24 E. Washington St. | 407-650-4950 | bethsburgerbar.com | $
Being pigeonholed as a late-night pit stop for hungry tosspots is inevitable when you’re situated in the downtown core and stay open until 3 a.m. on weekends, but Beth’s Burger Bar is worth a visit even during sober daylight hours. While the raging garage-punk resounding from the jukebox may be hard to swallow for some, the burgers sure as hell aren’t. Owner Beth Steele takes a decidedly less poncey approach to patty-stacking by eschewing the trend for designer burgers with a thousand toppings in favor of a straight-up, old-school approach with old-school pricing. A mere $3.49 will get you a single patty; a double costs $2 more. Cheese, certain toppings and special sauces are extra.
We ordered, paid up, then took a seat in a booth, but not before quelling the bloody wailing racket by dropping four bits into the jukebox and cuing up one of our favorite bands. Rush’s “Overture” from 2112 was far more appetizing, and it made the double black-and-bleu burger ($7.99) with blue cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions and pineapple-jalapeno sauce even better. If it’s well past the witching hour, consider the “morning burger” ($5.99) with fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese, accompanied by “The Temples of Syrinx” from the same album. The burger may be light on bacon, but the egg is properly runny and the bun soft and sturdy. The patties here are more along the likes of Five Guys or In-N-Out Burger – that is, on the thinner side, making the sandwich easier to handle.
If you really need to soak up the booze, munch on some frickles ($3.49) then take the Double D Challenge ($12.99) – down a 1-pound double-double with eight slices of bacon, five cheeses, grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, pickles and all the condiments. Vanquish that beastly burger and you’ll get a T-shirt and your photo on the wall, though most succumb to its enormity. Like Geddy Lee says, “The Meat shall inherit the earth.”
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