, and this is Texas, so there is no skimping on the spice level of said chiles. You will need more than one beer (or Topo Chico) for this. Order appropriately up front, so you aren't waiting in line to get another beverage, mouth ablaze. I was VERY skeptical of the Philly cheesesteak burger, but after hearing it's praises sung by Alison Cook from the Chronicle, and Texas Monthly, and then being steered that way by owner Ricky Craig himself, I had to do it. Christ almighty was that a sandwich. It's a mess, and it's huge, and you might die when you finish it, but dammit, it's good. This is a thing that if done wrong, would be the worst of 2 worlds: a shitty cheesesteak, and a shitty burger, or maybe worse yet: a good burger ruined by a shitty cheesesteak. Alison Cook recently encountered a less than stellar version, and wrote about it, lighting a fire under Craig, who went around to each of his locations to retrain (and offer free burgers to folks to prove the quality was back). I am glad to have avoided the off-day, and whatever Craig did to whip his team into shape certainly seems to have worked. Also of note: the sliders come 4 to an order, and are topped with grilled onions. Great size for the little people, but are great in their own right. Simple. Delicious. Fries are hand cut and mostly great (my last order was greasy and a bit on the undercooked side). Sweet potato fries excellent as well. Strong selection of local beers in cans and bottles.
  20. To date my favorite burger in NYC is Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger, although the $28 price tag doesn't allow me to splurge too often. Last weekend while on the Upper East Side my girlfriend suggested we try J.G. Melon. It was around 2:30pm so we only had to wait five minutes. I won't go in to much detail about the history of the place, although it probably deserves a spot in the Oldest Establishments thread. The burger was a close second to Minetta. Nothing fancy about it; great char on the outside, a juicy medium rare on the inside, melted cheddar, a few pickles/onions, all for $11 (see pic below).
  21. Address (Sterling): 21305 Windmill Parc Dr #160, Sterling, VA 20166 - https://www.burger21.com/locations/sterling/ Address (Ashburn): 43800 Central Station Dr #100, Ashburn, VA 20147 - https://www.burger21.com/locations/ashburn/ Menu: https://www.burger21.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Sterling-2sided-Menu.pdf Yes, Rockwellians, another burger place (and a smallish multi-state chain one at that). I ate here tonight (the Sterling location) after a particularly shitty Saturday and not-much-better Sunday morning and afternoon, because well, why not. Also, I feel like I'm cultivating a ~rep~ of being our resident "Local Grubgradian" since I tend to review very casual and cheap places. Rest assured, I spend enough time around ~haute cuisine~ as well, but sometimes the only cure for a shitty mood is a big dose of carbs, fat, and protein. Okay, before you visit this place, be sure to download their app off your phone's particular store. Registering on it earns you your first *basic* burger free (~$6.49), and signing up for their email club nets you a free side of fries ($2.49). First impressions: Whoever laid out this space earned their degree in design. The dining room feels like an IKEA cafeteria without the horse meat, but they didn't jam the place full of tables to the point where everything feels claustrophobic like at any Five Guys. The condiment station and drink machines are sufficiently separated and well-laid-out, and even though it was pitch dark at the time (a stark contrast to the smart use of lighting indoors), they've got a really nice outdoor seating area. Downsides include: limited amount of booths, tiny area for a line (arguably worse than the Fairfax Smashburger), use of those highly-questionable tablet-based POS systems, and Top 40 ~muzak~ on loop. What I had, and did I like it: Well, shitty moods call for shitty life choices, so I decided to indulge and get both a "Bacon Cheesy" ($7.49) *and* a "Philly Cheese" ($7.99) with the free side of fries and I splurged and tried their "Cheese and Ale Sauce." I also asked for my patties to be medium and...I got them cooked *medium*! That in and of itself is a minor miracle - though I was there at ~8pm, and it was by no means busy. Despite the pictures you might see on Yelp, the burgers did not come out looking like Leaning Towers of Empty Calories. They were actually pretty compact and neat, about the size of a Quarter Pounder and/or one of their ~designer~ QPCs. The burgers looked like the ones a culinary Ph.D. makes for fast food commercials, and the buns were amongst the best I've seen at a fast casual burger joint, which was important for one very specific reason... ...the juice. Oh dear sweet Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu, and "Bob," the *juices*. Do not get a double-patty burger here. Just don't. The patties practically bleed boiling-hot cow juice and with a *single* patty you will find your fingers getting mildly scalded. Two of them atop one another would probably give you second-degree burn blisters. That being said, there's a nice touch in the form of a communal sink at the end of the condiment station complete with hand soap for the aftermath, which I highly recommend using. This is definitely a three-napkin/lean-over-the-table joint. So, did I like it? Yeah...as much as one can be enthusiastic about ~just another burger joint~ in this area that's positively goddamned lousy with them even after the first few rounds of 'culling.' The Philly Cheese really stood out - it really tastes like you're eating a...very small cheesesteak. The Djion Chive Mayo really gave this thing a tasty kick. The Bacon Cheesy was good, but it didn't exactly stand out after the really good grilled onions and aforementioned Djion Chive mayo - it seems this place shines when you order one of the more *atypical* burgers. Don't get me wrong, it was a really good burger, it was just 'predictable.' The beef on its own was falling apart errantly into small specks that'd periodically drop on the tray, which is a good sign they don't use pre-packed patties from Costco. The miss(es)? The Cheese and Ale sauce. It just wasn't worth the buck forty-nine (even with a few extra flecks of bacon in it), and when you see the condiment station you'll know why. They've got a ton of free/better alternatives available. That also being said, the fries were nothing really special - standard shoestring fare, but the condiment station I believe had Toasted Marshmallow Cream for the Sweet Potato Fries. I've a feeling that will not stick around for long once enough kids find it. Verdict? I got a FAR better burger here than I did at the Tilted Kilt, and it's easily the best current semi-cheap option burger-wise in the vicinity of the Dulles Town Center (Bungalow Lakehouse probably gets the nod for a pricey *froo froo* burger), save the Sterling BGR and *maybe* The Habit Grill in Landsdowne, but you go there for a designer version of a Whopper - you come to this place for the variety. There's also The Counter at Reston Town Center if you feel like ~$15 per person plus parking. Oh, and since it wasn't that busy, their ~Chef du Cuisine~ would occasionally come out and keep an eye out and generally survey the dining area and ask you how everything is. It's a nice touch that makes this place feel a bit more 'homey' than a Five Guys or Smashburger. Check it out if you're in the area. P.S. If I hadn't gotten my fries for free and hadn't splurged on the Cheese and Ale sauce, I'd have paid ~$25. That being said, Quarter Pounders are something like $4.19 now, so spend the extra $3 and eat this burger instead. Oh, and at least at the Sterling location, you have to take a picture of your receipt to use their digital punchcard which, after buying seven burgers (a minimum of $45), nets you...*drumroll*...$5 in credit, and multiple burgers on one ticket doesn't net you extra 'punches.'
  22. From the WJLA website: Orlando Brown, a former Ravens offensive tackle, will bring the first Fatburger restaurants to D.C.-Baltimore corridor. Brown plans to open 10 restaurants in six years throughout the region. The first will be in Columbia in August. The 37-year-old Brown has also selected locations in Washington next to Howard University Medical Center, and is in talks for a third location in College Park near IKEA. He also has his eye on space in Baltimore for his fourth. Brown's franchise territory includes D.C. and southern Maryland.
  23. Stopped in 50/50 Taphouse recently. Large place near the south end of the pedestrian mall, bar area was doing decent business at a Saturday lunchtime. The deal here is that they have 50 taps (more than 50 now, actually), and 50 burgers. The beer list tended towards high-ABV stuff that I wasn't in a position to drink at the time, so I went with an Avery White Rascal, which I'm not sure I'd ever had on tap before and had a noticeable alcohol character that I don't remember from the canned version, and a Civil Life American Brown, which I liked. Both were about $1 cheaper than standard DC-area prices. The "50 burgers" thing sounded gimmicky given that any place with a standard list of toppings will have more than 50 permutations, but they do in fact have 50 burgers that aren't just combinations of the same small group of toppings. The 50/50 Burger ($11) was a little busy (cheese and cheese sauce together?) but an okay bar burger. They have a few "extreme" burgers on their menu that get up to $20. Friendly bartenders. Not knowledgeable about the Winchester dining scene at all, but I'd rate this a solid beer and burger joint. Speaking of beer, the Wal-Mart in Winchester had a nice display featuring Virginia craft beers--I never go to Wal-Mart locally, is this a standard thing? Picked up a six-pack of Brothers Good Adweiss (Hefeweizen) for the hot days to come.
  24. Hamburgers

    Is the lobster burger at Citronelle eligible for "Best Hamburger" consideration? Or is this category limited to beef?
  25. May be a bit premature to start a new thread for a 'rumor', but I was pretty excited to read that Shake Shack may have signed a lease to come to DC. I have only heard glowing reviews of the NYC Shake Shack. I think this could give several of our burger chains a run for their money. DC really is becoming a burger mecca.
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