Sep 132011

The past two Mondays, Tim and I played a game of “Burger Roulette” when picking lunch. Both times, The Green Beetle was Memphis Burger Jointrandomly selected. Last week I overruled the pick to get a Blackened Bayou Burger. Remember how that turned out? This week, Tim tried to overrule The Green Beetle selection in favor of Slider Inn, but I had to stand my ground saying, “We can’t go against the Burger Gods two weeks in a row.” With that we were both on board for a Beetle Burger.

The Green Beetle is the oldest tavern still open for business in Memphis. They’re located on South Main between Pearls Oyster House and South of Beale. It’s simply an awesome location in a booming part of downtown not far from Beale Street. The Trolley Line runs right in front of the tavern and there’s plenty of curbside parking available on the surrounding streets.Great Memphis Bar The Green Beetle was remodeled not too long ago. It looks great inside. There’s plenty of table, side counter-top and and bar seating with lots of Memphis nostalgia decorating the walls.

The menu at The Green Beetle is fairly decent. It includes a variety of bar foods and sandwiches. There’s a dinner menu with some bigger entree’s and even a few kids’ plates. They boast that they have a world famous beer selection, but I didn’t get a chance to check that out. Tim and I were there for the burgers. The only real question was whether to order the 1/2 lb single patty burger or the 1 lb double. Our server told us the burgers were huge so we both played it safe and ordered the single 1/2 lb Beetle Burger.

The Burger
Tim really thought we were going to get a great burger. At first I was skeptical, but when our server asked how I wanted it prepared, I thought maybe they actually know how to cook a winner. Of course I ordered mine medium with everything on it. Mayo, mustard and ketchup are all served on the side. When our burgers came out of the kitchen, my jaw near dropped. Big Sweet Memphis BurgerOur burgers were stacked tall and looked great as they approached our table. I snapped a couple of pictures and began my inspection.

Right away I had to question the bun. The menu said the Beetle Burger was served on a Kaiser bun. It didn’t look like any Kaiser roll I’d ever seen. It appeared to be more of a thick and doughy wheat bun. There was also more iceberg lettuce on my burger than found in your average side salad. It wasn’t laid out in neatly either. It was just a big hunk of lettuce heart that I had to trim up and arrange on my burger. Most of it I just pushed off to the side of my plate. Everything else appeared good to go. When I removed the bun to add some mayonnaise and mustard, I saw that it was toasted very nicely. I was ready to dig in.

My first bite revealed quite a bit. Once again I have to ask, why offer a customer a temperature choice on a burger if you’re just going to cook it past recognition? My Beetle Burger was served at least well done. There was no juiciness left to be found. The patty didn’t taste very seasoned so the only flavor I was getting other than the overcooked beef was coming from the bun. Yes, the bun. The bun turned out to be a very sweet honey whole wheat bun. The flavor just didn’t work for me. I don’t want sweetness in my hamburger. At the least I want salt and pepper, but prefer stronger seasonings, like Cavendars, Old Bay or Tony Chachere’s that enhance the beef flavor. The honey taste was just too conflicting for me and made it a pretty unenjoyable burger.

Tim, on the other hand, liked the taste. This just confirms that burger tasting is very subjective. He couldn’t believe I didn’t like what I was eating. I couldn’t believe that after so many great burgers we enjoyed together, he was digging this one. I reminded him of Alex’s, Uncle Lou’s, Stuffy’s, and Ernestine & Hazel’s. He thought the Beetle Burger was right up there. I can’t figure it out.

The Fries we were served tasted good. They were your standard restaurant style steak fries. Perhaps the same ones you’d get at Huey’s or Alex’s. They were crisp but not very seasoned either. Once I sprinkled a little salt on them, they became the best part of my meal.

I give the Beetle Burger a generous 2.5 out of 5 stars. Even though it was quite over cooked and missing flavor I believe a better bun might have saved this burger.

The Green Beetle
325 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 526-0383

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.

The Green Beetle on Urbanspoon

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  2 Responses to “The Green Beetle”

  1. To my friend Don Gale. It is for this reason that I cannot add to the list or even think about trying the CK’s Glazed Donut Burger. But don’t let me stop you. In fact, I invite you to guest blog your your CK’s experience. Cheers!

  2. Ok here is my take on what we had and why I think it’s way better than 2.5 stars. First if you like Hawaiian bread you will love this burger if not order something else it’s not for you. I had a good if not great burger, my experience was just the opposite of Seth’s which is funny to me cause we been on the same page until now. The meat was cooked done no pink as I like mine with some juice still in the meat. I wish there had been some seasoning I do agree with Seth on that for sure just a basic hand made patti on the grill. All my toppings were spot on not to much just the right amount once I put some mayo in the mix and gave it the mash down it was on. I liked the bun it was toasted and held up till the end to be as big as this burger was mine didn’t fall apart like most do that are big. The fries were good just steak fries nothing special but crisp at least. I also had some Mac n Cheese on the side that was very good. I like me some Mac n Cheese too and I consider myself to be very picky about it. I know Seth wont go back for another burger but I will for sure it’s as if the burger Seth had came from a different place than mine it was good I give it a 4 stars out of my burger quest with Seth to me it’s as good as the rest of the 4 stars on this burger blog. Thanks Seth for letting me get in on this quest for the “Best Burger” its been a blast so far I look foward to eating more and finding out what makes a great burger. And remember folks we will never find one that each of us will ever agree on and thats the fun of it to me…….

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