While Richmond seems to have lost all restraint for the budget drive-through Cook-Out burger and its harrowingly dangerous-for-pedestrians layout, some of the city’s better burgers might get lost in the smoky haze. Here are some lesser-known burger favorites in a town — and country — that puts one on nearly every restaurant menu.
The Honey Whyte’s burger ($5 quarter-pound, $7 half-pound) is big and messy. My medium-rare burger is seared with an almost crustlike exterior. I chose white American and jalapenos to dress mine, but the wealth of toppings offered won’t hem you in. The size makes you think you’ll be unable to finish — but the taste will push you to the greasy delicious last bite.
2116 E Main St.
A bit of a wait in a slightly smoky dinner space yields a Bubba burger, and not the Sam’s Club kind. Prices are well under the norm at $4.95 for a half-pounder with chips. The huge, misshapen patty is definitely made for two, and the double Bubba could feed a small army for $6.95. If the vehicle (bun) and toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion) had a little more pep in their step, it would be one of the best I tried.
4000 E. Williamsburg Road
The beef is 6 ounces of unadulterated (none needed) ground meat, $6.25 with chips. The well-composed result is lively with fresh tomatoes, sweet white onion and leaf lettuce. Served on a soft roll, it’s a perfect, no-frills, garden-bright, eat-in or take-out burger.
1 S. Mulberry St.
I know it’s a frozen patty on a seasoned griddle, but it tastes so good I almost feel dirty for eating it. Generous portions of cheese, bacon and meat are packaged with shredded lettuce and paper-thin slices of tomato. It’s the quintessential “fast food” burger except it isn’t. For $3.33, it’s worth every penny.
100 E. Brookland Park Blvd.
A friend suggests Roxy’s $6.15 burger. After a bit of unfounded trepidation I’m pleasantly surprised by the well-cooked patty. Made to order and liberally dressed, the burger is cheesy, peppery and satisfying. If you aren’t into loud and fun-loving college students, get it to go.
1104 W. Main St.
The new chef at Poe’s has a hand for beef. For $7, including hand-cut fries, this outstanding unprocessed 7-ouncer is hand-formed and expertly grilled. Hefty cheese slices and an abundance of fluffy bun occasionally overwhelm a delicately seasoned bite. I suggest bacon (50 cents) as a must have. It’s thickly sliced, ample and crispy.
2706 E. Main St.