The Beginnings of a new Chapter

Austin July Clug – BJ’s

The Austin Chapter of the Gentlemen’s Hamburger of the Month Clug had it’s inaugural dinner in July, 2012. Difficulty in coordinating schedules meant that only three members were able to attend.

Our first restaurant, BJ’s, is a national chain with locations in 13 different states across the country. Think of it as an upscale Chili’s but with a great beer selection, wonderful atmosphere, friendly staff, prompt service and delicious food. Their menu includes 9 different options for hamburgers and, of course, you can customize them how you like.

My selection, the Black and Bleu Burger, was perfectly cooked to a pink medium rare with a blackened crust on the outside and served on a fresh bun. The bacon was crisp and very tasty and the blue cheese, while less than I would have preferred, was a perfect compliment to the bacon. I will return to BJ’s even though the name makes my 14-year-old self chuckle.

Austin August Clug – Bacon

It’s a sure bet that if you go to a restaurant called “Bacon”, you’re going to get some good bacon. They offer several different selections of bacon and the group got a sampling of each type, all of which were delicious. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the burger.

Or rather, the burger patty. The bun, bacon, and blue cheese (seeing a trend here?) were wonderful but were not able to overcome a luke warm and severely overcooked burger and the limp lettuce underneath. It is very disappointing, but in fairness, I did not raise an objection with the manager and did not give them an opportunity to rescue the experience.

The cheese grits I had on the side were absolutely amazing. If you like grits, they are worth a trip to Bacon on their own. I bet you can even get them made with bacon. If you don’t like or have never tried grits, Bacon can make you a convert.

Sadly, this is not the Gentlemen’s Grits of the Month Club (although that is a great idea) and the most important part of the meal, the hamburger, was a let down.

It’s also worth noting that I mistakingly thought Bacon was a table service restaurant which it is not. We made the exception for this occasion as we didn’t want to pick another place at late notice.

Austin September Clug – Haddington’s

Haddington’s is one of my favourite restaurants and cocktail bars in downtown Austin. They always have a selection of enticing menu items, signature cocktails, great craft beers on tap and very friendly staff. Luckily for us, they also have a hamburger as a regular item.

It’s just a hamburger, but the kitchen told us to create our own accoutrements ¬†and was not afraid to serve a burger rare. This tells me that they are confident in the freshness of their beef and the skill of their chefs.

This burger was simply amazing. It was like having steak tartar seared into a crusty patty, slapped between a fresh baked bun and topped with a beautiful slice of tender bacon. It was simple too. Some upscale restaurants will try to justify a burger on their menu by covering the plate in shit you don’t need. Give me a burger, perhaps some fries, and a pickle wedge on the side always is a good bonus.

The fries are thick cut with a good flavour although I would have liked them to be a little more crispy on the outside. Without a doubt, Haddington’s lived up to my expectations for a great burger and the cocktails, although expensive, made the meal that much more enjoyable. I would say, don’t go to Haddington’s expecting to get out of there for under $30-$50 if you are a cocktail snob like me. Our table of four rang over $200.

Welcome to Hamburgerclug.com!

Although the Gentlemen’s Hamburger of the Month Clug has been around for a while in San Francisco, this site is brand new. With the launch of this site, we also present the Austin Chapter of the Gentlemen’s Hamburger of the Month Clug.

We hope to be giving more information about our group as well as recent reviews of the best (and worst) hamburgers to be found in San Francisco and Austin.

Have a suggestion for a great burger we should try? Leave it in the comments below.