In my role as the Man Who Ate the
Town, I have eaten a lot of burgers. You can look at me and tell that I am
telling the truth about that. I have been teasing my Top 5 burgers in
Winston-Salem on Instagram for a while. Finally, someone called me out and
asked when I was going to post my list of best burgers and stop dangling it
like a carrot over everyone’s head.
That got me to thinking. I honestly
can’t say what the five best burgers are because I don’t know that I’ve had the
five best. I have a couple of places that I return to often because I love
them. I have one location in my own Top 5 that was ravaged by fire and another
that has closed permanently, so I had to rethink that personal list.
I knew what I had to do: I resolved to
try as many as I could.
I think of summer as burger season. I
think a lot of folks do. So I decreed it to be the Summer of Burgers.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start
of summer, even though it is a few weeks before the official start, and Labor
Day is the unofficial ending, though it doesn’t quite yet feel like fall. But Tuesday,
May 28 — the day after Memorial Day — was National Burger Day. What better time
to start? The Summer of Burgers runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day at which
time I will formulate my favorite burgers into a Top 5 Best or Top 10 Best
However, there are some caveats here.
I won’t eat burgers from national
fast-food chains such as the Golden Arches, the Crown, Hardly’s or the Little
Red Head. If they are regional chains, preferably North Carolina-based, I will have
those (talking to you, Cook Out). All burgers under consideration must be
available on a regular basis — a consistent menu item. There have been a couple
of burgers that were “made special” for me but while I did document them and
share them on Instagram, I can’t enter them into the list. The submission must
be available to everyone.
I am restricting this to the
Winston-Salem area only. Once this is over, I may spread across the Triad, but
for now, I’m keeping it in Winston. After all, the “Town” in the Man Who Ate
the Town is Winston-Salem. Rest assured, I am taking submissions from my
friends, podcast listeners and readers of my blog as I need to make sure I have
the whole town covered.
Then there’s the health aspect. I
have been eating healthier lately, and I don’t want to regress on that. I
recently found out that my doctor follows me on social media. Talk about a
weird conversation. My wife watches what I eat, too. So I made a promise to
both my wife and doctor that I would have no more than three burgers a week,
and that I would increase my green veggie and fruit intake to sort of balance
So far, my list is full of surprises.
Some places that I thought would be great have turned out average products, while
some that I dreaded going to have been out of this world. I stopped predicting
how I would like a burger after the first week; now I try to clear my head of
expectations and just let the burgers speak for themselves.
There will be categories, as most
diner burgers cannot be compared to gourmet burgers and vice versa. I am not
saying that one is better than the other; I let each stand on its own merit. I find
that the right accoutrements can make an outfit better and that is certainly
the case with burgers. Certain buns work better than others, and some configurations
are just for flash and excess. The ones that fit the burger best gets higher
marks. All of this is considered; I keep a spreadsheet to document my findings.
So far, I’m sticking to the regimen,
but I’ve still got a lot of burgers to eat before Labor Day.
I just keep reminding myself that
it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.