From D.C. to Charlotte & the Burgers In Between
What up burger munchers– we have a first-time guest post comin’ at you from Burger Days crew member Jason Wippich (@Wipps). Earlier this summer, he took a road trip down to Charlotte, NC and hooked up with some sweet, southern burger action. Peep his words.
Earlier this summer for my birthday, I dragged my wife on a southern tour for rock music and hamburgers. She was a good sport for putting up with my meaty appetite and I left wanting to move to Charlotte.
The voyage started with a stop by James Madison University for a stop by Jack Brownâ€™s Beer & Burger Joint. The place is no bigger than my freshman dorm was at JMU with only bar seating inside with a handful of tables outside. Thankfully it was nice enough to sit outside (but they did have outdoor heat lamps just in case).
The menu was simple enough with the hamburger a scant $4.49 and the cheeseburger just 50 cents more. The intriguing part is their $6.49 Daily Special lineup. Being a Friday, my choice was made for me as I ordered The Greg Brady: a regular burger topped with homemade three cheese mac & Martinâ€™s BBQ chips. It took only a couple of minutes for our order to come back and that was because the burger was no bigger than anything youâ€™d receive at a fast food restaurant. Forget about wanting it medium or rare because with that thin of a patty, itâ€™s one size fits all. The mac and cheese was decent and the chips were an interesting mix, but I was left unsatisfied because of the lack of meat.
I could easily see the appeal of Jack Brownâ€™s Daily Special lineup in a college town as eating those burgerâ€™s either before or after a night of debauchery would suffice. The saving grace for my appetite was the deep fried Oreo they offered as a dessert. It was warm and gooey and everything one could want to wrap up a meal.
For dinner that night we had reached our weekend destination in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just two blocks from our hotel was one of the burger joints I had scouted out ahead of time. Nixâ€™s Burger and Brew was a burger specialist and, therefore, the reason for going. Located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, Nixâ€™s is a perfect setting for a business lunch, a post work happy hour or a late nigh chow down. Some restaurants will have a couple of choices including their own creations, but Nixâ€™s had 18 burger concoctions to choose from. None of them were more than $9.95 which is another bonus (there is a $3 extra charge if you want bison meat).
After scouring the menu and probably leaving some drool on the table I chose the Jamaican Me Crazy Burger which contained habanero jack cheese, herb mayo & jerk sauce. While waiting, we noshed on Nixâ€™s Angry Fries which were ridiculously good. I would spread that creamy queso mix on any future nacho or fries choice. After 10 minutes (it takes time to cook a real burger) I was served the main course. The burger was a good size and decently cooked to my medium desire. The cheese was melted and smothered the pattyâ€“ exactly how I want it. The two sauces were good on their own, but mixed together they battled each other to be fully present with every bite. All in all I was satisfied with the output, but was sad I wasnâ€™t going to be in town long enough to sample the rest of the gargantuan menu.
The next morning I awoke knowing that I was heading to Big Daddyâ€™s Burger Bar to take on the Bacon Cheeseburger on Steriods! We were told the wait at 1 p.m. on a Saturday would be 10-15 minutes, but got a seat almost immediately upon arrival. The place was crowded and was set up to cater to families, college kids and sports fans. It even had a generous outdoor seating section which is always an added plus.
Letâ€™s get back to my Steroids Burger which I couldnâ€™t wait for. This was the most expensive ($11.50) of the 15 choices in Big Daddyâ€™s Favorite Burgers section, though not every burger choice was a beef option. My selection was an easy choice because while it came as a standard burger, it was seasoned with bacon salt, topped with three pieces of both jalapeno bacon and Applewood smoked bacon and slathered with Baconnaise! It also had Monterey Jack and the standard lettuce, tomatoes and onions. To say it was a mouthful would be an understatement.
It came nicely cooked, just a tad over medium and, after inspecting all of the components, I squished the patties to together, releasing a never ending drizzle of greasy goodness and went to town.
Everything was pure bacon bliss, but because all the bacon components were above the patty it was difficult to differentiate between any of the subtle bacon flavors. I would have stacked some bacon below the patty and put the Baconnaise on the bottom bun rather than the top. Either way it was everything I had envisioned when I read the description during my burger research. I had no need to eat for the next eight hours which was perfect while I was rocking the afternoon and night away at a concert.
All three places were perfect for the type of people they cater towards. This is a key for any restaurant and each place offers food in which they have mastered making. I look forward to taking another trip down south in the future and sampling a bit more off of each menu and I suggest you do as well.
Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint |Â 80 S Main St.,Â Harrisonburg,Â VA |Â jackbrownsjoint.com
Nix’s Burger & Brew |Â 201 N. Tryon Street,Â Charlotte, NC |Â nixburgers.com
Big Daddy’s Burger Bar |Â 1626 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC |Â bigdaddysburgerbar.com