{June 15, 2012}   Feed The Carnivore Within

car·ni·vore (kärn-vôr, -vr) noun:  somebody who eats meat: somebody who is not a vegetarian and likes to eat meat…lots of meat!

This Sunday is Father’s Day and there is almost no better way to bond with Dad than by consuming vast quantities of meat…beef specifically. Now, I know nothing beats getting together in the backyard with all the guys in your family to grill up some former animal over an open flame. But what if you don’t have a grill…or even a backyard? Well, no worries…there are restaurants Downtown that serve up burgers so sinful, you may feel the need to go to church after eating them!

I occasionally do the vegetarian thing – I eat Boca burgers, Portobella mushrooms disguised as burgers, even beans and rice mixed together, flavored and fried to resemble burgers. But nothing brings me back to my carnivorous tendencies quite like the Beefalo Burger served at Barley’s Taproom.  What is a Beefalo, you may ask? A Beefalo is a grain-fed cross between a steer and a buffalo, resulting in meat that is leaner, very flavorful and higher in iron and protein than ordinary beef.  Topped with spinach and served on a tasty whole grain bun, this burger is actually pretty good for you! When your Barley’s server asks you what side you’d like with it, pick the potato salad…trust me on this one. Add a pint of beer chosen from their wonderful selection of unique pilsners, porters, ales and stouts (I always enjoy it with a Guinness, myself), and you’ll have a meal that’ll make Dad think you might be a pretty great kid after all.

Another burger that awakens my hidden carnivore is the Bohemian Burger at…you guessed it…The Bohemian Café. If you take Dad there for Father’s Day, be warned that The Bohemian is only open 11AM – 2PM for brunch on Sundays. But the special trip is worth it for this half pound of hand-pattied Black Angus sirloin, cooked to order and served with a juicy tomato, crisp lettuce and a red onion on a fresh roll. To truly send your taste buds to burger nirvana, add blue cheese crumbles and applewood-smoked bacon –YUM! When the server tells you that the burger comes with chips, you may be disappointed, but trust me your disappointment will quickly fade as soon as you bite into one of the delectably crunchy little bits of salty perfection. Many patrons visit this café just for these homemade potato chips! If your appetite is particularly hearty this day, and, if you’re a fan of blue cheese like me, ask for a side of blue cheese macaroni…you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of blue cheese, another mouthwatering burger worth a try can be found at Liberty Tap Room. This laid-back, testosterone –friendly pub certainly has its share of tasty burger options. You may find it hard to choose between the Freedom Burger, the Swiss Burger, and the Cowboy Burger, but it’s the Red, White & Blue Burger that keeps me coming back for more! This Cajun-crusted certified Angus patty, topped with blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion straws and even MORE blue cheese in the form of dressing poured on top is so delectable, it outta come with a warning label!  Add a perfectly poured beer from their vast selection on tap and you have a meal fit for a burger-loving king!

Are you drooling yet? Well, if you have a heart condition, you may want to stop reading here, because the next two burgers will make you have to double up on your cholesterol meds.  The first burger worthy of owning your own personal defibrillator for is The Stone Burger (also known to regulars as the Krispy Kreme Burger) at Grille 33/The Channel. Now, Grille 33/The Channel is known far and wide for their delicious patties of beef, all named after Greenville streets and landmarks, and each more mouth-watering than the one before.  Brian “Head” Welch, formerly of Korn, often makes a pilgrimage to this humble establishment just to experience them. But this one miraculous creation rises above the rest. The 8 ounces of juicy certified Angus beef, topped only by  a thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese (no veggies needed), is served up on every southerner’s favorite breakfast item, a glazed Krispy Kreme donut. I KNOW…A KRISPY KREME DONUT!!! How crazy is THAT?! Improbable though it may sound, this impossibly delectable burger is so “sacri-licious”, just by eating it you will have certainly committed at least six of the Seven Deadly Sins.

If you venture north up Main Street, you’ll find Northgate Soda Shop and another burger you will happily clog your arteries for – the Pimento Cheese Burger.  So seriously scrumptious, this burger has already enjoyed a good bit of notoriety from burger aficionados from all over the US – George Motz even waxed poetic about this local favorite in his book, “Hamburger America”.  But North Main residents have long known about this heart-attack inducing little bit of hamburger excellence. As soon as you walk into the Northgate Soda Shop, with its retro décor that seems frozen sometime in the 1950’s, you know that you’ve stumbled upon something truly special. And once that amazing, “old-school” burger (the recipe is over 40 years old) is set in front of you, with that tangy mix of mayo, cheddar cheese and pimentos oozing over the bright red tomato and farm-fresh lettuce onto the grilled bun, you’ll be sure you’ve died and gone to heaven…and not just regular heaven, but Carnivore Heaven Supreme! Just taking one bite of the moist burger covered in cheesy meltiness will make you feel sorry for all the poor souls who have yet to venture to this little piece of Downtown to discover this wonderous delight! Now, I’m waxing poetic…but really…it’s THAT FREAKIN’ GOOD!

Now, I’m not saying these are the only choices for burgers in Downtown Greenville, just some of my personal favorites. I hear that the West End Burger at Smoke on the Water and the Gastro Pub Burger at Nose Dive are near perfect, I just haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet (looks like there may be a Part Deux to this article in the future) and Sharkey’s Pub, Corner Pocket and Blue Ridge Brewing Company also have tasty burgers, but with limited space, I had to narrow it down to the ones that most inspired “burger lust” in my carnivorous little heart! Many of these fine establishments also offer delicious alternatives with yummy veggie burgers…but this article is all about the beef!  So I suggest that you take this opportunity to impress Dad with a little “Burger Exploration” yourself…you’ll strengthen your bond with your “old man” and maybe even discover some beef patties worthy of a little “burger lust”of your own! Happy Father’s Day!

More Info…

Barley’s Taproom: 25 W Washington Street; (864) 232-3706 (Across from the bus station)

The Bohemian Café: 2 W Stone Avenue; (864) 233-0006 (Next to Horizon Records)

Liberty Tap Room: 941 S Main Street;· (864) 770-7777 (Next to Fluor Field)

Grille 33 / The Channel: 221 N Main Street; (864) 552-1990 (Across from The Hyatt)

Northgate Soda Shop: 918 N Main Street; (864) 235-6770 (In North Main neighborhood)


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