the spot: Holeman and Finch 2277 Peachtree Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30309
the eats: The H and F burger
the bucks: $14
the full nelson: they make 24 of these burgers a night. and it tastes as special as that sounds.
These days I find myself enjoying burgers priced in the mid teens more and more. Could it be that Cheap Eats has changed my palate? Or is it my wallet? Heck, it’s both. While I believe that the all mighty burger(and many foods) should remain an affordable experience, I can’t deny the power of fresh baked buns, quality farm sourced ingredients and the audacity to present a chef’s vision between two buns. And those factors carry with it a price tag.
the spot: Hightower 1209 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: “Burger”
the bucks: $9
the full nelson: one messy steal of a burger that is worth the extra napkins
Austin is an unpretentious food town, and Hightower’s dimly lit interior and casual service set you up perfectly to be surprised by a dynamic menu wrangling in Mexican and Asian flavors in a small plates format sized for tipsy appetites. Every time I eat there I like it more and more. If you watch Cheap Eats carefully or read this blog(which I’m guessing you do since you are right now) you know that I flip for flavor forward foods. Mexican and Asian cooking certainly can serve that up, and being an American who is spoiled by food culture choices, it is nice to go to one place that has great whiskey and food I would crave a day after having plenty of whiskey. Before we get to the burger however I do feel we need to get into some other highlights of the menu that might have you picking Hightower for a date night as much as a burger binge.
the spot: Contigo 2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723
the eats: Burger w/ cheese and fries
the bucks: $16
the full nelson: one of the best burgers in Austin
An article came out in Bon Appétit magazine last year describing Contigo as a restaurant “locals bring out of towners in order to convince them to move here”. I would go a step further and say it is a place to bring your friends visiting from Brooklyn, Silver Lake or San Francisco and say “hey Austin has food as good as you do plus we are as laid back as the patio you are eating and drinking in”. Austin of course has food worthy making a trip for, especially if you hail from the latest and greatest corners of gentrification. Contigo isn’t so much a meal you see on an episode of Chef’s Table but they are as timely and relevant as chef driven, farm to table burgers get. It’s among my top two burgers in Austin and proof that the best Bang for your Burger Buck in this town sits in the mid teen range(Odd Duck is right up there too). But wait, did I say the best burger value is in fact closer to an Andrew Jackson then a Abraham Lincoln? Yeah, I really did. As much as P. Terry’s and Hopdoddy will absolutely sate your burger fix for under $10, whats happening around the $15 mark at Contigo and Odd Duck, well that’s good enough to convince your East and West Coast friends that Austin’s food scene is as relevant as LA, SF or NYC. Need more convincing? Well that’s what I’m here to do.
the spot: Launderette 2115 Holly St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Plancha Burger
the bucks: $9
the full nelson: A chef driven take on a classic comfort food burger
I have been living in Austin for a little over two years now and while I feel comfortable waxing poetic on some obvious edible essentials like La Barbecue, P. Terry’s or Taco Deli; the fine dining scene eludes me. Part of it is because since having a kid, my wife and I eat out at these types of establishments far less. The other part is that you don’t need to eat at a fine dining establishment to get a taste of the chef driven, farm to table food experience that is the cornerstone of our contemporary fine dining movement. Which brings me to my visit at Launderette for the Plancha burger. First off Launderette is far more than a mere burger spot, their menu is a mix of shared plates and a few entrées, with a heavy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence. The chef behind the savory side of the menu, Rene Ortiz, is an accomplished one, with a resumé that rattles off names like Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse like a teaser for an upcoming episode of Top Chef Masters. And the burger costs $9, so this should be a perfect storm for Bang for your Burger Buck right? That depends on what you expect out of your burgers. The Plancha is a chef driven version of a classic American Diner cheeseburger, a burger genre whose entries make the lists of the best burgers around. And if you need support that a diner cheeseburger can draw the admiration of top tier critics, just ask Jonathan Gold, George Motz or Nick Solares. How does the Plancha stack up? Let’s find out.
Four burgers in five days pretty much screams meat sweats even if brisket isn’t part of the equation. But sometimes you gotta take advantage of your burger surroundings and so here ya go – 4 epic burgers meals in the city that never sleeps. Unless you happen to eat four burgers in five days of course.