Originally reviewed May 9, 2012. Updated November 8, 2012. Last week I had the opportunity to eat lunch at The Pharmacy not once, but twice. That alone is enough to make it a pretty great week. If you can’t tell already, I’m a fan of The Pharmacy, a relatively new establishment in East Nashville just behind The Holland House. The Pharmacy is a somewhat small restaurant, with limited indoor seating, but also featuring a similarly sized patio, and a much larger beer garden complete with tables, shade trees, and grass. I sat inside on one lunch and in the beer garden on the next. I’ve been hearing about The Pharmacy’s burgers since late winter, and I was excited to finally give it a try. In particular I had heard many great things about the Stroganoff Burger. The name and description of the Stroganoff Burger prevented me from ordering it on my first visit, but I gave it a try on my second- more on that later.
In addition to exciting hand crafted burgers, The Pharmacy also features a wide selection of quality beers, both on tap and in bottles, and homemade sodas called phosphates. They have an old fashioned soda rail and make their own orange, ginger, lemon, mint, and other sodas with all natural ingredients- no HFCS here. Even their Coke is imported from Mexico in glass bottles to avoid the corn syrup. The ginger Phosphate was crisp and refreshing with a strong ginger flavor, really nothing like supermarket ginger ale. The Kentucky Mint Phosphate was also delicious, something like a mint julep without the bourbon, or even a mojito without the rum. The ice cream sodas (which I tried), milkshakes and malts also looked and tasted delicious.
The Pharmacy’s beer selection is impressive, featuring many local and regional brews on draft, and even more craft, micro, and imported options in bottles. The Craggie Dubbelicious from Asheville is an especially good choice.
So, what about the burgers!?
On my first visit two of my accomplices ordered The Farm Burger which in addition to a beef patty features local ham, local bacon, and a fried local egg. Protein anyone? They both said it was delicious. I was tempted to order this tower of meat but didn’t want to go 3 for 4 at the table, I can’t stand ordering the same thing as my dining companions. I’d heard such great things about the Stroganoff, but just wasn’t ready to take the plunge on my maiden visit. Instead I went with the Mission City Burger. This burger featured guacamole, pico de gallo, and black beans atop a beef patty. It was unique, and unlike any burger I’d ever had before. It was definitely good, and satisfying, but not my most favorite burger- I think I like (only slightly) more “traditional” toppings. Even with the exotic toppings, it was clear that the beef, and especially the bun (made especially for The Pharmacy by local bakery Provence) were high quality and delicious. I probably wouldn’t order the Mission City again, but would recommend it for someone who loves guac or is looking for something different and unique. On my second visit I mustered up the courage to order The Sroganoff, and I was NOT disappointed. The Stroganoff lived up to its hype and then some, it was simply fantastic. Get the image and taste of Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff out of your head right now, this burger is NOTHING like that. The Stroganoff was fantastic and really added a creamy grilled onion flavor to a delicious burger. It is incredibly hard to adequately describe this sandwich, but if you are an adventurous eater or like grilled onion or creamy sauces at all, take a chance and order The Stroganoff, I doubt you will be disappointed with this delicious burger.
Each burger comes with your choice of side: traditional fries, sweet potato fries, German potato salad, or tater tots. On both visits I ordered the sweet potato fries as my side. The fries were good, but not great. Both times I felt like they had not been cooked to order and had been kept warm just a little too long- they weren’t bad, but I’ve definitely had better sweet potato fries. I wish I had given another side a chance. The serving size also seemed a little small for a side, but its tough to complain about that when they come with your gourmet burger for between $7-8. The Pharmacy also allows you to build your own burger with a wide array of toppings, including beer gravy (just as good as it sounds), and offers a selection of house made sausages and grilled chicken sandwiches if you’re not in a burger mood.
Overall, I really enjoyed both of my visits to The Pharmacy. The food and drinks were fantastic, and the beer garden is a great place to spend a spring or fall afternoon (although it may be too hot on a real Tennessee summer day). The Pharmacy adds to an impressive and growing list of eateries and watering holes in East Nashville, and is worth a visit (or two) for all Nashville foodies, burger, or beer lovers.
Since writing this review I’ve been back to The Pharmacy several times, and I am revising my review from 4 stars to 5 stars- it has become one of my favorite places to eat. I have not once left disappointed (or less than stuffed). The service has improved with time, the food is excellent every time, and even the fry portions have even grown (although their sweet potato fries are still good not great). I’ve tried the Farm Burger, and it is delicious. The sausages are also very good. I’ve had milkshakes, malts, and several phosphates, and I will say that while the egg cream soda was not my personal favorite, the vanilla malt and chocolate soda were both fantastic. And finally, as if you needed an extra push, they now offer Happy Hour (at the bar only) M-F with $1 off small beers, $2 off 20oz beers, and $3 off liter beers, AND for $6 you can get a brat on a bun and a 20oz beer, a deal that you really can’t beat. Bottom line: if you haven’t been to The Pharmacy yet, you’re missing out.