2011 has been the year of the burger. At least it has been such in my world. Since late summer, I’ve made my way all over the city trying out burgers that have been suggested to me via email, twitter and by word of mouth. BestMemphisBurger.com, in my opinion, has become what I’d hoped it would become – a growing index of Memphis’ burger options. I started it because I believed the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis annual vote for the best burger has become a sham. Huey’s wins every single year. And to give them equal opportunity in all of this, I’ve eaten several of their burgers since launching this site. Huey’s is most certainly a good burger. But whatever greatness they once upon a time owned, is just not there any more. So as 2011 wraps up and we’re now just days from the 2012, I wanted to sum up the year in Memphis burgers.
My 2011 Favorite Burger:
Throughout the year only one burger in town has consistently been seasoned perfectly, cooked to my requested temperature, been juicy and bursting with flavor and has exceeded my expectations each time I’ve eaten it. My favorite burger is The “World Famous” Greek Burger at Alex’s Tavern. Rocky Kasaftes takes so much pride in everything he serves at Alex’s. If something isn’t right, he’ll go way out of his way to fix it and make sure you leave a happy customer. It’s just a joy to go by on my lunch hour and shoot the breeze with Rocky and Andy while eating the awesome food at Alex’s.
My 2011 Runner-up Burgers:
Two burgers come to mind immediately and on any given day, these burgers could go toe to toe with the best of them. They’re the Four Cheese Burger at Kooky Canuck and the Majestic Burger at Majestic Grille.
I especially love the Four Cheese Burger from Kooky Canuck, but getting them to cook it to the right temperature is becoming difficult. Since my initial post, I’ve been back twice and can’t seem to get a medium burger. Once I even sent back a well done burger, only to be given another well done burger. Comical, but frustrating. Nonetheless, even cooked well done, the burger at Kooky Canuck is juicy and bursting with flavor. It’s served on an amazing brioche bun that just seals the deal and holds this masterpiece together.
The Majestic Burger is different in that is isn’t as heavily seasoned as burgers from Kooky’s or Alex’s. Its Angus flavor along with the aged swiss cheese gives this burger a truly “Majestic Flavor”. I’ve had a couple of burgers from the Majestic Grille and I can’t understand how this burger isn’t mentioned every year in the Flyer’s Best of Memphis. The awesome burger patty, fresh toppings and sweet bun make this one of my favorite burger. If you haven’t had one, give it a try. You owe it to yourself.
The Surprise Burger:
The Uptown Burger from Roxie’s Grocery is also nothing short of fabulous. Who would have thought that you could find such an awesome burger at an urban grocery store. I’ve only been there once, but I can say this burger is certainly in my top five. The Uptown Burger is two large seasoned patties topped with three cheese and a generous portion of grilled onions. It’s pretty off the hook in flavor and taste. Other than my above mentions, it would be hard to find a better burger anywhere. I can’t wait for my post New Years outing with @ilovememphis and @kalisah to go back to Roxies.
The Most Over-Hyped Burger:
This burger has to be the most disappointing burger I’ve had this year. It was by no means the worst, but it just wasn’t as good as I was told many times it would be. I’m talking about the the Triple-Triple at Dyer’s Burgers on Beale Street. Dyer’s fries very thin burger patties in 100 yr old grease. It’s a great gimmick, but unfortunately it wasn’t a great tasting burger. Even a triple had very little taste or flavor. In fact, on the day I went to Dyer’s, all I really tasted was the bun and the mustard. This is one of those Memphis classics that just didn’t pan out as a Best Memphis Burger.
Here Today Gone Tomorrow Burger:
Stuffy’s opened up shop late this past summer on Echles Street near the University of Memphis. I really enjoyed their “stuffed” cheeseburgers and Old Bay seasoned fries. While I wasn’t alone in my love of their burgers, many Yelp and Urbanspoon reviewers have had less than stellar meals there. There were many reports of burned burgers, empty or not working drink machines and rude staff. While I never saw any of that first hand, it’s hard to ignore those types of reviews. Stuffy’s is supposed to open up again in the Carriage Crossing Mall, but no date has been set. While I personally avoid malls at all costs, and I could never imagine myself going to a mall just to get a burger, I wish them the very best of luck and hope they can recreate that late summer magic I ate after they first opened.
I’m very much looking forward to 2012. I have a lot of supposedly great burgers on the radar. For example, I still need to get to Off the Hoof, South of Beale, Flight, Fuel, Lamp Lighter and Printer’s Alley. Rumor has it the BP station on South Parkway and Florida makes a killer burger and even Amerigo’s recently began serving burgers. I will always try to keep it local and only review chains if they get lots of hype, i.e., Five Guys. I thank you all for following along, sending in suggestions or meeting me for a burger. Without you and your encouragement and suggestions I would have probably gotten bored after the second burger.
I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season and a blessed new year.