I have been a little obsessed with cheeseburgers lately. And my flip cam. It is with me at all times in case of an emergency cheeseburger tasting. Like the mother/daughter date at the Capitol Grille in Nashville. Turned out to be the perfect opportunity for my Burger Debate blog. Let me back up.
I love cheeseburgers. They make me happy. Okay, so all food pretty much excites me but there is something about a perfectly cooked burger topped with melted cheese on buttered and grilled bun with just the right toppings that literally makes me giddy. I share this love with my father, who prefers his own burgers that he grills. We had a hankering for a great slider, and were having a serious discussion about who made the best burger in Nashville. As I do for a lot of questions I need answered, I decided to forgo the Google and sent out a single little tweet, and was quite impressed by the response. I am a Feek (feminine geek) so I immediately started a spreadsheet to track my findings. The most recommended places for burgers in Nashville, according to my Twitter followers are: Rotier’s, Gabby’s, Brown’s Diner, Fat Mo’s, Jay Alexander’s and McCabe Pub. I have to add it one of my favorites, the bison burger at Past Perfect. My intern, who is also a foodie who gets silly at the mention of a good burger, would like to add in Sportsman’s Grille as a top contender. Oh, and my vegetarian brother swears by the veggie burger over at Paradise Park Trailer Resort. That is the place right next to Paradise Park that you would only notice after quite a few beers and I agree, they are pretty darn yum.
Now, anyone who knows me is very aware of how much I love my little town, not so far from Nashville, sometimes called Planet Franklin by those who feel we are in our own world. We may be, but there are some amazing burgers here too. My personal favorite is The Bunganut Pig, who actually sports a sign out front that bravely reads “Best Burger in Town, Guaranteed.”
My mission is to travel the 17 miles into Nashville and discover the best burger in town. I can’t do this alone. I have 2 brave volunteers, fellow Feek Julia and Geek friend Les who have generously offered to help. It will be tough, especially with bathing suit season right around the corner. But, it is a mission I am passionate about. I mean, I get to eat freaking cheeseburgers, right?
And so it began with Les, Beth, Steve, Dani and me. The most recommended burger in Nashville was Rotier’s. Rumor has it that when Jimmy Buffet wrote about “Cheeseburger in Paradise” that is was based on this burger. We all ordered our burgers our own way, choosing the bread and toppings we preferred. Steve, made us order fries and 2 baskets of onion rings. I swear, he made us! And, though they are not on the menu, we got a vanilla and chocolate shake to share, along with a beer or three.
The burgers were good. I only tasted mine, as none of us really wanted to share, and it was good. I ordered mine on french bread, which was, um, good. The burger itself didn’t have a lot of flavor. No matter what you put on a burger, or the kind of bun you choose, if the burger doesn’t speak for itself, then it goes in the good category. The prices were very affordable and our waitress was fabulous. So, overall, on the Courtenay scale of yumminess (SOY), Rotier’s is good.
So, back to a lovely day with my mother. A friend, let’s call him Jim, hooked me up with tickets to TPAC to see Big River, the story of Huck Finn. The guy who plays Huck, by the way, on the SOY was totally scrumptious. But, I digress. Mom treated me to a lovely experience at the Hermitage Hotel’s restaurant, the Capitol Grille. We had bloody mary’s (some of the best I’ve had) and split the burger. Oh. My. Gosh. This was a delicious burger. Perfectly cooked, great flavor and topped with bleu cheese, field greens and roasted tomato. Lovely. Fancy. Totally worth the money. Score on the Courtenay SOY: Fabulous! My flip cam must have caused a little raucous in the kitchen because the sous chef came out and introduced himself and told me of his favorite place in Nashville. That is for a later Burger Debate blog. He will be my guest taster.
So, I was out to lunch at J. Alexanders with a friend who is like a size 4 and gorgeous and was munching on her little salad with no cheese and dressing on the side so I decided to forgo the beef burger and try the veggie burger. With a side of broccoli. Yeah, it was pretty good. For a burger made out of rice and veggies. Damn it, I should have gotten the fries. Score on the Courtenay SOY: great for a veggie burger but I am not a vegetarian so I will not do that to myself again.
Gabby’s was a nice little treat and I brought my 2 1/2 year old daughter with me as back-up. The original Burger Debate team leaders, Les and Julia met me out there and we were all pretty impressed. The location isn’t much, but the amazing smell and friendly faces and service made up for it. Gabby’s wins the best buns, hands down. They are almost an egg bread consistency and are just the right size. I ordered mine with “everything” that included chopped onions and thickly sliced pickles. Nice touch. My daughter got a hot dog kids meal, and said it was yummy but that she liked my cheeseburger better. That’s my girl! Overall score on Courtenay’s SOY: Great leaning towards fabulous.
Okay, my absolute favorite burger so far is from the Bunganut Pig in Planet Franklin. No, it isn’t because I am a Williamson County resident and am in any way partial to my fabulous little town. This is seriously the best burger around. Simple. Nothing fancy. Cooked perfectly. Juicy beyond belief. It is like burger porn. And they guarantee that it is the best burger in town or you get your money back. Score on the Courtenay SOY: utter burger bliss. My intern and I talk about it often, and will be bringing a larger team of tasting specialists with us soon for further research.
So, this is round 1 of the Great Burger Debate! I still have quite a few places left to conquer. I have gotten so many great recommendations on local places to try out, so I will just keep on trucking, right through bikini season, in which I will not even look at a bikini. In true Feek fashion, here is the list of recommendations I have gathered. Keep ‘em coming!
Corner Pub Green Hills
Dog of Nashville
Bobby’s Dairy Dip