I didn’t feel much like making lunch today. Truth is, I wanted another burger. The question became which burger. Around 10 am, I walked down to Tim’s (my burger buddy) office and threw it out there. We looked over the Reader Suggestion List and decided we didn’t want to go anywhere either of us had already been. That narrowed the list quite a bit. After a bit of deliberation and a few clicks on Urbanspoon, we decided on UBEE’S.
UBEE’S is located smack dab in the middle of Tiger Country, on the Highland strip. They’re just south of CK’s Coffee Shop and tucked behind Lenny’s Sub Shop. An older post we found on the Commercial Appeal’s site indicated that UBEE’S is owned by Sandy Robertson, who happens to also own the famous Dyer’s on Beale. I wondered if were about to eat some of that famous grease today. We’ll get back to that in a minute. UBEE’S is decked out in royal blue Memphis Tiger colors. There’s a full bar the far end of the restaurant. They have plenty of booths, tables and a large patio for dining. There are several large flat screens and an alcove of couch seating for watching Tiger and Grizz games. If you can’t get to a game at the Forum, UBEE’S seems like it would be the place go.
I know it’s the summer and the University of Memphis is on break, but you’d think with a location a good as UBEE’S they’d be pretty busy at lunch hour. Tim and I walked in about 12:20 pm and there was only one other party of two there the entire time. To me, it’s not a good sign if the restaurant who makes the “Best Memphis Burger” is dead at lunch time.
UBEE’S menu is a bit cartoonish, just like their website. There’s a lot of Tiger blue and also references the legend of someone name UBEE, who supposedly carried grease to every Tiger game for frying up burgers at halftime. Very similar to the Dyer’s menu, UBEE’S offers single, double and triple burgers, with or without cheese. They differ from Dyer’s as UBEE’S also offers starters, salads and several panini sandwiches. From other posts and reviews I’ve read, Their humus is something to try. However, this day, we came for the burgers.
At first I was a little confused. Close to the register, I saw a good size griddle with a burger press sitting on it. I thought maybe I wasn’t going to get a fried burger after all. I think I even heard my arteries sigh with relief. Then I saw it. Next to the grilled was a set of four burners heating a single large skillet full of grease. There was no mistaking that whatever burger I ordered was going to cook in that. Time to take one for the team, Seth.
The saving grace of UBEE’S grease is it’s rumored to be from the same sacred grease used at Dyer’s. Since we’re talking about it, a Dyer’s burger patty is submerged into a deep, black skillet full of hot grease. It supposedly has not been changed since Dyer’s opened in 1912. It’s the grease that gives a Dyer’s burger its juicy interior while it develops a crusty outside. The truth is the grease is carefully strained every night after closing hour and poured back into a storage vat. Some friends swear that after a night on Beale street, nothing beats a Dyer’s Double-Double. Apparently, UBEE’S cooks their burgers the same way.
I’d never been to UBEE’S or Dyer’s before so I didn’t know better. My fault for not doing my homework. I ordered the UB Cheesy classic single cheeseburger not knowing that they pound the patty very thin before it’s fried it in all that grease. I’m not sure I could have eaten their TNT triple burger, but I definitely should have ordered the Two Timer double. There just wasn’t enough beef in any single bite for me to get a true taste of the burger. It was slightly juicy, but that could have been the grease. It came with only mustard, pickle and onion on it and I swear if I closed my eyes, I thought I was eating a Krystals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Truth is, I just didn’t love it. After several suggestions to go to UBEE’S, I hoped for something more. The overall taste wasn’t bad, but I stand by my Krystal’s analogy. The UBEE burger is not the kind of burger I prefer. I like them thicker, juicier and grilled. It was a burger I probably would have enjoyed more after a few hours at a keg party or a long night out.
Tim did get the TNT triple with cheese and a side of tater-tots. It sure looked good and again made me wish I gone bigger on the burger. What stuck in my mind was the comment he made, “You know man, you actually got two posts out of this. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I just ate a Dyer’s Triple-Triple.” This doesn’t mean I’m not going to Dyer’s on Beale. I might just move that visit back a bit.
I give UBEE’S a 3 out of 5 stars. For the grease fried type of burger it was, it lived up to my expectations. Is it the “Best Memphis Burger”? No. The search is still on.
521 South Highland Street
Memphis, TN 38111
If you have a favorite burger that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.