Burgers

287. Burgrz – October 19, 2017 – Rochester Hills, MI

Oct2017Burgerz1 (2)Oct2017Burgerz4 (2)Oct2017Burgerz2 (4)I had totally dismissed Burgrz. I’d seen it around, in downtown Royal Oak and in Rochester Hills, and I was like, OK, this totally has to be a corporate nationwide chain. I mean, Burgrz with a “z”? I totally judged that “z,” man.

Then one of my coworkers recommended we go to lunch there because it was one of his fave area restaurants. Its burgers and waffle fries were awesome, in his opinion. And I was like, OK, I’m down. I went on the Burgrz website and learned that it is indeed a locally-owned establishment, with the now sole location in Rochester Hills (the Royal Oak one has closed); knowing that certainly piqued my interest. New-place time!

I stepped inside the fast-casual restaurant to discover a clean, modern vibe, with brick, wood, and chrome décor accents, red booths, and black-and-white cityscape photography displayed on the walls.

Scoping out the colorful chalkboard menus above the counter, I decided on the California burger with its bacon, tomato, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, avocado, and lettuce. I nixed the lettuce and subbed spicy mayo for the regular mayo, and my coworker and I ordered to share a large side of the Sweet & Salty Combo, a platter of both regular and sweet potato waffle fries.

Our food was delivered to our booth quickly. The California burger was WOW. It was juicy and flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth delicious on its own, and with that creamy avocado, spicy mayonnaise, meaty tomato, and rich cheddar cheese and bacon, it was next-level. Truly, truly, truly an awesome burger.

The Sweet & Salty waffle fries were great, too: perfectly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and accompanied by a spicy ketchup, which has to be up there in the list of best inventions ever. I mean, how did I ever eat fries without spicy ketchup? It added a nice zing to the fries, especially the sweet potato fries.

So yes, Burgrz may be a casual establishment that looks like a generic chain with that “z” in its name, but the verdict is in: it cooks up a DAMN GOOD burger – the kind of burger you think about for days afterword (that’s always the mark of a good meal to me: will I dream about it for days after eating it?). And it’s clean, and the staff is attentive, and the ambiance is nice, and those waffle fries with the spicy ketchup! It’s a local gem that should not be dismissed.

3204 Walton Blvd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48309

www.burgrz.com

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201. Ale Mary’s Beer Hall – October 14, 2016 – Royal Oak, MI

20161014_23081520161014_232613Happy Saturday, everybody! After several days of rain and gloom, it’s blue skies and sunshine this morning here in the D, and I can’t wait to get out into the world!!! I spent all day yesterday in my house during a much-needed work-from-home day, but now I’m ready to break out.

Maybe you’re ready to break out, too. If you’re local, why not take a visit to Ale Mary’s Beer Hall in downtown Royal Oak for its excellent pub grub and expansive selection of craft brews?

Last Friday night, I met a friend I haven’t seen in a while in Royal Oak for a tea date at Goldfish Tea. Translation: we both wanted a cheap night.

(Goldfish Tea is lovely, by the way. It’s not cheap for tea – they do tea right! – but it’s cheap in the general scheme of life.)

And then my friend was like, “I could really go for a hamburger!” That was all she had to say to sell me. My financial resolve went right out the window at the mention of a greasy meat sandwich. We decided on Ale Mary’s because neither of us had been there (a woman after my own heart! – and one of the many reasons we are friends).

The long, narrow interior of the bar, done up in the popular industrial-chic style of the area, was noisy and crowded. We were able to convince two girls at the bar to scoot down a seat so we could grab two stools. After much deliberation (everything on the menu sounds AMAZING, especially at 11 p.m. on a Friday night) and feedback from our bartender server, I ordered the Cuban, a beast of a sandwich loaded with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, cracked mustard aioli (sooo good!), and McClure’s pickles and accompanied by crispy beer-battered French fries. My friend ordered the Beer Cheese Burger, which I tried; it was excellent.

I saved half of that Cuban sandwich and had it Sunday afternoon for lunch, after toasting it in the oven, and it was phenomenal – possibly better than it initially was. So so so so good.

Neither of us drank (I know, sacrilege!), but I was tempted to, because Ale Mary’s offers a fine assortment of craft beers, including some local brews.

316 S. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.alemarysbeer.com

 

178. Joe Suds – June 19, 2016 – Warren, MI

Joe Suds is a dive bar. It’s nothing too special to look at on the inside. But the burgers! I had one of the best bacon cheeseburgers there, perched at the bar, celebrating Father’s Day with my dad and also with one of my aunts who was in town from Denver. It wasn’t exactly the place I expected to spend Father’s Day (actually it wasn’t too far off; I expected to be eating Sunday dollar burgers at my dad’s favorite bar, Freddy’s), but the location worked for everyone involved, and hey, it was a new place to visit. I enjoyed it!

And what a cheap date! It was about $37 for three burgers, a side of onion rings, a side of fries, and four drinks. Plus, the service was good; there was one bartender hustling around, serving a rail full of people and possibly even cooking our burgers in the back, we think. And if (unlike me) you’re motivated enough to engage in recreation when you drink, Joe Suds has a bunch of classic basement games scattered around, such as pool and foosball.

13791 E. 13 Mile Rd.

Warren, MI 48088

161. Mercury Burger and Bar – January 24, 2016 – Detroit, MI

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Glorious Southwest Detroit burger with chorizo, avocado, jalapenos, pickled carrots . . . out-of-control good! 

I’m OBSESSED!!! Ok, I say that about a lot of places I visit lately, but I truly am experiencing feelings of obsession around Corktown’s Mercury Burger and Bar and the AMAZING Southwest Detroit burger I had there about a month ago. Seriously, it was glorious. It was PERFECT. It had to be one of the very best burgers I’ve ever had.

That weekend was the weekend of burgers for me, apparently. I’d visited another peddler of excellent burgers, Luxe Bar and Grill, just two days prior. The trip to Mercury was part of a Detroit Day – one of my very favorite days in the world! – on which a good friend and I spend an afternoon jaunting about Detroit, exploring establishments we’ve never been.

Not only was the burger I had amazing, but so were the poutine tater tots (poutine tots!!!). Another plus: the interior of the diner is so bright and cheerily Detroit-centric, with a friendly, welcoming bar staff if you decide to perch along its rail and enjoy a local craft ale with your meal as we did. All in all, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with this place.

2163 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216

www.mercuryburgerbar.com

160. Luxe Bar and Grill – January 22, 2016 – Birmingham, MI

20160122_20450520160122_191948Tiny doesn’t begin to describe the Birmingham location of Luxe Bar and Grill. On the Friday night that I was there, waiting 40 minutes for a table in the cramped confines of the dollhouse-sized lobby/bar area took a special kind of endurance (there is NO way I could be a server there. Seriously, they must all be wonderful souls with monk-like patience, because there is no way I could push myself through packed throngs of people waiting everywhere on a regular basis without going insane). Fortunately, the food was amazing and made it well worth the wait in that purgatory of a floor plan. I came for Luxe’s specialty, the burger, and I was not let down. The barbecue bacon one I had was awesome – and massive! I washed it down with a side of chili-cheese fries and a delicious craft cocktail and TGIF!-fueled sentiments hummed happily through my veins.

525 N. Old Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI 48009

(Location in Grosse Pointe Farms, as well)

www.luxebarandgrill.com

147. The Rolling Stoves – October 15, 2015 – Auburn Hills, MI (But Location Varies!)

The Rolling StovesThe company I work for is large enough and awesome enough to put on cool events regularly, such as having a posse of food trucks pull up to headquarters every few weeks during the warm-weather months. The last time of the season that this wonderful event occurred, a rainy, quite miserable day in mid-October, my heart was warmed up by an deliciously fat-and-greased-laced, juicy and melt-in-your mouth AMAZING burger called the Rodeo burger, served by a food truck called, quite appropriately, The Rolling Stoves. I’m telling you, this burger, with its rich barbecue sauce and its crispy yet delightfully oil-saturated onion ring, served with wonderfully savory, thin and crispy fries festooned with fresh minced garlic, was like heaven! (Admittedly, it wouldn’t be heaven for your body if you ate a meal like this every day – it would clog your arteries chock-full of baddie stuff and quite possibly send you prematurely to heaven! And we wouldn’t want that. So savor in moderation. Anywho. . ..) The Rolling Stoves regularly posts its schedule via its Facebook and Twitter accounts and can also be viewed on its Roaming Hunger (a site where you can find and follow food trucks) page. It is likely to be revving down for the season – especially with the first legit snowfall for the area occurring as I type! – but its schedule does show that it has still been out truckin’ periodically, mostly in Detroit or West-Side areas such as Farmington Hills, Livonia, and Novi.

Address Like a Rollin’ Stone – Ain’t Got One

(though seems to frequent Detroit, Downriver, and the southwestern part of Oakland County)

http://roaminghunger.com/the-rolling-stoves/