About a year ago I found some really good pizza in Memphis. And no, it wasn’t from Memphis Pizza Cafe. I am 100% in agreement with Ken about MPC. The really good pizza I found was at Trolley Stop Market on Madison. And wouldn’t you know it, they also make a few varieties of burgers as well. Since I began this burger quest, readers have been saying that I’ll find my grail burger at Trolley Stop Market. I had planned to go last week, that is until I learned about stuffed burgers and Old Bay seasoned fries at Stuffy’s. Another Monday came around and Tim was pushing hard for an outing to the Green Beetle. I stood firm though and told him we’d put off Trolley Stop long enough. I won out this time.
About 12:30 we headed down Madison to Trolley Stop Market. I didn’t realize until we parked that the only thing that separates Trolley Stop Market and Burly’s is N. Orleans. They’re literally next door neighbors. Trolley Stop Market offers a variety of locally grown produce and meats. They also feature the work of local artists and sell their crafts. There’s a great feel to the place and I really enjoy the atmosphere of farmer’s market meets cafe. Their menu offers a nice selection salads, wraps, vegetarian dishes and vegan specials on Monday nights. Every other night they have different themed dinner specials such as Italian, Cajun, Tacos and Neola Farms Burgers.
Speaking of burgers, there are about 8 variety of burgers on the menu including a vegetarian and turkey burger. They’re all in the $8.00 range and are accompanied by chips or potato salad. Tim ordered the “Big Red” basic Trolley Stop burger with cheddar cheese and I got the Black and Bleu, blackened burger with bleu cheese. Both our burgers were plated with a gorgeous stack of fresh lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles and served at a perfect medium temperature. The buns were a fresh white bun that tasted good and held up well to the burger. Everything looked great! For Tim, the taste was there too. He enjoyed his burger, but I was a little less impressed. Okay, yes I know I ordered a burger with bleu cheese, but I could barely taste any blackened or Cajun seasoning which I hoped would balance the strong flavor of the cheese. Also, my burger wasn’t juicy at all. Perhaps the Neola farms ground beef was too lean? I think a little fat in the meat is essential in keeping it moist and juicy. It also adds to the flavor of the burger. Without it, you have to rely completely on seasonings, which in this case just weren’t there.
Something else that I didn’t like was that our burgers were brought to our table less than five minutes after they were ordered. I’m sorry, but no hand formed, thick patty (approx. 1/3 – 1/2 lb.) can be grilled in that short of a time. I hate to say it, but I believe the lunch burgers are precooked and just reheated to order on the grill. How else could a thick burger be grilled medium, blackened and served that quick? This could also be the reason there wasn’t any juiciness to speak of. Granted, Trolley Stop Market is very busy at lunch and caters to a large variety of business, students and healthcare patrons who need to get in and out quickly. It’s also in their interest to turn tables as quick as possible. I get all that, but I’m not okay with paying $8.00 – $9.00 for a reheated burger.
I also was unimpressed with the Baked Lays potato chips. I should have ordered the potato salad which Tim thoroughly enjoyed. Baked Lays are about the most boring chip there is. I suppose I was hoping for homemade chips similar to what Three Angels Diner makes or homemade sweet potato chips. That would have been a nice compliment to the burger. The bag of Baked Lays was just a let down.
I give Trolley Stop Market 3 out of 5 stars for their Black and Bleu burger. The unimpressive taste, lack of juice, boring potato chips and suspiciously quick preparation didn’t work for me. My opinion is they should cut the meat with another local, less lean beef to create a juicier burger and cook it the whole way to order. I don’t think anyone would mind waiting 10 to 12 minutes for a good burger.
Trolley Stop Market
704 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
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.