Sometime after the H&F ten o'clock burger blew up, restaurants all over the city started putting classic diner-style double stack burgers on their menus. These places have taken a classic double quarter pounder with cheese style burger and reinterpreted it with top notch ingredients and expert preparation. This style has everything I want in a burger. Made well, these burgers are super juicy and cheesy with great crust and have the perfect bun-to-meat ratio. I love these burgers so much that I recently declared that I must try them all. Yep, all of them. For science.
Well, this is gonna take a while. So far, I've counted over fifteen double stack burgers around the city. I'm going to work my way through them and and rate each of them from 1 to 100. I'll revisit burgers I already know and love and try any new ones I can find. I'm not limiting myself to traditional versions with only cheese onion and pickles, but the burger has to be in the thinnish double cheese burger family to receive consideration.
To start things off, I went with a burger I've had and one I haven't: The Meatstick from One Eared Stag in Inman Park and The Caboose from Stationside on the West Side.
"The Meatstick" at One Eared Stag
(1029 Edgewood Ave.)Formerly an off-menu item sold only at the bar, "The Meatstick" is now on the menu at lunch and brunch. Pretty much everything that chef Robert Phalen creates is unbelievable, and this is no exception.
The Meat: Two 4 oz. patties made with a combination of chuck and ground bacon. The bacon is there but not prominent. I would guess only around 5% of the meat is bacon. The patties are expertly charred on the flattop but are supremely juicy. The meat is seasoned both salt and pepper (many other places use only salt).
The Bun: House made brioche bun toasted on the griddle. Super soft but does not fall apart.
The Cheese: Kraft singles. Melty and gooey.
The Toppings: Thinly shaved white onions and and house made bread and butter pickles.
The Verdict: 97/100. A nearly perfect burger. Great crust but incredibly juicy and flavorful. I wouldn't have necessarily known that there was ground bacon if I hadn't asked, but the small amount of smoke works really well. The bun-to-meat ratio was perfect, and the pickles are among the best B&Bs I've had. This might be the perfect hangover food.
"The Caboose" at Stationside
Stationside is the companion restaurant connected to Terminal West, the music venue at King Plow Arts Center. Dan Brown, formerly of The Porter Beer Bar, has put together a really interesting menu of sandwiches available at lunch Tuesday through Friday and before shows. I was excited to try his double stack burger, called "The Caboose" when I saw it on the menu. Unfortunately, this one did not, ahem, stack up favorably.
The Meat: Two Brasstown Beef chuck patties, roughly 4 oz. each. The meat was tough and dry and was under-seasoned.
The Bun: Soft white bun, probably from H&F Bread Co.
The Cheese: 1 slice cheddar, 1 slice Provolone. Not adequately melted.
The Toppings: 2 slices bacon, dill pickles, onion jam.
The Verdict: 80/100. The tough, dry meat kills this burger. I'm guessing that all of the juice was squeezed out with a spatula on the flattop. The cheddar and provolone fought one another and were not nearly melty enough. I'm also not a huge fan of sliced bacon on burgers, which tends to pull out with the first bite, and this bacon was fairly ordinary. I really liked the onion jam, though. This one might be worth revisiting in the future to see if my experience was atypical.