I’ve seen Big Al’s Gourmet Butter-Made Burgers several times, as I was going by. The time that stuck in my mind the most was during the Peachtree Road Race – they’re on the left, just as you get ready to hit the steepest part of “Cardiac Hill”. I really thought about stopping and getting one that day, rather than going on in the rain, but we kept walking. Instead, I stopped in on this rainy Thursday night, when traffic was miserable heading into town on Peachtree Street. There were only two tables (technically one was a couple at the bar) in the place waiting on their meals when I arrived, so it was fairly empty. I studied the menu on the wall beside me.
Then I studied it some more. And a little more. Actually a lot more – it took forever to be waited on. The lady told me that she’d be with me a couple of times and, 8-9 minutes after I walked in the door, I eventually ordered.
I chose the double version of Big Al’s Smoke Burger, which I had with hickory-smoked bacon, American cheese, cherry peppers and Al’s gourmet sauce (I held the lettuce, grilled onions and pickles), with a drink and a side of their hand cut fries. (Al’s gourmet sauce is oddly reminiscent of Russian dressing, but not as thick.)
They cook all of their burgers medium, which is fine with me. According to the menu, the burgers are cooked in their hand-churned gourmet butter and are made from 100% natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free certified Angus beef. The “butter burger” is a mid-western creation (the grand daddy of these burgers is, apparently, Solly’s in Milwaukee, who has made these for more than 80 years) that hasn’t had a proponent in this city, other than the excellent burger at the Optimist. After the patty is flipped, a scoop of their gourmet butter is placed on top and allowed to melt into the patty as it finishes cooking.
This definitely made for one of the juiciest / messiest burgers that I’ve eaten in a while. And among the priciest: this combo rang up at almost $16.00. A single would have cut the price by $2.70 and, while that would have still been on the high price end of the fast casual burger spectrum, it would have placed their pricing more in line. It was a good burger – I’ll have to go back and try a single simple cheeseburger and re-think where they fall in my personal rankings.