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Burger Up!

“Now I can’t complain… I’ve got to admit it’s getting better… A little better all the time…” Paul McCartney and John Lennon

A pleasant surprise is Burger Up and 12th and Paris. I had never HEARD of this place. It IS rather new. They need to print the back story on their menu. The beef is local out of Franklin. You will pay a little more for this place and you will enjoy it. Enough foreshadowing?

The Digs: It’s an open bright big windowed clean place. The extensive selection at the bar makes you know you will probably be paying a bit more than you normally would for a burger. I had a glass of wine with my burger that fit perfectly. The staff is damn attentive and they really make you feel like they WANT you there (without being clingy.)There wasn’t a BIG crowd but definitely some regulars at 11am.

At First Sight: I did not go for my usual condiments… I don’t think they could really ‘roll’ that way. But the ‘Woodstock’ burger, medium-rare looked great. It had some hickory bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce on it. It was NOT smothered, just enough of each ingredient to make a statement about the flavor. The TRUFFLE fries came in a cute little aluminum cup. (It’s not about the fries, but they were ok.)

At First Bite: It wasn’t PINK inside but definitely medium-rare, the meat wasn’t too grey and it tasted fine and fresh. My FIRST bite was overpowered by the hickory bacon but as I continued with the burger, all of the flavors came out. So much so, I wanted to keep biting… and really wished I could have had more (though there was PLENTY burger there…)

The Finish: I have never been happier to spend 9 bucks on a burger (plus wine and some baby spinach so I can feel healthy?). For the first time in many weeks I am not disappointed by my visit to an establishment. Maybe I had no expectations? I HAVE to say it is certainly getting better. Burger Up was Mary’s call – I had better come up with a great suggestion for our next visit.

Score: 9.25

How I Became the Bomb interview at Bonnaroo

Gabby’s – a little hideaway…

“I know a dark secluded place. A place where no one knows your face…” Hernando’s Hideaway from the musical ‘The Pajama Game’

OK not-so-dark but rather secluded is Gabbys… best described as ‘up behind Greer Stadium.’ I like the back story on this place. A corporate guy who wanted to spend more time with his family, he opened a burger joint. The lunch hours in the beginning were mid to late week only lunch but as business has caught on, the hours are slowly expanding. Good for them, NOW – how does this stuff taste?

The Digs: Not dark but oh so fluorescent light bright. Tile floors and people get there early. A lot of blue collar workers along with city employees and some law enforcement all frequent this place. A great mix of folk and no one you would know. The folk who work there have great attitudes and are perfect for the place. If you want to be anonymous, this is a good joint.

At First Sight: I didn’t get medium rare, but I got as rare as they could go… pretty decent. It did not look as juicy as I like and the burger is a tad smaller than I like, but decent flavor. The fries were those ‘skin on the end variety’ – not my fave but it completes a meal.

At First Bite: A fully cooked burger. But not DRY. Cheese mixed well with the condiments for a better than fast food burger. The bun was a bit big BUT the bun actually added to the overall flavor of the burger for me. I guess it helps when everything is fresh.

The Finish: Gabby’s is an oddball little place. And I mean that with love and respect. It’s bright with tile… you can almost smell the Lysol on the floor. Maybe in 20 years and few less mop swipes it will settle into the cement brick greasy burger joint it can be… but the burgers are good enough not to disappoint. You can go there and hang in a crowd – everyone will smile at you and no one will care who you are. Sometimes that goes great with a decent burger.

Score: 7.7.

Red Robin?

“You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.” Charles Kuralt

“Suspense is worse than disappointment.”
Robert Burns

I am not sure I would agree with the Poet Burns on the above quote.
Red Robin is touted as a great burger place, gourmet even? And they seem to be popping up all over. I must say their PR is GREAT, I had never been, and the commercial make it feel REALLY fun! Let’s continue…

The Digs: I experienced my burger twice. I had no time to meet with Mary so I called ahead grabbed the burger to go and hit the road… more on THAT in a moment. When I went back in I saw a place that wants to be fun… it is certainly a place the kiddos can go. Plenty of room for the Fam.

At First Sight: My first take out burger was flat and dry. I decided that I had not upheld my part of the taste-the-burger- in-the-restaurant pact so I cancelled this experience except to say… no take out. Burger I was given IN House… not so flat but still looked kind of dry. I DID ask for as rare as possible, this time.

At First Bite: As I have stated I am a mustard, onion and pickle kind of guy on those cheeseburgers. I am thinking that maybe some mayo or BUTTER would have freshened up my burger a bit. It wasn’t a desert but kind of dry… what f I dunked it in my diet coke?
The Finish: I was certainly expecting more… I certainly cannot believe my friends have such low expectations of burgers – but it did NOT hold up to its hype. Red Robin NOT rockin’ all night long!

Score: 5.0

Caitlin Rose backstage at Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo experience from Daina Goodwin

Dr. Dog

Joe Robinson w/ Elmwood

Dave Rawlings Machine

Smoking Joe Robinson backstage at Bonnaroo


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