Burger Barn: an old favorite during this new normal


Burgers are about as American as Hulk Hogan. The classic American cheeseburger was always a favorite of mine and has always been my go-to when judging a dining establishment’s quality.
I have this rule: if a restaurant’s burger is good then the other food will most likely be good as well. This rule has always served me well, as the traditional American burger is so simple, yet can be so complex with its flavors.
Bun, mayo, beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and ketchup: This to me is a perfect sequence of flavors.
Burger Barn is run out of a small shack, where you order outside and eat at an accompanying picnic table. The menu has standard burger varieties as well as a litany of strange and inventive burgers, such as the “Dino Vercotti” which has pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella, provolone, and marinara sauce, all while still having the staple beef/bun combination.
Typically during the winter seasons, Burger Barn is not open, but due to COVID-19, the owners did not take their typical trip to Florida and opted to keep the eatery open.
I chose to go with the classic American cheeseburger with the somewhat groan-worthy name, “Amerigo Vespucci.” Why a traditional American cheeseburger was named after an Italian merchant, I do not know. What I do know is that it was a perfectly serviceable burger for $7.
This burger had a simple mayo, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and ketchup presentation.
I was not asked how I wanted my burger done, thus giving me the impression that the beef was perhaps pre-cooked, which was disappointing.
Most burgers you get for this price will be frozen and cooked on a slab grill to ensure the burgers are done fast and in large quantities but still get some delicious meat sweats running down your gullet. As long as a burger is greasy and well-seasoned with salt and pepper, it will always satisfy me, and Burger Barn certainly did the job.
What was particularly notable was the size and the vegetables. The burger was large, requiring two hands to devour the monster, and the veggies were crisp and refreshing.
One aspect I require with burgers with a tomato is that the tomato be as thin as possible. With too thick of a slice, the tomato overpowers the flavor of everything else in the burger. To my delight, the tomatoes were sliced perfectly; thick enough to provide juicy tomato flavor, but thin enough to allow me to taste everything else as well.
The pickles had the perfect snap that every pickle should have, giving me subtle notes of vinegar and dill, which is always a delight.
The onion was simply the best kind of onion for a burger: red onion. This to me is the quintessential onion for a burger, as it gives the presentation of bright color and adds a
bitter- sweet flavor to the overall package.
The lettuce was the only weak veggie in the sandwich. Sadly, the lettuce was romaine and not chopped iceberg. While romaine has a needed extra crunch, there is this earthy, bitter flavor that did not pair well with the other ingredients. Despite my distaste for romaine as a whole, it gave some much needed texture to my experience.
Finally, the bun itself was fluffy and elegant. I would have preferred it toasted, but it was still quite good and helped me enjoy the sandwich.
The burger as an ensemble was pleasant. It didn’t blow my proverbial socks off, but it definitely satisfied my beef needs.
Surprisingly, the best part of my meal were the sides. With a burger, the safest bet to get on the side is fries, and if you’re feeling adventurous, fried pickles. On this occasion I got both, and both were splendid.
The fries had the perfect balance of crispy, fried crunch and robust potato flavor that I look for in a French fry. The salt was not heavy, but there was enough to add some flare to the lot.
The fried pickle, much like the French fries, had an excellent, crispy batter, but the inside had the burst of the dill that I know and love. If you want to balance out the heavy vinegar and dill taste, dip the pickle in ranch to allow a creamy freshness to accompany those bold flavors.
To me, these sides were perfect and easily the best part of the meal.
For the fries I opted to order a quart, the largest size available, delivered in a hefty brown paper bag. The spuds ran me $6. The fried pickles came in a small white box and ran $6 as well.
Overall, my meal came out to $19 not including tax. The burger was about what you would expect price-wise, and while I think the side prices were a bit steep, the experience of them alone was well worth my money.
The service was incredibly nice and welcoming, despite being a very popular place at dinner time on a weekday. The wait was about 15 minutes due to needing to fulfill other orders they had.
My overall experience at Burger Barn was good. I wouldn’t say it has even close to my favorite burgers, but with good food, kind service, and a creative menu, I know I will be coming back in the future.
Burger Barn is open 11 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday.