Burger Beat-Down Results (Part II)
After many months of joyous judging and expanding waistlines, the Burger Beat-Down has finally come to its conclusion! Finding the best burger in Nashville was a tough job, and there were lots of worthy competitors, but we here at Eat It, Tennessee were up to the challenge, and we now give you the results of the Nashville Burger Beat-Down. The 15 contestants are listed below in descending order. While there were no “bad” burgers, there were a wide variety of styles and toppings, and some burgers clearly stood above the rest. The rating shown is the average of our three judge panel on a scale of 1-5. Click here for more info on the process and guidelines as well as the full photo gallery. Click HERE for Part I, and check back on Friday for part III where we name the Burger Beat-Down Champion!
9. Fido (avg. rating: 3.13*)
Fido was a dark horse favorite coming into the Beat-Down, but lost points right out of the gate for an inability to customize the Local Burger to accommodate for dietary restrictions. The unique combination of beef and lamb paired with fennel and feta creates a juicy and flavorful burger. The Local Burger, though a bit salty and not as filling as many would expect was still uniquely delicious.
8. Rotier’s (avg. rating: 3.25)
Rotier’s is a Vanderbilt institution, and has been serving up beer and burgers on Elliston place since 1945. They are famous for their French Bread Cheeseburger, but also offer a regular (cheese)burger and a “grilled” cheeseburger (which is basically a patty melt). The toppings are fresh and crisp, and the burger was cooked well with good flavor. The French Bread burger was the clear favorite over the “grilled” version. The burgers were on the smaller side, and the side dishes were average at best.
7. ML Rose (aka Melrose Pub) (avg. rating: 3.27)
ML Rose gets a gold star for cooking their burgers to order, but that gold star is quickly revoked when you realize that these burgers do NOT come with a side item. These patties are thick and the burger to bun ratio is spot on- a “burger’s burger.” The red onion was plentiful, but thinly sliced (unlike Burger UP) so that it didn’t overpower the other flavors. The burgers were juicy and flavorful and held up well to the robust toppings. The chili on the chili burger was excellent, and the toppings on the 5 Alarm Burger were bold and spicy, the 5 alarm sauce was a winner, though the jalapenos were the dominant flavor.
6. PM (avg. rating: 3.48)
The PM burger is another local favorite with an almost cult following, but perhaps the hype was just a little too much to live up to. This is a big, thick burger that gets most of its unique flavor from the deliciously sweet glaze. The meat is on the forefront and wasabi mayo is served on the side. Standard toppings are lettuce, tomato and onion with bacon and mushrooms available upon request. The bacon came out looking amazing but had an awkward flavor. At least one judge thought the burger was actually better without it. Overall, this was a unique and tasty burger, and PM is probably the only place on the Beat-Down where you can get sushi as a burger appetizer!
5. Five Guys Burgers and Fries (avg. rating: 3.62)
Five Guys. If you aren’t familiar, you probably aren’t a burger fan. This was the lone national chain on the Beat-Down, and it stacked up surprisingly well. These burgers are simple flat top burgers on quality but unremarkable buns with a smorgasbord of fresh, flavorful toppings available for customization. The standard burger comes with two patties, but a “lil burger” with only one patty is available as well. The toppings here are excellent, fresh, crisp (where appropriate), and flavorful. The grilled onions and mushrooms are especially good. With all of the delicious toppings, it is easy for the burger itself to get lost in the mix, but you do get all the flavors in every bite. Five Guys is definitely the best national fast food/ quick service chain burger in our opinion and was the fastest of this competition. The fries are outstanding and deserve a shout-out of their own.
4. Capitol Grille (avg. rating: 3.90)
Capitol Grille was at the other end of the spectrum from Five Guys (and really, most of these guys). Housed in the iconic Hermitage Hotel, the Capitol Grille is a fine dining restaurant with white tablecloths and way more class (and wine) than your average burger joint. The “Tennessee Stack” is available in the Oak Bar all day, but only during lunch in the main dining room. This burger features two patties of local, Double H beef from the Hermitage’s own farm. At $13, this was the most expensive burger in the Beat-Down, but it did include delicious thin cut fries. The local beef had excellent flavor and texture, and was cooked almost perfectly to order. The bun was quality, and the bacon marmalade was different and really good most of the time, but a couple of the bites had an odd flavor that had to be attributed to the marmalade. The toppings were fresh and crisp, as were the fries (so good we have to mention them twice). This was a very good burger. They sometimes do the burger with a pepper jelly instead of bacon marmalade, and we imagine that it is just as good. Out of the 15 contestants, Capitol Grille also earns the honor of the only celebrity sighting, as Governor Haslam was also enjoying lunch during our visit (no indication if he had the burger or not).
*due to the lack of customization, only two of the three judges sampled Fido’s Local Burger. Rating is an average of the two scores.