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Cover 06/12/2013

Burger time!

Reviews of three new Orlando burger bars, plus 25 notable burgers around town



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In the food-obsessed climate in which we currently find ourselves – a climate that’s spawned countless food blogs, ubiquitous food photos on social media, rising levels of food snobbery and, naturally, higher food quality – it appears that the iconic burger is still king. No longer the sole domain of greasy spoons and fast-food joints, this most all-American of sandwiches (sorry, Germany) has experienced a resurgence in the past decade, having been swept up, restyled and reinvigorated in this wave of food fascination. High-end restaurants serve up black-tie versions; food trucks employ a multicultural spin; celeb chefs have added their high-profile fingerprints; and farm-to-table and meatless versions keep the eco- and veg-conscious appeased. There are more stand-alone burger joints specializing in “craft,” “gourmet” and “better” burgers than ever before, and all appear to be battling it out in a patty scrap that shows no sign of relenting. So allow us to offer a little clarity in the fog of (burger) war. After all, the spoils are
ours to enjoy.


Beth’s Burger Bar
24 E. Washington St., 407-650-4950

Being pigeonholed as a late-night pit stop for hungry tosspots is inevitable when you’re situated in the downtown core and stay open until 3 a.m. on weekends, but Beth’s Burger Bar is worth a visit even during sober daylight hours. While the raging garage-punk resounding from the jukebox may be hard to swallow for some, the burgers sure as hell aren’t. Owner Beth Steele takes a decidedly less poncey approach to patty-stacking by eschewing the trend for designer burgers with a thousand toppings in favor of a straight-up, old-school approach with old-school pricing. A mere $3.49 will get you a single patty; a double costs $2 more. Cheese, certain toppings and special sauces are extra.

We ordered, paid up, then took a seat in a booth, but not before quelling the bloody racket by dropping four bits into the jukebox and cueing up one of our favorite bands. Rush’s “Overture” from 2112 was far more to our taste, and it made the double black-and-bleu burger ($7.99) with blue cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions and pineapple-jalapeño sauce even better. If it’s well past the witching hour, consider the morning burger ($5.99) with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese, accompanied by “The Temples of Syrinx” from the same album. The burger may be light on bacon, but the egg is properly runny and the bun soft and sturdy. The patties here are more along the likes of Five Guys or In-N-Out Burger – that is, on the thinner side, making the sandwich easier to handle.

If you really need to soak up the booze, munch on some frickles ($3.49) then take the Double D Challenge ($12.99) – down a 1-pound double-double with eight slices of bacon, five cheeses, grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, pickles and all the condiments. Vanquish that beastly burger and you’ll get a T-shirt and your photo on the wall, though most succumb to its enormity. Like Geddy Lee says, “The meat shall inherit the earth.”

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