Let’s Start with Burgers: Best Burgers in RVA

It’s nearly been a month since I last posted.

Where do I begin? I could make excuses about my priorities or tell you that I’ve been busy enjoying summer, but that doesn’t feel genuine. Both are true, but that’s not why I haven’t been here. For a while, I’ve felt like I’ve lost it. “Motivation” doesn’t seem to be the right word, nor does “inspiration”. And saying I’ve lost the “light” seems way too dramatic. I think about creating and writing a lot; but when it comes to actually doing it, I fall short…on time, on making the recipe correctly, on even just words. To be completely honest with you: I feel drained.

So while we wait for my personal roller coaster to brake, let me tell you about some awesome local burgers! It’s summer after all. And burgers just feel right.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Richmond is a city that loves its food and keeping things local. That’s why it didn’t surprise me when I learned the last week of June had been declared RVA Burger Week. Over 20 local establishments jumped on board to participate and show-off their meaty talents, each offering a signature $5 burger. Boyfriend and I were sold on different aspects (him: meat, me: trying new restaurants), but sold nonetheless! Throughout the week, we recruited friends and family to venture out with us to three different spots.

Carytown Burger & Fries
When Boyfriend and I have a serious craving for burgers, we go to Carytown Burgers & Fries. It’s basically a local alternative to Five Guys. Oh, except that it’s WAY BETTER. The burgers are huge, fresh, and come with a variety of toppings. Other highlights include fries (duh), tater tots, onion rings, milkshakes, and outdoor dining. I typically get either the Smokey or Rodeo burger–both have BBQ sauce–with either the regular or black bean patty, so I was excited to be getting one of my favorite meals for a few dollars less than usual! (For vegetarians, I highly recommend their black bean burger, but there are at least 6 other options for you to choose from!)

The Rodeo Burger: Three crispy onion rings, three strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato and smoky, sweet BBQ sauce

Phil’s Continental Lounge
Our plan to eat at The Continental Westhampton was foiled by a long wait, so we took the next best option: Phil’s Continental Lounge. This near-West End institution is actually the namesake of our original restaurant choice. A few years back Phil’s moved a block down from it’s starting location. The new spot was smaller than I imagined it to be, but we still managed to comfortably fit 7 people at an indoor table. I thought the atmosphere was quaint and casual…also, they have vodka limeades (!!!). I’m actually glad we ended up here, as I otherwise would’ve never ventured to it. Their featured burger definitely lived up to my expectations, but you know it’s going to be good when pimiento, bacon, onion rings are involved.

Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger: Half-pound burger with pimento cheese, bacon, fried onion ring, lettuce, tomato and mayo

The Savory Grain
Let me start by saying that this restaurant is new. Now I’ll tell you that from us walking into the door to burger on the table, it was 3 hours. Yes, The Savory Grain is pop-u-lar; and if you decide to eat there on a Friday night, please make reservations!  We had not thought to do this, so we sat at the bar, had a few drinks (they have a fairly creative cocktail list!) and soon became too invested to leave. Seeing as it was about 10:00PM when we were seated, we ordered both an appetizer and our burgers immediately. The calamari topped with a fried egg and various other things was delicious…or maybe I was just starving. (I’ll have to make a reservation to go back and try it again just to be sure.) The burger, however, did not particularly impress me, nor the $4 “side” of fries. Would you serve a burger with unmelted cheese?

The Savory Burger: A blend of angus chuck, brisket, short rib and strip loin char-grilled with smoked gouda, fresh tomato, baby arugula and a smoked tomato mayonnaise

Tell me about what summery food you’ve been noshing on!