Burgers

511. BurgerFin – June 12, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

I love burgers AND patio dining. So of course I was game for a mash-up of the two with a visit to BurgerFin.

The Clinton Township-based restaurant (at The Mall at Partridge Creek) is all about mash-ups. Its menu features both burgers and sushi.

A burger-joint-slash-sushi-bar! Have you heard of one of those? I certainly hadn’t until BurgerFin. But why not serve both sushi and burgers if you’re going to do them as well as BurgerFin does?

Seafood is not my thing. So I don’t find much reason to eat sushi. But did I wish seafood was my thing when I saw BurgerFin’s Las Vegas rolls? Most definitely! Filled with salmon, cream cheese, and avocado, they’re deep-fried and drizzled with spicy mayo and sriracha, then topped with jalapeños and sesame seeds. What flavor amalgamation! Other sushi offerings on BurgerFin’s menu are its Spicy Tuna Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, and California Roll.

While I’m not a sushi aficionado, I’m pretty into burgers. And BurgerFin’s intrigued me.

I should clarify: BurgerFin’s burgers are actually sliders, the baby cousin of the sandwiched-sized original. Not all these sliders feature beef patties. Choices range from Crispy Chicken to the Maple Bourbon BLT (BurgerFin’s riff on the classic bacon sandwich) to the Mobster Lobster filled with lobster salad, scallions, and a tangy mustard sauce.

I opted for the BBQ Bacon Me Crazy beef sliders topped with grilled onions, melted cheddar, bacon, and barbecue sauce. They were delicious little burger nuggets! I ordered them as part of BurgerFin’s slider meal combo, which includes two sliders and a side of fries or salad. I opted for the house salad.

This salad was EXCELLENT! I feel a little silly raving about a side salad, but honestly, it was SO good. The mixed greens, red onion, tomato, and cucumber were SO fresh and tasty, and I loved the zesty vinaigrette dressing and crunchy croutons. Add salads to the list of things BurgerFin does well! Its menu does include an elaborate build-your-own salad option that presents a variety of nuts and seeds, fruits and veggies, greens and cheeses, proteins and dressings.

Those healthful salads on BurgerFin’s menu are balanced by decadent deep-fried fare. Under Appetizers, see the bacon-studded Mac & Cheese bites served with ranch dressing and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts coated in chile lime sauce and parmesan cheese. Drool over the Fries & Sauces section’s Bonfire Fries with their layers of seasoning, sriracha, and Fat Tire-laced beer cheese.

Try it all, from sliders to sushi, salad to those Bonfire Fries. BurgerFin will totally embrace your meal mash-up!

17380 Hall Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.burgerfin.com

506. Naked Burger – April 14, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

If there’s one place I’ve OBSESSED over this year, it’s Naked Burger. This upscale burger restaurant and bar based in Clinton Township is bringing sophisticated ambiance, friendly service, and FANTASTIC food. I’ve eaten its wares four times already (twice via carryout; twice in restaurant) – which, for someone who’s consumed with trying new places, is a LOT. But Naked Burger is most definitely revisit-worthy!

The first time I had Naked Burger was in late March, when a friend and I ordered carryout. I didn’t get to experience the restaurant’s interior – but I did experience its Hangover burger, which was awesome with its juicy beef patty layered with candied bacon, caramelized onions, aged white cheddar, avocado, garlic aioli, and tomato jam (I skipped the sunny-side-up egg that typically comes with it). And I had one of its Espresso Martinis, a delicious mixture of vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso that came in the equivalent of an adult juice box to-go container (complete with straw).

A couple of weeks later, that same friend I had Naked Burger with initially called and asked if I wanted to go out for an impromptu drink. I said yes (a rare moment of spontaneity for me on a week night) and suggested the restaurant.

It was thrilling to go out at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night! These days, I usually have one foot in bed by 8 p.m. And given that I was only two weeks into being back at indoor dining (after being fully vaccinated), dining at Naked Burger felt especially special.

The restaurant’s dining room is sleek and modern, featuring dark wood, contemporary artwork (which incorporates burgers, naturally!) and a bar gleaming with rows of backlit bottles. Gas-lit flames lick out from an island in the middle of the restaurant. These elements meld to form an aesthetic that is both sophisticated and inviting.

During this visit to Naked Burger, I enjoyed two of its craft cocktails: the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, a subtly spicy blend of tequila, mezcal, agave, and chili-lime, and the Vieux Carré, a delicious (and strong!) melding of sweet vermouth, rye whiskey, Bénédictine, cognac, and cocoa. While Naked Burger’s cocktails are on the pricey side, they make up for it in potency. These are NOT watered-down drinks!

The pièce de résistance of this visit to Naked Burger was the sandwich I ordered as my entree: the Chick Mac-Net.

THIS SANDWICH! It is hands-down one of the most phenomenal things I’ve ever eaten. I’ve had it three times now, and each time, my mind and taste buds are BLOWN by how good it is!

The Chick Mac-Net consists of a fluffy, sesame-seed-studded bun layered with lemon-parsley aioli, coleslaw, a thick cut of crispy-breaded buttermilk fried chicken, and Naked Burger’s Five Cheese Mac mac-n-cheese. This melding of crunchy-breaded, juicy chicken, creamy, spiral-noodled mac-n-cheese, zesty lemon-parsley aioli, and crunchy coleslaw is PERFECTION. I’m so into it, it has made me a Naked Burger evangelist. After this visit to Naked Burger, I became a broken record of praise for it, repeatedly extolling its virtues to family and friends.

One thing I love about Naked Burger’s menu is the variety of burgers offered. If the Chick Mac-Net sandwich doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s also a lamb burger; a vegan portabella mushroom burger; and grilled chicken and breaded cod sandwiches. And of course, there are beef burgers – in varieties as varied as the Diablo with its spicy-hot accoutrements (jalapeño, habanero aioli, and ghost-pepper jack cheese) and the Kimchi with its namesake topping.

It comes as no surprise that a restaurant with such elaborately-dressed burgers also has fancified fries. Naked Burger offers several varieties of dressed-up fries, including its Naked Poutine, Truffle Parmesan, and Feta Oregano varieties. I’m in love with the Chipotle Ketchup that comes with the Naked Fries and the Sweet Potato Fries!

The restaurant’s menu is rounded out by appetizers (including a serving of Five Cheese Mac you can dress up with truffle and/or candied bacon), soup and salad offerings, and enticing desserts. I’m intrigued by the Espresso Truffle Cheesecake, which sounds deliciously decadent with its espresso reduction, caramel, and black truffle honey. I certainly don’t need an excuse to return to Naked Burger – but if I did, that cheesecake would be it!

43203 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.nakedburgerdetroit.com

495. SpagBurger – January 18, 2021 – Eastpointe, MI

What a treat it was to visit SpagBurger! The Eastpointe-based purveyor of burgers, fries, shakes, sandwiches, and other diner fare is a master of its craft. I ordered its Vintage burger and sweet potato tots during a visit back in January, and WOW, were they good.

With its juicy patty, melted Swiss, lettuce, pickles, sautéed onions, bacon add-on, and house-made hot sauce and burger sauce, the Vintage was an explosion of flavor. I GOBBLED it down. And those sweet potato tots! They were delicious in their own right, addictively crispy-crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Ambiance can certainly make a meal, but the best meals taste fantastic regardless of where you eat them. The pandemic offered proof of that to me when it kept me from dining inside restaurants for a year. Do I wish I could’ve enjoyed my SpagBurger lunch inside its cute retro-diner dining room, instead of in my car? Absolutely! But I’m grateful for the experience regardless, because SpagBurger makes a DAMN good burger, and it doesn’t need ambiance to enhance it!

17275 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Eastpointe, MI 48021

www.spagburger.com

490. Abby Lane – December 18, 2020 – Fraser, MI

This post is lonnnnnggg overdue but totally worth the wait, as it features the exceptional purveyor of burgers, Abby Lane!

Needless to say, I took an extensive hiatus from 100 Places in the D. It’s not my proudest moment when procrastination gets the better of me and snowballs into a six-month break! The upside is that there are plenty of new-place visits to feature, visits to AMAZING locally-owned establishments in the tri-county Metro-Detroit area – such as this one.

Abby Lane is a jem of a restaurant nestled in an unassuming strip mall near Fraser High School. The carryout joint offers plenty of meal options, including fish and chips, ribs, omelets, sandwiches, and salads. But it’s known for its gourmet burgers, which are EVERYTHING.

Seriously, these burgers are SOOOOO good. I had an inkling they would be before I even tried them: when I called to place my order, I was told there’d be an extensive wait (over an hour, if memory serves me right). I was all in and ordered the Abby Burger with a side of sweet potato fries.

The meal was most certainly worth the wait! The half-pound burger nestled in a toasted bun and topped with tomato, lettuce, avocado, Abby sauce, bacon, and bean sprouts (a substitution for the usual ingredient of alfalfa sprouts) was deliciously juicy and flavorful. The sweet potato fries were a tasty, can’t-stop-eating-these accompaniment. Both were the perfect complement to my Friday Night Dinner Date: Pandemic Edition (a video chat with a bestie – a.k.a. me juggling a cocktail and my phone camera whilst sitting in front of a Christmas tree).

Wow, does this night feel like a lifetime ago! I’m not jealous of my six-months-ago self braving a COVID spike in a pre-vaccine world – except for the gorging-on-Abby-Lane part. That part I am VERY jealous of. Thankfully, it’s a scenario I can easily recreate!

16890 15 Mile Rd.

Fraser, MI 48026

(Closed Sundays)

www.abbylaneinfraser.com

480. Zo’s Good Burger – September 5, 2020 – Detroit, MI

Labor Day is a time for burgers – though is there NEVER a time for burgers? Certainly it’s always burger time at Zo’s Good Burger – and hooray for that!

This burger joint near Wayne State University is serving up decadent iterations of its namesake food. These are not your father’s burgers – unless your father’s burgers are made of such luxe ingredients as pretzel buns, caramelized onions, and jalapeño poppers.

Zo’s offers both signature burgers (its House Burgers) and a build-your-own-burger option. It also has sandwich wraps in varieties such as Veggie and Chicken Bacon Ranch, plus chicken strips and nuggets and side portions of the decadent deep-fried goodies also featured as burger ingredients (cheese sticks and onion rings being prime examples).

There’s a build-your-own-fries option where you can soup up your spuds with add-ons such as crispy chicken, cheese sauce, and coleslaw. And what burger joint would be complete without shakes? Zo’s offers vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and Oreo varieties. The restaurant is also halal – meaning its quite-tasty bacon is turkey, not pork.

While House Burgers such as the Southwest (topped with pepper jack cheese, grilled jalapeños, and hot sauce – all spicy goodies I adore) and BBQ (complete with Swiss cheese, onion rings, bacon, and barbecue sauce) enticed me, I went the build-your-own route. That allowed me to construct the monster of a burger shown in the above photo, a quarter-pound beef patty nestled within a brioche bun and topped with bacon, tomato, pickles, raw onion, Good Burger Sauce (similar to the Big Mac’s special sauce – but better!), mustard, and my personal-fave component: mac ‘n’ cheese bites (!). I also ordered a side of the Cajun fries.

Digging into my carryout order from Zo’s was an absolute delight. How did hamburgers even exist before the mac-‘n’-cheese-bites add-on? The crispy-battered, creamy, and cheesy nuggets deliciously enhanced the juicy burger. They melded with the mustard, the Good Burger sauce, the pickles, and all the other ingredients I’d chosen to make one SPECTACULAR burger.

I gorged on that Zo’s burger and those spiced Cajun fries until they were gone, my stomach satisfied, my Labor Day weekend a happy one.

2894 W. Grand Blvd.

Detroit, MI 48202

(With additional locations in Canton, Dearborn, and Garden City)

www.zosgoodburger.com

441. Old Detroit Burger Bar – October 25, 2019 – Troy, MI

October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar1 (3)October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar2 (3)I love a big, juicy burger any day of the week, but especially on Fridays. Because burgers scream “TGIF!” to me!

Old Detroit Burger Bar is serving up the big, juicy burger goodness any day of the week, not solely Fridays. But my recent visit to the local restaurant chain’s Troy location did fall on a Friday – and I was vibing hard on its TGIF-infused aura.

The restaurant’s interior is sleek sports bar with a comfy feel: lots of browns and grays and glossy wood, accented with neon-blue fluorescent lighting. A bar with wraparound seating dominates one section; flat-screen TVs abound and are tuned in to the sport matches du jour.

Old Detroit Burger Bar’s food menu showcases much more than its namesake item: it’s got appetizers, entrée salads, sandwiches, and dishes such as Homemade Lasagna Dinner and The Lake St. Clair (fish and chips, naturally). It even serves its rendition of a Coney dog and a loose Coney burger. But my eyes were zeroed in on its burger section because: see Paragraph 1.

Names of Old Detroit Burger Bar hamburgers have a local slant to them. There’s The Ambassador, The Michigan Ave., the I-75. That last burger, by the way, is a two-pounder loaded with grilled onions, jalapeños, and American, Swiss, AND cheddar cheeses, served with Thousand Island dressing. According to Old Detroit Burger Bar’s website, if you finish one of those behemoths, you can get your picture added to a wall of fame devoted to I-75 slayers.

And there’s the burger I decided to order, The Vernor. The half-pound hamburger is bringing Southwest Detroit-inspired flair with its jalapeños, green peppers, guacamole, American and cheddar cheeses, and sour cream served on the side. I opted for tater tots to accompany mine.

My table’s food came out quickly, and I used the steak knife stabbed into my Vernor burger to cut its hefty form in half. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: juicy, beefy, cheesy, spicy, guac-laden deliciousness! The tater tots were tantalizingly crispy, greasy nuggets of spud.

My Vernor burger was so big that I was easily able to save a chunk of it to take home – though it was so tasty that I did ponder devouring the whole thing then and there (maybe if there was a wall of fame involved, I would have!).

3946 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With additional locations in Lapeer, Lake Orion, and Clawson)

www.olddetroitburgerbar.com

435. Unburger Grill – September 24, 2019 – Dearborn, MI

September2019Unburger1 (2)September2019Unburger3 (2)September2019Unburger2 (2)Unburger Grill, you phenomenal purveyor of vegan goodness, you had my palate exclaiming “WOW!” over and over during my recent visit to you!

I’m not vegan – or vegetarian – but I enjoy eating plant-based cuisine. Impressive vegan and vegetarian establishments reside in the Metro-D, making the meatless fare taste as good as – or better than – the animal-based originals.

Unburger Grill in Dearborn is one of those impressive vegan establishments. The fast-casual restaurant serves burgers with house-made patties made from plants; Black Bean Portobello, Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Quinoa, and Ultimate (described on Unburger’s website menu as “using a blend of the best vegan meat alternatives available”) are the varieties offered.

Diners choose what patty and bun they’d like for the style of burger they select at Unburger: Basic, Mushroom Swiss, Southwestern, Mac Style, or Sweet BBQ. The restaurant also serves vegan sandwiches, sausages, salads, soups, nachos, air-fried French fries, and other veggie-based sides.

A fact I didn’t know before the writing of this post: Dearborn has two downtown areas, West Downtown Dearborn and East Downtown Dearborn. Unburger is located in West Downtown Dearborn.

I’d never seen any downtown area of Dearborn and was excited to discover for myself the area where Unburger is located. It’s super cute! My friend who accompanied me to Unburger and I got enthused about exploring it more in the future.

Behind Unburger and some adjacent businesses is a courtyard with tables where patrons can sit and enjoy their meals. After walking into Unburger and ordering our burgers at the counter, we sat at one of the tables outside and waited for our burgers to be brought to us. They arrived quickly.

I ordered the Mac Style burger with a Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty and whole-grain bun, plus a side of the air-fried French fries. It was A-MAZING. The Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty was SO full of flavor; it was wonderful. It was definitely the best vegan patty I’ve ever had, hands-down!

Honestly, I found myself liking that Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty better than a traditional beef patty – and that’s high praise from me, as I LOVE red meat. Unburger, look at you, making me a plant-based burger convert!

It wasn’t only the Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty on my Mac Style burger that was deliciously flavorful – the entire burger was, too. The Mac Style burger was – you guessed it – a vegan riff on McDonald’s Big Mac. It was delicious with its lettuce, onion, pickles, vegan cheese, and Thousand Island dressing – and hefty, to boot. Between eating that Big Mac and the crispy French fries, I was stuffed upon leaving Unburger!

Another thing I liked about Unburger was that the staff was really nice. How employees treat me at a place definitely makes a difference in how I recall it; excellent meals can be marred by snotty staff, and I appreciate how lovely the staff at Unburger was the night of my visit. Thanks, Unburger, for being so welcoming – and for cooking up fare that is both healthful and INCREDIBLY TASTY!

22018 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48124

www.unburgergrill.com

422. Lovers Only – August 10, 2019 – Detroit, MI

August2019LoversOnly1 (3)August2019LoversOnly2 (2)Lovers Only hooked me with its name.

For months, I’d been intrigued by the hamburger joint in downtown Detroit every time I’d walked by it: what kind of burgers were these, that they were meant to be enjoyed solely by paramours?

Of course, I knew Lovers Only isn’t really for lovers only, but I found the name so whimsical that I had to eat there. I finally did on a Saturday afternoon in August, with friends before our fifth-annual Tigers game outing – during which our previously 4-for-4 winning streak was ceased by a 7-0 thrashing of the Tigers by the Royals. ~Sigh.~

At least our lunch before that game was fantastic! Lovers Only brought the beefy burger goodness on that visit, which I experienced via its Burlington Burger. The meaty, juicy beef patty slathered with a rich cheddar-cheese sauce and topped with sautéed onions, pickle relish, lettuce, and a Dijon mayonnaise was INCREDIBLE!

At Lovers Only, you order at the counter as you would a fast-casual restaurant, and your food is delivered to your table. But the restaurant’s interior is more hip than that of the typical burger joint, with mod-retro vibes cast by its checkerboard-tile floors, globe lighting, and old-timey black-and-white menu board hanging above its order counter.

Lovers Only also sets itself apart by serving alcohol. Cocktails, craft beer, and boozy milkshakes are available (as are non-spiked shakes).

In addition to serving four types of burgers and booze, Lovers Only offers entrée salads, including a take on a local classic (The Maurice) and a kale salad packed with seed-and-grain-and-legume goodness (the Power Salad). Its menu also includes a couple of sandwiches, a hot dog dubbed the Recession Dog – and of course, French fries and onion rings.

So the mystery has been solved for me: the kind of burgers served by Loves Only are DELICIOUS burgers, burgers that aren’t meant to be enjoyed simply by paramours but also by friends, cousins, coworkers, solo folk . . . in short, everybody!

34 W. Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.loversonlydetroit.com

372. Royale with Cheese – October 18, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018RoyalewithCheese1 (2)October2018RoyalewithCheese3 (2)October2018RoyalewithCheese2 (2)Last month, in between visiting Sfumato, a perfumery by day, and Castalia, its cocktail bar alter-ego, a friend and I hit up Royale with Cheese, a Midtown/Cass Corridor-based burger joint.

OMG, had I been eager to try this place! Photos of its beefy burgers exuberantly laden with sides had enticed me from its Yelp profile for months, so it was exciting to finally be immersed within the Royale with Cheese experience.

I got in line at the counter of the fast-casual restaurant and scoped out the overhead menu. I decided on the namesake burger, the Royale, with its pulled smoked brisket topped with cole slaw, avocado, caramelized onions, corn relish, a gouda fondue, and Royale sauce (how’s that for decadence?). I added a side of tater tots – because tots make my heart happy – and my friend and I paid for our food and found a seat in Royale’s dining area to await our orders’ arrival.

Admittedly, I thought the Royale was going to be a burger, with a traditional beef patty and pulled brisket loaded on top of that, so when ordering I’d asked if a cooking temperature was taken for the burger and gave my preferred doneness of medium. But while awaiting my order, I was approached by a kitchen staff member and asked whether I knew the Royale didn’t contain a beef patty – it was pure brisket – and whether I wanted to change my order upon knowing that information.

Whoops – apparently I’d been amiss in my interpretation of the menu. I was a little disappointed to realize I hadn’t ordered an actual burger but decided to stick with the namesake sandwich in the name of exploration – and also in gratitude to the staff member who’d come out to clarify things for me (why make his job harder by changing my order on the fly?).

The food came out promptly thereafter, and I wasn’t disappointed in my decision. Generously coated in rich barbecue sauce, the pulled brisket on the Royale was a tender, flavorful base for the other indulgent ingredients, specifically the creamy avocado and the gouda fondue. Mmm, mmm, mmm, MMM! The tater tots were irresistibly crispy, as well.

After relishing our meals and feeling satisfyingly full, my friend and I agreed that we needed to return to try Royale’s milkshakes. I am thinking the shakes with their house-made custard-ice-cream bases would be meals in themselves – and what sumptuous meals they would make with such flavor options as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Butter and Nutella, and Chocolate Espresso!

In addition to burgers, sandwiches, and shakes, Royale with Cheese offers salads, soup, and Bites, appetizer-esque snacks that threaten to rival the desserts and main courses in their richness: see the Fried Mac & Cheese and the Nacho Cheese Ravioli, the latter of which is described on Royale’s online menu as “handmade deep-fried Doritos Ravioli filled with Jalapeño Nacho Cheese, ‘New World’ Roasted Tomato Sauce.” Dang! Royale with Cheese is NOT messing around in the decadence department!

4163 Cass Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.royaledetroit.com

369. Basement Burger Bar – October 7, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018BasementBurgerBar1 (2)October2018BasementBurgerBar4 (2)What do mac ‘n’ cheese bites, dried cranberries, peanut butter, and grilled pineapple have in common? They’re all burger toppings available at Basement Burger Bar in Detroit.

Recent celebrations of my birthday included a Sunday lunch with friends at the downtown-based location of the local restaurant chain. I’d wanted to dine at a place known for its great food and casual, pub-like atmosphere; Basement Burger Bar checked those boxes.

The interior of the Detroit location of Basement Burger Bar is certainly glossier than your typical basement. I’d call it industrial-chic-meets-laid-back-sports-bar. There are plenty of flat-screen TVs situated about so you can focus on the day’s sport offerings; the Lions played (and won!) while we were there, and the raucous cheering of football fans adjacent to us enhanced my enjoyment of the meal (their energy was infectious!).

The drink menu included plenty of Michigan-made craft beer offerings (including the Founders Rubaeus raspberry ale I enjoyed) as well as signature cocktails and a selection of wine. My main focus, however, was the food menu, which included loads of appetizers, entrée salads, and a few featured burgers. But the pièce de résistance dominating that menu was the build-your-own-burger section.

This custom-burger menu is the most extensive I have seen to date! Seven steps are involved in the crafting of your dream hamburger:

-Step 1: pick a patty. Basement Burger Bar is getting creative here, with more than just your standard ground-beef patty as an option. You can also choose from bison, American Kobe beef, poultry (turkey burger, grilled chicken breast, and breaded chicken tenders), pulled pork, and vegetarian options (falafel, black-bean patty, and portabella mushroom cap, respectively).

-Step 2: denote a burger cooking temperature, from rare to well.

-Step 3: select your bun. Brioche, nine-grain, pretzel, and gluten-free varieties are available (the latter two going for an extra charge), and you can choose to go no-bun (the menu says you’ll receive “extra veggies” with your burger if you do so).

-Step 4: opt for a sauce. One is free; each additional sauce costs 25 cents each. Most of the sauces (or “spreads,” as they’re referred to on the menu) are noted as homemade, including the hummus, basil pesto, and buttermilk ranch.

-Step 5: gather your toppings. The first five are free; each additional topping thereafter is 25 cents. Most of the toppings listed here are pretty standard – tomato, pickles, red onion, relish, for instance – but some, such as the carrot strings and aforementioned cranberries, caught my eye. A sub-category of this section is the premium toppings, which are each an additional designated charge. These are the truly delectable toppings: your homemade guacamole, hickory-smoked bacon, grilled pepperoni, Detroit-style chili, mozzarella sticks, Frickles (which I can only assume are fried pickles) . . ..

-Step 6: choose your cheese. No vegan cheese here; this is all straight-up dairy, from Gouda to feta, nacho cheese to Swiss.

-Step 7: designate your sides. Sides are an additional cost, but how can you resist the siren song of beer-battered fries, onion rings, and my personal favorite, tater tots? Side-salad and coleslaw are included in this section in case you are feeling virtuous – as are toppers of nacho cheese, chili, and what’s designated as “The Works” (sour cream, bacon, and onion) in case you are not (chili-cheese tots would be LIFE, wouldn’t they?).

With all of the decision-making involved in this burger design, it would’ve been easy to get overwhelmed as I filled out my menu card. But I decided to keep it relatively simple, not going overboard with the toppings. The result did not disappoint me.

Imagine a hefty ground-beef burger cooked to a juicy medium perfection and nestled within a pillowy brioche bun along with thick-cut red onion, juicy tomato, crunchy pickles, creamy guacamole, spicy ketchup, and jalapeño jack cheese, accompanied by irresistibly crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside tater tots. YUM, YUM, and more YUM: this burger was INCREDIBLE!

So while I didn’t opt for the zany factor while designing my burger at Basement Burger Bar – no peanut butter, carrot strings, or Frickles for me – I found its rendition of a pretty-much-classic cheeseburger (jazzed up with that spicy ketchup and guacamole) ideal as it was, and I enjoyed the heck out of it – as I did the relaxed ambiance and prompt service. This one is a keeper!

1326 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48226

(With additional locations in Canton and Farmington)

www.basementburgerbar.com