The Burger Barn: revisited


Adriana Eldred

Pictured here: The Ira Allen, General Lee, El Alamo, and the Nutty Goat.

Two years ago almost exactly to date I began my love affair with the Burger Barn in Jeffersonville. The Burger Barn was my first ever food review for Basement Medicine, and while certainly not my last, it is probably still my favorite. This time I brought a small posse, including my boyfriend, sister and brother-in-law.

On the refreshingly warm afternoon of Saturday, May 2, we pulled into the unsurprisingly busy dirt loop where Burger Barn resides. In an attempt to social distance, people remained in their vehicles for the most part, either sitting on their tailgates or standing several yards apart in line to order. A family sat on the patch of grass near the road.
We rolled the truck windows down to catch a breeze and began plotting our strategy. We each decided on a different burger to get the maximum experience, along with a quart of fries to share.
There are one of two ways to order at the Burger Barn during a pandemic: stand in line, six feet apart and wear a mask (if you’re courteous); or call a cell number to order over the phone. One would think the phone would be the faster, easier option, but what really happens is that when you call, the call is dropped due to the influx of customers, or the phone simply rings off the hook as the struggling cashier works to take orders at the window.
The breeze carried the electronic ringtone to where we were parked and did not stop ringing the entire time we waited for our order. So, it is still a safer bet to drive to the barn if you have any hope of getting an order in.
Wearing masks, my brother in law Max and my boyfriend Nick waited in line for about 15 minutes to get our order in, and we subsequently waited another 45 minutes before we received it. I do not fault the Barn, despite my ravenousness, as it was extremely busy. When we finally “secured the bag,” as the young kids say, we drove just down the road to sit at an empty picnic table where the Jeffersonville farmer’s market is typically held to eat.
I forced my companions to wait even longer to eat their burgers in order to get an Instagram-worthy overhead shot of our meal before I allowed them to dig in.
I ordered the General Lee. This burger is an unlikely combination of coleslaw and house-made chili, accompanied by American cheese and garnished with tomato and onion slices on a sturdy bun. This was a burger I had previously tried that I remembered the name of but couldn’t recall the flavor. It was hardy and messy, the chili and coleslaw cooling down the patty more than I would have liked. The textures of the chili and crunch of the coleslaw melded together well, but I couldn’t say it was the most flavorful burger I had ever had. Nevertheless, I ate it in all of 10 minutes.
Luckily, my sister, Carina, allowed me to take a bite of her burger, pandemic be damned: the Nutty Goat. I had recommended it to her as it was and continues to be my favorite burger of all time. This quirky sandwich features chevre cheese, maple-glazed walnuts, caramelized onions and perfectly seared bacon.
“It was actually not very messy for a burger,” Carina reflected. “There were a couple walnuts that fell out, but other than that it stayed together.” Her favorite part was the chevre cheese. It has the perfect ratio of sweet to salty and melt-in-your-mouth to crunch, and if you are a new Burger Barn customer, I highly recommend this be included your first order. My sister nearly couldn’t finish it all, even with my help, but she managed to devour the burger successfully.
“I rate it a ten out of ten,” said Carina.
Next to me, my boyfriend, Nick, was inhaling his burger: the Ira Allen. This burger consists of bacon, bleu cheese, pine nuts, and a maple mustard.
When asked what his favorite part of his burger was, he immediately replied, “Bacon, obviously.” He went on to say there was a tad too much bleu cheese, but it was saved by the crunch of the pine nuts and bacon. This burger was easily self-contained, with little spillage onto his plastic take-out shell. Overall, Nick gave this burger a six out of ten.
Despite this rating, he said he would still recommend the Ira Allen to a friend. “Well, of course I would, it’s still a good burger.” His true weakness was the Nutty Goat, in which he had discovered only a few days prior to this trip and sent him into what he could only describe as an out of body experience.
Lastly, Max, my brother-in-law and California transplant, ordered an El Alamo. This burger featured a fried onion ring, bacon, banana peppers, cheddar and BBQ sauce.
“I would say I really liked the banana peppers; they really took me by surprise,” said Max. He related the sandwich to the feeling of southern-fried comfort food. This burger was also able to stay together, leaving little fallout at the bottom of his dish. “I was surprised, because of all the sauce,” he said. A place of improvement for the burger would be more banana peppers and more than one onion ring.
As we sat around the picnic table fighting food-induced comatose, we discussed what made Burger Barn so great. We came up with three major points:
1) The bun. All of the Burger Barn burgers were placed on a larger, sturdy bun, which prevented fallout and sticky fingers, without taking up so much presence you felt like you were eating a loaf of bread.
2) The bacon. The bacon on all of the respective burgers that had it was cooked to perfection, staying hot and crisp as well as creating a fantastic salty flavor.
3) And finally, the atmosphere. Max mentioned how he was so used to fast-food and chain restaurants that he was especially invited by what he could only describe as a “mom and pop” atmosphere.
Whether you enjoy a sweet or salty or savory burger, Burger Barn provides a fantastic meal to enjoy outside, in your car, or quarantined in your home.