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Tim Dolan

Philadelphia's Best Burger

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I'd say that the Yello'bar burger sampler, at $7.95, might just be one of the better burger bargains in town.

The samples are of the four regular burgers on the menu -- the Yell'oburger (Swiss cheese [iIRC] and caramelized onions), the bacon burger (with cheddar), the Black & Bleu burger (blackened patty with buttermilk blue cheese), and the pretzel burger (with Dijon mustard--there's cheese on it too, but I forget what kind right now; the full size version is served on a roll made from soft pretzel dough while the sampler burger is on the same brioche roll as the other three). Edited to add: And all four burgers were served medium rare without my having to specify doneness to the waitress -- a sign that this place knows burgers.

Together they add up to an 8 oz. burger (the size of their regular patties) for $2 less.

Granted, however, that this is like eating sliders compared to a full-size burger and thus qualitatively different even if quantitatively the same.

Had one at the Phillyblog happy hour last week. We really ought to do a Phillyblog-meets-eGullet dining event soon.


Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Grabbed a burger from the U.S. Hotel on Main St. last week before Thursday's Phillies' game. I'm a big fan of the Hotel, they've had a good burger for a long time. Just as I thought they were gonna step their game up, this burger was held back because it was overcooked. Ordered it med-rare, came out med-well. It was still good, but if they can nail the correct temp it will be just shy of great. I loved the fries. Thicker than normal and with the skin still on, sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper, and smothered with fresh minced garlic. I couldn't stop eating them. You definitely have to be a fan of garlic, but who isn't?


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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Does Bill Green still own that place?


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Not sure. I do know that it was bought around a year ago by someone who owns another bar in Northern Liberties . The name is actually "Liberties U.S. Hotel", or something along those lines.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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I think Bill Green cashed out while Manayunk was still hip.


Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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Comfort food for me right now is a great burger. To that end I went to Rouge today for lunch. Their burger is quite good but I am still on the hunt for my ideal. First of all, it was such a thick patty that I couldn't open my mouth wide enough for a proper bite and wound up eating it mostly with knife and fork. Tasted GREAT though and they managed to avoid my most frustrating scenario: I ask for a medium rare burger and get it well done. Happened to me at London Grill recently and I was really sad.

The fries were disappointing though. They needed more salt and they were uniformly limp.

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Several months ago Great Burger opened in Upper Southampton, on Second Street Pike. Both the burgers and fries are very good. I watched the burger being made and noticed the cook lightly pushed down on it once with the spatula. That's it. Choice of sesame or wheat bun and toppings, including fried onions and mushrooms are at no extra cost.

The fries are made with peanut oil that's changed regularly. Not sure if they're twice fried. They even have malt vinegar for the fries.

I chatted with the owner, who indicated that after retiring from running several retail kiosks at a local mall he got bored and decided to open Great Burger. He knows his burgers. Meat is ground daily and trained the cook to "touch the hamburger only once aside from flipping it." He says they're pretty busy and he hopes to franchise them.

So, for you folks in Bucks County, check it out.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Comfort food for me right now is a great burger.  To that end I went to Rouge today for lunch. Their burger is quite good but I am still on the hunt for my ideal.  First of all, it was such a thick patty that I couldn't open my mouth wide enough for a proper bite and wound up eating it mostly with knife and fork.  Tasted GREAT though and they managed to avoid my most frustrating scenario:  I ask for a medium rare burger and get it well done.  Happened to me at London Grill recently and I was really sad.

The fries were disappointing though.  They needed more salt and they were uniformly limp.

If the size of the burger is a problem, try the burger at the Society Hotel at 3rd and Chestnut. They don't serve up a massive burger like most places but it's still pretty killer. Also, if you got some of the Rouge burger down you shouldn't have too much of a problem with the normal offering from Standard Tap. Good Dog is out of the question.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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Several months ago Great Burger opened in Upper Southampton, on Second Street Pike.  Both the burgers and fries are very good.  I watched the burger being made and noticed the cook lightly pushed down on it once with the spatula.  That's it.  Choice of sesame or wheat bun and toppings, including fried onions and mushrooms are at no extra cost.

The fries are made with peanut oil that's changed regularly.  Not sure if they're twice fried.  They even have malt vinegar for the fries.

I chatted with the owner, who indicated that after retiring from running several retail kiosks at a local mall he got bored and decided to open Great Burger.  He knows his burgers.  Meat is ground daily and trained the cook to "touch the hamburger only once aside from flipping it."  He says they're pretty busy and he hopes to franchise them.

So, for you folks in Bucks County, check it out.

I had lunch here today. Burger was good not great. I asked the owner (Elliot) if he could make mine medium rare and he said it has to register 160 degrees, something about the patty being too thin to make it medium rare. I must say my well done burger was pretty good and still somewhat juicy but med rare would have made it close to a great burger.

Holly alert with these fries. They are fantastic, idaho's made daily and TWICE fried with good peanut oil. In fact, the guy has huge cans of peanut oil lining the store. They are NOT shoestrings but rather a perfectly cut and crispy fry with a nice soft inside. The peanut oil ramps up the flavor. I'd go back just for the fries.

For his first food joint, he's doing pretty well. Menu also has Ruts-Hut style hot dogs which I will try next. Also marinated chicken sandwiches he promises are great too. Only downside is it's a bit off the beaten path for me but I'll be back.

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Had a completely forgettable burger today at the Iron Hill Brewery in Phoenixville. Had to meet somebody there for a business lunch. Order the burger med-rare with swiss and bacon, came out mid-well. It was surprisingly still quite juicy, but the meat seemed relatively flavorless. The fries were way overdone. If it were my choice of where to go, we would've been at either the Columbia or Black Lab.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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In the course of our southern Chester County excursions, we found ourselves near Brandywine Prime. As it had just gotten a Best of Philly from Philly Mag for their burger, we felt obliged to try it.

It is indeed a very fine burger. Best? Ahh, that's always a hard one, but it was very tasty, clearly reflecting the very good meat used for it. It had a light, loose, texture that indicated a gentle hand used in forming it, and restraint with the spatula! It was very juicy, but the light brioche bun handled that well. Toppings were fresh and flavorful, including good cheddar cheese, and a vivid slice of tomato.

Fries were uneven: some were perfect, but an unfortunate percentage were limp and soggy.

I'm not sure the burger is so profound that it rates a pilgrimage from great distances, but if you're anywhere nearby, it's absolutely worth checking out.


Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Philly's always had good burgers, but I assume that the ubiquity of cheesesteaks has kept them somewhat on the back burner. But there seems to be a shift in the balance over the last couple of years, and it only seems to be accelerating: Sketch, Starr's burger shack in Franklin Square, 500 Degrees, Bobby Flay, I'm sure I'm forgetting some...

The latest entry into the scene is Frög Burger. That might seem like an odd name for a restaurant, but long-time Philadelphians remember Frög from the restaurant renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s, and this is a project from that restauranteur, Steve Poses, who still operates Frög Commissary catering.

Frog Burger is located under a small tent, in the front yard of the Franklin Institute, at the corner of 20th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. There are a few tables scattered nearby, some covered. The main attraction is burgers, grilled on charcoal, although there are other things on the menu as well.

There's a basic burger, which can be customized with a few toppings, or you can go for the "Love Burger" which is a burger that uses two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun. It's dosed with "special sauce" just to make it especially over-the-top.

FrogBurger-LoveBurger1r.jpg

FrogBurger-LoveBurger2r.JPG

I think it was supposed to come with lettuce, tomato and onion, but none was provided or offered. A commenter on my blog linked to a picture that had those accompaniments, and I think some greenery might have helped. But I'm not sure how much - my general impression was just that it was too...everything. It's too much bread, too much grease, ultimately it's too big. It's hard to eat, and the burger actually gets a bit lost in the confusion.

The good news is that the burger itself was thick, tasty, and remarkably juicy. They state that they cook the to medium unless otherwise requested, and I decided to see what that meant. And indeed it was a pretty perfect medium, just a hint of pinkness remaining at the center of the burger. Despite that level of doneness, it was still very moist, actually dripping quite a lot, for better or worse. It did not have as much of a deep charred crust as I prefer, and that might just be inherent to the cooking set-up, you really need a couple different levels of heat on a grill to cook a thick burger through, and to also get a nice char.

So is the burger going to dethrone any of the current local burger favorites? Probably not, but it's still pretty good.

There are a few more things on the menu: a turkey burger, a decent grilled dog, an OK crab roll, fries, and some unusual starters, like fried green tomatoes. For those that remember the Commissary, it's pretty exciting that they sell slices of their famous Carrot Cake, and the infamous Killer Cake, both of which are delicious.

There's decent lemonade, sweet tea, sangria and beer, as well as milkshakes made with Bassett's Ice Cream (and chunks of the carrot or killer cake, if you're into that kind of thing.)

So it's not too different from Starr's burger/shake thing, or the Shake Shack up in NY, basically a gourmet, not-fast version of the summer burger takeout thing. It strikes me that 20th and the Parkway could really use something like that, so I suspect locals and tourists alike will be happy it's there. Will I make special trips out of my way to get over there? Not sure...


Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I'll submit the the Oyster House burger is pretty awesome. As the only non-seafood item on the menu it had to be standout. 14 day dry aged prime, low pressure chopped rather than ground so the meat doesn't heat up and the precious fat melt away - cooked to temperature of your choosing with carmelized onions, crumbled blue cheese and topped with a fried oyster all on a brioche bun. Served with house made chips at lunch and shoestring fries at dinner. Super juicy and really delicious. I'm a big fan.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie, I couldn't agree more. OH makes an amazing burger, one of my favorites. I'm surprised it doesn't get more hype.

I've also really been loving the burger at Resurrection Ale House lately. Not as luxe as the OH burger-- simple, but delicious.


BROG, a beer blog

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Agreed, that burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches seems like something invented by a drunk frat boy. Props to philadining for even trying one, if you ask me. I'd have run in the other direction. I think when I'm in Philly for lunch next Friday I'll be hitting Oyster House instead!


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Outstanding, Chris!! I work lunches on Friday so I'll look forward to seeing you!


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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The "Love Burger" with "special sauce"?

Shouldn't that be the "G. Love Burger with Special Sauce"?

Will peruse this thread in full later, but right now, will go on record as saying:

--500 Degrees is good, but not great; the burger struck me as a bit on the dry side, surprising given the place's pedigree

--PYT's burger-of-the-week shtick is cute, and one of the Hall of Famers, the bacon and blue cheese number, is actually worth the heart attack you will have after eating it

--so many places to try, so little time (and money); so now I gotta add the Oyster House to the list?

--Five Guys still has no peers in its subcategory, though 500 Degrees is clearly aiming at its turf


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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As promised I hit Oyster House for a burger (and a cocktail, of course!) on Friday. I have not had very many burgers in Philly so I can't vouch for the "best" claim, but it's a damn fine burger. The addition of the fried oyster on top sorta sets this burger into a category of its own, the brininess of the oyster mingling with the blue cheese and burger to create a very unique taste. The bun is a very nice choice, just firm enough to stand up to all the juices, but not so firm as to take over.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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With all the new burger places that have popped up in town, it's good to know that the old standbys are still carrying the torch. Stopped by Good Dog last night and the Good Dog burger is still, in my opinion, one of the best in town.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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