Burgers are hot, and new burger joints keep cropping us to remind us of the trend and tempt us with their own particular rendition. While everyone probably has their favorites and old stand-bys, today we’re taking a trip around town to survey four of the newer entries into the running.
Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar
2200 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504-644-4311
This very substantial new building took shape slowly at the corner of Magazine and Jackson and debuted about a year ago as Charcoal’s (the name references a dog, not a cooking method -- they use a griddle, not a charcoal fire). It’s a build-your-own burger format with just about every conceivable option, from bison and antelope patties to fresh basil leaves or boudin balls as toppings. The basic “house beef” burger is a fine example of the straightforward, mid-sized cheeseburger – not a monster, not a slider, but a juicy, loose-ground patty, cooked to spec on a puffy, soft bun. Order at the counter downstairs, or go upstairs for table service and an option for balcony seating.
3934 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 504-309-7474
This new, locally-developed fast food concept is out to create a better burger from the drive-thru. These are slim, juicy burgers that will not rock your world, exactly, but are just the thing when you are on the run and don’t want to submit to a fast food chain. The orders come together just as fast as at the big brands, but the quality and preparation is a world apart. Cut thin and in-house, the fries are good, and there’s also an option for edamame (steamed soy beans in the shell) if you’re looking to feel a little more virtuous with your drive-thru lunch.
Jaeger Burger Co.
872 Harrison Ave., New Orleans, 504-482-1441
Jaeger Burger Co. took over the small storefront that many people will remember as the longtime home of Lovechio’s, a Lakeview deli from the pre-Katrina era. This is a very small operation with counter service and a short menu of burgers and sandwiches (there’s a grilled fish sandwich and a chilled shrimp salad), and a few sides, including poutine-style cheese fries. The burger is the reason to come, and it is outstanding.
Fire House Burgers
3224 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, 504-875-4600
This is a new burger joint in Fat City from a very familiar name in the neighborhood. The owners of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant opened Fire House Burgers just around the corner from their famous flagship. It’s a very casual place, with a tavern/bar-and-grill feel to it. The burgers are straightforward – ground in-house, served on crusty, Leidenheimer buns. You can dress them up with everything from bacon to guacamole, but the original is a good place to start. One key part of the operation is borrowed from Drago’s: the kitchen uses the same garlic butter sauce from its renowned char-broiled oysters on the burgers.