Big Daddy’s Burger Bar
The Cuisine: Burgers. Period.
Go For: Did we say burgers?
The Classic Southern is a burger topped with chili, relish, and slaw.
For such a simple sandwich, the burger is getting a lot of love these days. In New York City, which never met a comfort food it couldn't bastardize, you can get a burger stuffed with truffles for thirty bucks. Even Thomas Keller, chef and proprietor of the ultrafoodie French Laundry and Per Se, has opened two Burger Bars, in Las Vegas and St. Louis.
Locally, restaurateur Frank Scibelli, who runs the phenomenally successful Cantina 1511 and Mama Ricotta's, has gotten into the act. His new joint, Big Daddy's Burger Bar, opened around the end of the year and has been packed ever since. At lunch, lines spill out the door. Early in the evening, families crowd in, and later, the young professionals take over. It's a simple place inside, with large windows, big televisions, and a few old-style metal advertising signs. The burgers are less simple. But, man, they're good.
Choose from three patty sizes, then layer on the toppings. The menu lists ten cheeses, nineteen toppings (including premiums like a fried egg), and fifteen condiments. For some, it's tempting to go nuts and try crazy combinations—after all, it is your burger. But remember, simple is often best. And the beef here is good enough that you don't have to mask the flavor with layers of sauces. If you're a “whatever the chef recommends” type of diner, the menu lists options, such as the intriguing Sam I Am burger with American cheese, fried egg, ham, and pesto. There's also free-range chicken, black bean veggie patties, make-your-own salads, and Kobe hot dogs. Excellent fries come with equally excellent Big Daddy's sauce—a tasty blend of chipotle mayo and barbecue sauce.
Beer lovers will appreciate the forty-nine selections; root beer lovers will appreciate the one. And for those who like a little beef in the morning, Scibelli says breakfast is coming soon.
Big Daddy's Burger Bar, 1626 East Blvd. (704-714-4888) $, L, D, FSB, P.