The battle of the burgers came to Atlanta April 23-29 in the form of Atlanta Burger Week, sponsored by the Georgia Beef Board, Creative Loafing and Red Brick Brewing Company. More than 50 locations around the Atlanta metro area participated by offering $5 burger specials all week long. While it would have been nearly impossible to try every burger at every location (the math breaks it down to an average of almost seven burgers a day), The Connector had a chance to try out some local favorites and share the experience.
Despite the fact that Tavernpointe is located just across the street from SCAD Atlanta’s main building, it seems that most students haven’t even heard of the restaurant, let alone visited it. This is a shame because while Tavernpointe certainly caters more to business-types seeking out happy hour drinks and appetizers, their menu offers plenty of tasty and affordable options for SCAD students as well. For Atlanta Burger Week, Tavernpointe offered an off-menu, special burger just for the week and while the presentation was underwhelming, the burger turned out to be just as tasty as any of Tavernpointe’s other offerings. Featuring a juicy patty topped with shredded lettuce and pickles, this burger stood out because of it’s spicy aioli which gave it just enough kick to amplify all the other flavors. Paired with the garlic parmesan Tavern Fries, Tavernpointe’s contribution to Atlanta Burger Week was a near-perfect offering.
Overall score: A-
Grub Burger Bar
Grub Burger Bar, which offers locations in Vinings and Druid Hills, regularly offers 13 variations on the traditional burger. Their creative combinations include burgers like the Scorpion, which features jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and Trindadad Moruga scorpion sauce, the Voo Doo Mushroom, which includes Absinthe sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and Tabasco mayo, and the Thai Peanut, which features peanut butter, coconut flakes and Sambal mayo. For Atlanta Burger Week, Grub Burger Bar chose to offer their most popular plate, the Bacon Love No. 9. This burger packed a punch of flavor with Applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato and the restaurant’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, the burger was too salty to really be able to enjoy any of the other, more subtle flavors. Altogether, the bacon and the secret sauce gave this burger just enough of a twist on a traditional burger without getting too experimental, so for students who may find the restaurant’s other burger options intimidating, the Bacon Love is a solid choice.
Overall score: B
Located at the southeastern end of Piedmont Park, Park Tavern has the perfect patio where guests can enjoy a light springtime breeze and a view of the park along with their food. For Atlanta Burger Week, Park Tavern offered a trio of simple sliders topped with all the basics: tomato, lettuce and pickles. What makes these little burgers good is the beef patty which had a natural, unique and earthy flavor. Unfortunately, Park Tavern’s sliders had nothing else going for them to set them apart from any other regular, run of the mill burger. While they certainly weren’t bad, and they may be enough to fulfill a burger craving, better burgers can be found almost anywhere else.
Overall score: C
Big Al’s Gourmet Butter Burgers
Big Al’s, located conveniently just up Peachtree Street, specializes in Wisconsin-style butter burgers and boasts one-of-a-kind flavor. As the winner of the 2016 Atlanta Burger Week, it’s no surprise that Big Al’s brought back their popular, limited-edition Barnyard Brawler that took home the winning title last year. “One-of-a-kind flavor” barely even begins to describe this jam-packed burger, which features a beef patty, chicken sausage, hickory-smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, special sauce and a slice of pineapple. All the different flavors complement each other perfectly and altogether create an explosion of flavor that can’t be forgotten. The only way the Barnyard Brawler could get an better is if it was offered year-round. Until next year’s Atlanta Burger Week, students can enjoy Big Al’s other numerous and delicious offerings.
Overall score: A+
While Sublime Doughnuts’ burgers are not traditional in the slightest, how else to end Atlanta Burger Week than with dessert? Sublime Doughnuts, located by the Georgia Tech campus, not only offers a tasty variety of gourmet doughnuts but had the genius idea to sandwich ice cream in between them and call it a burger. During Atlanta Burger Week, Sublime Doughnuts’ offered fully-customizable combinations, with choices in ice cream flavors like creme brûlée, butter pecan caramel and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and toppings like Nutella, Oreo, toffee, Butterfinger and more. The doughnuts themselves are fresh and fluffy and combined with ice cream, Sublime Doughnuts has created a dessert-worthy burger. The only downsides are the guaranteed mess and the risk of brain-freeze, which are mostly worth it for this tasty treat.
Overall score: B+