Last summer, my friend Matt from Matt Eats Chatt posted about Southern Burger Truck. I hadn’t heard about it, but Matt proclaimed their burger the best in Chattanooga. Since it was a truck, though, it wasn’t necessarily easy to catch them since they were usually downtown and also not out and about every day. I was dying to try it, though….so, imagine my delight when I saw on Facebook that they were soon to open a location in the food court at Warehouse Row. The new location joins the truck. It opened on January 5, and I couldn’t get there quickly enough!
First of all, let me say that it has been quite a while since I have been on that side of Warehouse Row, and their food court looks amazing! Right now, Southern Burger Co. and Petunia’s Silver Jalapeno are the only eateries that are open there, but it looks modern and beautiful and contemporary and cool, so hopefully some more great places will open up there!
It didn’t take us long to make our decisions about what to order. I went simple, choosing the Southern burger-just a basic burger with American cheese (I subbed in cheddar, though), mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Wickle’s pickles. I ordered my burger without onions, of course, and added some Tennessee bacon jam to my burger. I ordered a combo with fries. Philip chose the jalapeno burger, which came with cheddar cheese, fresh (not pickled) jalapenos, bacon jam, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. He also got a combo, but he got onion rings (so we could try both, of course). We were a little taken aback when Christian (the “founder”, who rang us up) asked what sauce we wanted with our sides-ranch, ketchup, etc. We both ordered ketchup. It rang up to something around $20-definitely not a “fast food price”-but after I tell you about the food, you’ll understand. This is not fast food, and you can’t get food like this at chain casual dining restaurant, where you’d pay around the same (or more) for a burger and fries that contain ingredients from who-knows-where. I am willing to pay a little more for quality ingredients from a local establishment. Well worth the price.
Like I said, this is not fast food. It took around ten minutes for us to get our orders, and we were fine with that, especially once we got our food. Each of our combos came in its own separate bag:
The burgers looked delicious, and so did the hand-cut fries. I think I have probably mentioned that I love hand-cut fries! I had heard read some negative remarks about their fries being greasy on their Facebook page, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Oh, and the ketchup? Homemade. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore! It was clear that the ketchup wasn’t bottled; it was a little thinner than normal, and there was a seed in mine, and it was spicy. Yea! It was wonderful…but yes, they did have packets of Hunt’s for you ketchup purists (you know who you are!). Okay…back to the food. The fries? I loved them! They were (a) hand-cut; (b) perfectly fried-some were crispy and some weren’t. I love that!; and (c) perfectly salted. Philip and I were having a discussion about the negative fry remarks and were speculating that perhaps people’s “fry expectations” were so diluted by fast-food fries that we don’t always recognize truly great fries. Just a theory. Anyway, I was very happy with the fries! And then….there was the burger. Ah, the burger. The bun was obviously handmade-you could tell by looking at it. The burger patty was fairly thin and it was crispy around the edges but slightly pink in the middle. Now, it takes talent to do that! For those of you who are squeamish about pink beef (you know I am not) I am sure you can request that it be well done! The cheese was also slightly crispy around the edges, which I loved! I loved the kick that the grainy mustard added, and the bacon jam was the perfect finish-sweet, delicious smokiness.
Philip loved his jalapeno burger as well. As I mentioned before, the jalapenos were fresh, not pickled. They were beautifully green, as green as the lettuce leaves. The cheddar cheese and bacon jam perfectly finished the burger. I tasted it and found it to be spicy but not too much so (I’m a wuss, but I could have eaten the whole thing-I think!). They also have a habanero burger, but Philip is getting over being sick and did not think that his recovering sore throat could hack it this time-maybe next time! The onion rings were obviously handmade-thickly sliced and not coated in a heavy jacket of breading, but just a light crumbly coating. They were not stiffly fried and honestly didn’t look like much-but they were delicious. I can’t even think of a way to describe them!
Christian came out to check on us after we had a chance to taste our food. He told me that their buns come from The Bread Basket, which makes me love them even more. Now, there’s another local bakery (which shall remain nameless) that seems to be the “trendy” place to get your bread from. Not that there’s anything wrong with that-they make great products, and they’re still a local business-but I love that Southern Burger Co. is doing something a little unexpected. Their bacon comes from Benton farm, and Christian even told me the secrets to their bacon jam-but I am sworn to secrecy! Before we left, Philip proclaimed his burger the best he’d ever had. I’m inclined to agree. It was amazing. Their slogan is “Don’t just kind of take a bite.” If you try it, you won’t be able to just kind of take a bite. Go there!
Southern Burger Company is located at 1110 Market Street, FC-5 (downstairs in Warehouse Row), Chattanooga, TN 37405, as well as their truck, which, of course, changes locations. “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to keep up with the Southern Burger Truck. You can also check out their blog at http://southernburgerco.blogspot.com. The store is open from 11-6, Monday-Saturday. You can reach Southern Burger Co. at 423-825-4919.