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Burger Beat-Down Results (Part III, Champions)
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 three contestants below represent the three best burgers in Nashville, in our opinion. While there were no “bad” burgers, there were a wide variety of styles and toppings, and though the competition was tight, these three stood out 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 Part II, and read below to find out who can call themselves the Burger Beat-Down Champion!
3. Twin Kegs (avg. rating: 4.17)
Second Runner-Up: If you don’t frequent the Thompson Lane area, or spend a lot of time researching burgers and/or dive bars, you may not be familiar with Twin Kegs, and that’s a shame. Twin Kegs has been around long enough to boast the oldest (and longest) shuffleboard in Nashville. While TK won’t win any beauty contests, they can hold their own in any burger contest. Their burgers have unbelievable flavor- the meat and spices are carefully chosen and mixed. The meat is the star here. The bun isn’t anything special, but the bun to meat ratio is spot on. The bacon was delicious too, slightly sweet and just the right amount to balance the other flavors. All the ingredients on the “Bad Burger” (BB) work really well together, creating an amazing taste. You can’t put your finger on what exactly makes it so good. The “Big Bad Burger” (BBB) is ¾lbs of seasoned ground beef stuffed with cheese and topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. If the Beat-Down was judged on one bite, TK would have won, as one judge bit into the BBB and then proclaimed that it was the best single bite of burger he’d ever had! These burgers aren’t fancy, and neither is Twin Kegs, but that is part of the appeal. The burgers are delicious, the beer is cheap, and the staff and owner are friendly and engaging (on our visit the cook was also the bartender and waitress, and did a great job as all 3). If you’ve never been to Twin Kegs, or if you’ve passed it by without a second thought, do yourself a favor and stop in for a burger, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
2. Burger Republic (avg. rating: 4.53)
First Runner-Up: Burger Republic in Lenox Village is relatively new to the Nashville burger scene, but they are already making an impact. This is a new, modern, clean restaurant with big burgers, a good beer selection, and signature spiked milkshakes, all of which will fill you up and put an afternoon nap on your schedule. All of our judges felt that this burger was perfectly cooked. The “control” burger with lettuce tomato onion and pickles didn’t come with condiments, but was so good that it didn’t need any. These burgers were juicy and delicious, and the meat fit the bun perfectly. Burger Republic uses toasted brioche buns for their burgers which are a delicious touch and generally hold up well, although the bottom bun may become soggy with some of their runnier toppings (chili, fried egg). The Buy The Farm burger comes loaded up with a perfectly fried egg (runny yolk without overcooking the white), red pepper relish, bacon, and smoked gouda with lettuce, tomato, and onion. This was an excellent burger, and the pepper relish added a tasty kick to the deliciously meaty flavors. The Chili Chili Bang Bang burger is topped with Sam Adams Chili, jalapenos, chipotle aioli, monterey jack cheese and an onion ring. The Sam Adams Chili is amazing, really really good. So good in fact that it may have even obscured the flavors of the burger itself. The other toppings paired perfectly with the chili and the burger for a fantastic overall flavor, and the bun even managed to hold up better than expected on such a loaded, juicy burger. Your doctor, and your waistline would probably tell you to stop there, but we have to give a special shoutout to the spiked red velvet milkshake which was absolutely fantastic and even came garnished with a tiny red velvet cake. If you live in central Nashville Lenox Village is a trek, but worth it for these burgers. You just may need a nap before driving home (Burger Republic has announced plans for a second location in the Gulch, stay tuned for more details)!
1. The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden (avg. rating: 4.68)
CHAMPION: If you like burgers and live in Nashville, odds are that you’re familiar with The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden. In a little over a year, The Pharmacy has earned a reputation for great burgers, beers, and house-made sodas. A reputation which we think is well deserved. Critics complain of long waits and spotty service, but this is the Burger Beat-Down, not a waiter challenge. We here at Eat It, Tennessee have been fans of The Pharmacy since it opened, but we were curious to see how it would stack up against Nashville’s best burgers, and in the end, our judges all felt that it was the best.
As one of our judges put it, “there is a reason there’s a 30 minute wait at 7:30 on a Sunday evening. You certainly know you’re at The Pharmacy when you’re eating one of their burgers.” This particular judge’s burger of choice was the Farm Burger which is topped with country ham, bacon, a fried egg, and maple mustard. The Farm Burger is not for the faint of heart (or those with high cholesterol and/or heart conditions).The Stroganoff Burger is another Pharmacy favorite, and if the description sounds weird at first (it did to us too), trust us and order it anyway. The Stroganoff is topped with mushroom bechamel sauce, sour cream, caramelized onion and swiss cheese. The flavors come together and pair wonderfully with the juicy, flavorful burger. The onions and the bechamel sauce are especially good. One thing that really sets The Pharmacy apart are their buns. These buns are made specifically for The Pharmacy by Provence, a local bakery. They are just big and hearty enough to sustain the weight of the burger and toppings, yet still doughy-soft, flavorful and light. They are served toasted, and they actually cause you to notice the bun, a rarity for most burgers. If a better hamburger bun exists we’ve yet to discover it. The thick burger patties themselves are made with great, local beef, have good flavor and are cooked just right for a juicy, delicious burger. There are plenty of homemade condiments to choose from including garlic aioli and curry ketchup as well as many toppings if you like to build your own burger. A variety of solid (but not exceptional) sides are offered, but aside from the burgers, what makes The Pharmacy unique is its old fashioned soda rail where they make delicious homemade sodas, malts, and milkshakes (featuring local ice cream from Pied Piper Creamery). Don’t go to The Pharmacy expecting a quick burger, go when you have time to enjoy a cold craft beer or a malted milkshake in the open air beer garden while you wait for Nashville’s Best Burger.