Almost a year to the day after launching their pop-up, Bub’s Burgers threw open its own doors last week right next to the Banks Street Bar. That little spot has seen many a business roll through over the past decade. Off the top of my head, there was a pizza and sub joint called Lazaro’s, Mid-City Pizza, Clesi’s Seafood and most recently, Trilly Cheesesteaks. Despite the high turnover, I wouldn’t call it a “cursed” location, seeing as half (still waiting to see where Trilly Cheesesteaks lands, so maybe three quarters?) of those restaurants have moved on up to bigger and better spots, and we’ve got high hopes for Bub’s. Don’t get me wrong, this itty-bitty space isn’t bad, it just seems like a “starter home” for restaurants.
It had been a while since we’d enjoyed a burger (can you say taco burn-out?), so John and I ventured over to Mid-City to give them a go. Since it was the first weekend they were open, I thought we should be early birds, and thankfully we arrived right before the dinner rush. We ordered, sat down at the only booth left and waited maybe five minutes before they texted me to say our order was ready. Five minutes!
I got the “Royale” which was a fancy, Pulp Fiction-ish way of saying it was a double with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles. John got the Bub Burger that was also a double, but with griddled onions, sans the lettuce and tomato. Both burgers were served on brioche buns and were slathered with “Bub sauce,” a concoction that tasted suspiciously like mayo and ketchup (maybe even sriracha?) mixed together. We also chose a couple of sides, John got a French fries and I opted for the Brussels sprouts tossed in a honey-sriracha sauce.
What can I say? “Smash” burgers are just another way of saying “diner” burgers and I’ve always loved that style, though not quite as much as I like the thick, backyard-type burger. Bub’s burgers were obviously using better quality beef and superior buns, which elevated the flavor, not to mention the fresh, bright lettuce and perfect tomatoes. It kind of was like a cross between Company Burger and Atomic Burger, with some Five Guys thrown in for good measure.
The Brussels sprouts were exactly as described, with both soft and crisp, sweet and hot, and not overdone, and the fries were, well, fries. I had read an Instagram post by Bub’s where they admitted to switching from hand-cut to frozen because they simply couldn’t keep up quality with the demand, and I admire their honesty. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with frozen fries, especially if they’re crisp, hot and salty, as Bub’s were.
We scarfed up our food and left, leaving room for the hordes of people waiting in line to get their Bub’s on. The only negatives were that it was hot as hell, the fans and a/c units just couldn’t handle the searing 92° heat that evening. Additionally, John’s coke had just been put into the cold case, so it was still warm, something they profusely apologized for when we ordered.
All in all, it was a tasty dinner and great to be out among the living again. They also had a really cool mural by local street artist Mr. Balloon Hands!