This week's Five in 5 list covers recommended bar burgers. So what's a bar burger?
A bar burger is a burger served in an establishment that functions first and foremost as a bar. Some bars have developed loyal followings for their burgers, and some fans head to their doors specifically for their burgers. But these places still are bars where the raison d'etre remains drinking, and a good burger is a nice extra. Bars and burgers enjoy a widespread and well-established symbiotic relationship, hence the bar burger category.
This distinction addresses the 500-lb. gorilla looming over any list, ranking or review of burgers in New Orleans: Port of Call.
I love Port of Call burgers, but this place doesn't fit the bar burger bill. Port of Call might be as dark as a bar, a lot of its floor space might be taken up by a bar, and people do get tanked there, but I can't imagine that very many people use it as a bar primarily. It started in 1963 as steakhouse and has evolved into a burger restaurant (which still serves steaks). Most people wait for a table here for the sake of the burgers.
The same idea keeps the Port of Call spin-off Lakeview Harbor off a bar burger list. Ditto the recently reviewed Phil's Grill (which currently doesn't even have a bar, pending some liquor license issues).
The world of burgers is vast and is worth examining within the boundaries of a few subsets. Some other categories, and fodder for future Five in 5 lists:
- upscale restaurant burgers (the $10-plus club)
- hamburger po-boys
- burgers beyond beef
- creative burger toppings
- best burger buns
- veggie burgers
What would be your burger categories, or favorite examples?