Cowbell: Burgers That Rock

Cowbell serves up fancy burgers with a rock-and-roll attitude



The Dumpling burger at Cowbell: an Asian-inspired pork burger with hoisin glaze, slaw, and Sriracha aioli.

LOGAN CYRUS

If MTV were a restaurant, it would look like Cowbell Burger & Bar. The new restaurant/bar opened in mid-March in the former Nix Burger & Brew spot on North Tryon Street. But Cowbell looks nothing like its predecessor.

From the group behind Mortimer’s and Leroy Fox, Cowbell has an energetic vibe, and it’s riddled with pop-culture references. Portraits of rock icons including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, all by local artists, decorate the walls, along with a rotating collection of vinyl, neon lights, song lyrics, and two flat-screen TVs that play an ever-changing selection of music videos. But the dining area doesn’t feel cheesy or theatrical—instead, it’s swanky and sleek, with dark leather seating and reclaimed wood tables. A large wraparound bar with a striking double herringbone pattern offers additional seating at the back of the restaurant, but the best seat in the house is the large booth right in front, nicknamed the “mob booth,” offering great views of the dining room and the street.

The menu from Chef Ethan Moyer is, not surprisingly, a meat-lover’s dream, although there are a few satisfying vegetarian selections. On the appetizers list, hot pretzels ($8)—soft pretzel bites fried and served with a creamy Guinness cheese dipping sauce—are a standout, along with thick onion rings ($8), served with chipotle aioli.

But the burgers are the stars of the show here. The signature burger, “GFY” (it stands for “Good For You” and costs $20), covers the restaurant’s standard beef patty—a blend of chuck and brisket—with decadent toppings that work unexpectedly well: foie gras, arugula, prosciutto, house-made apricot marmalade, and creole mustard. The special touch? It’s served on a black plate with a silver skull, special black silverware, and a black cloth napkin.

Although the lineup of 17 burgers is beef-heavy, there are several alternatives, including turkey, pork, and veggie, along with chicken sandwiches and four hot dogs. The Dumpling ($11), an intriguing and slightly spicy Asian-inspired pork burger, comes on a sesame bun with a hoisin glaze, slaw, and Sriracha aioli. Many of the restaurant’s enormous quarter-pound beef hot dogs come with fresh toppings. The Mexicali dog ($8) is topped with avocado and house-made pico de gallo. The Sweet Potato Corndog ($6) is dipped in sweet potato batter, fried, sprinkled with maple sugar and served with a spicy honey mustard—a mixture of sweet and spicy that almost works but doesn’t quite satisfy.

A large selection of whiskeys and specialty cocktails round out the Cowbell lineup. But it’s the restaurant’s interesting and creative twist on its namesake dish that makes it stand out in burger-obsessed Charlotte.

More »Related Stories

Earl's Grocery in Elizabeth

A new bodega from the owners of Carpe Diem

Tupelo Honey: Old South and New

Tupelo Honey fills a void in South End left by a beloved establishment

Guest Post From Asheville: Beer Like Grandma Used To Make

Asheville's Wicked Weed Brewery has a Milk & Cookies Stout, but wouldn't you rather have milk and cookies instead?

Mountain Cabin Cuisine: Stone Mountain Grill

This restauant offers familiar cuisine in a warm atmosphere

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Nom-nom at Nan's

It's a great time to test out the menu at 5Church's sister restaurant ...

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Hooray, Beer!

The Charlotte City Council opens the door for a new craft brewery wave. When will the beer bubble burst?

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

This Weekend in Charlotte: The Jazz Room, Phish, Seinfeld, & More

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Kids Cook with Heart

Six groups of kids competed Saturday morning in a delicious fajita faceoff

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Salud Beer Shop plans expansion, nanobrewery

Will feature beers from Carolina Brewmasters, other guest brewers

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Art Pope and the Threat to N.C. Higher Ed

A thorough Washington Post profile explores Art Pope and his attempts to bring N.C. universities to heel.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Talking Trellising

This technique works well to maximize space and add interest

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Fire in the City: It's back!

Luca Annunziata of Passion8 Bistro and Clark Barlowe of Heirloom kick off Charlotte's second round of competition dining

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

The Weekday Roundup: Dave Matthews Band, Maria Bamford, and Mary Poppins

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Bob Rucho's Idea of 'Local Control'

The Senate is considering a bill that would keep MeckCo voters from deciding on a sales tax hike. So much for the virtues of local control.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Painting Pointers

A local designer helps us broaden our palette

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Try This!

From Indian delicacies to Mexican cheese-smothered chicken, go out and taste all that Charlotte's restaurants have to offer

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Lenny Boy Brewing Company celebrates flagship beer release

North Carolina's first certified organic brewery will now be open on Fridays

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

How Pat McCrory Undermines His Own Good Ideas On Education

The governor has some decent ideas about school reform--but he keeps lying about nonexistent 'teachers' unions.'

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Which tomato do I want?

Take a taste this Saturday in Matthews

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

The Gray Classic Weekend, Martini and a Makeover, Cirque de Whisky, Daytime Summer Parties, and More - July 17-20

It’s another eventful span of four days in Charlotte, and several of these events are fundraisers, which means you can feel good while you're feeling good.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Getting Greeky

I ditched Food Truck Friday for a taste of Greece - flaming cheese and all.

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

This Weekend in Charlotte: Discovery Place, KISS, and MattyB

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Foul

Pat McCrory bypassed the N.C. Arts Council in naming a state Poet Laureate. We respond with a 'Howl' of protest.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Smashburger Fires Up for Grand Opening

A portion of opening month proceeds benefitting local charity and a free burger giveaway on opening day

Comments