Gerry Glynn, Digital Journalist

Eating and Drinking in Jacksonville, FL

 

Our curated Jacksonville burger list comes from Gerry Glynn, creator Gerry Glenn of the website Eat.Drink.Jax.

Officially launched in 2012, EatDrinkJax is a food-seeker’s guide to Jacksonville. Not only does it have a directory with more than 800 local restaurants and bars (complete with addresses, phone numbers and menus), but it goes behind the scenes and does one-on-one interviews with food folks — like the owner of the Jacksonville Hamburger Mary’s, and city’s own Burger Geeks.

EatDrinkJax has a small in-house review team, but it also highlights reviews from leading critics around the city. Plus, the website offers an eclectic collection of city food and drink recommendations, including a craft beer guide, gluten-free listings, and a directory of Golden Spoon winners from Florida Trend magazine.

EatDrinkJax Logo

Because EatDrinkJax is neutral platform for chefs and restaurateurs, Glynn was reluctant to give a personal “best-of” opinion, but he did talk to us about hamburgers, citing examples of who does things right in Jacksonville.

BBR: What makes a great burger?
For me it’s a combination of a lot of things. Taste is the most important. A burger needs to be flavorful while being neither dry nor greasy. Mojo is an example of a smokey, barbecued burger with fabulous taste.

Being cooked right. I like a burger that’s cooked to medium-rare. Many places want to serve their burgers well done but, for me, that takes away from the flavor. Black Sheep does a perfect job of cooking their burgers to order.

A good bun helps a lot, although I eat most of my burgers without a bun. When I do have a bun it needs to be substantial enough to hold the burger together without being intrusive on the taste of the burger itself. I want to primarily taste the burger, not the bun. Pinegrove Market gets the balance just right.

Done right, toppings can enhance a burger. But like the bun, I don’t want toppings getting in the way of the main course. Epik Burger in Jacksonville has a ton of innovative toppings and is an example of a place that gets their toppings right.

Korean BBQ Burger
Korean BBQ Burger from Epik. BBQ Marinade, Kim Chi, Fried Egg, Green Onions (Photo courtesy EatDrinkJax).

The ambiance of the restaurant can enhance the enjoyment of eating the burger. Price matters too. I’d rather pay a little more to get a great burger but when I pay more my expectations are higher.

BBR: What burger is on your bucket list?
My bucket list is actually to try as many different burgers as I can. I love burgers and will often gravitate to the burger on a menu. But, I’d rather risk an unknown burger than play it safe, so I explore whenever I can.

BBR: What burger do you love but are embarrassed to admit?
I’m not actually embarrassed about this but I love McDonalds, Wendy’s, Hardee’s and a lot of fast food places. The global success of the US fast food industry is testament to what a great job they’ve done delivering solid products with great service, prices and consistency. Even though I mostly eat at local restaurants in Jacksonville I tend to eat at fast food chains when I’m on the road and need to make a quick decision about a fast meal.

5 Very Bunny Best Burger Joints

No Rabbits Were Harmed …

Just for fun, we hunted down some of the most interesting bunny-related best burger joints the U.S., (plus one down under).

 

1. Bunny’s Onion Burger*
Oklahoma City, OK (Two locations)

Bunny's Onion BurgerAt Bunny’s it’s about the onions. They are thin-sliced and grilled, then piled high on a slightly greasy burger. Some like it with melty American; some smothered with Bunny’s chili, or both.

This burger joint has been putting its own spin on the iconic Oklahoma City onion burger since back in the 1970s when the place was called Joe’s Onion Burger. Fresh meat and Joe’s original burger recipe make this place a favorite with locals and travelers alike.

Bunny’s Onion Burgers is located at 5020 N. Meridian Ave., and on the south side, 1023 S. Meridian Ave.

*We have no idea why the official website links to a Valium ad.

 

2. The Blind Rabbit – A Burger and Whiskey Bar
Jacksonville Beach, FL

A little more than a year after rolling out their successful Jacksonville food truck, the Salty Fig (later renamed the Blind Fig), Stanford brothers, John and Jeff, opened The Blind Rabbit.  A Southern fusion joint, tinged with hints of Creole, The Blind Rabbit is a full-service, sit-down restaurant, complete with appetizers and soups, and sides and desserts. It’s the whiskeys and burgers, however, that are the draw.

Blind Rabbit Burger (by Susan K, is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

The restaurant name pays homage to the speakeasy days when a place named for a blind animal (i.e., Blind Tiger, or Blind Pig) denoted a place to get illegal hooch. And hooch they have. The Blind Rabbit serves more than 100 whiskeys (and moonshine), specialty cocktails, wine and beer (with ample local, craft selections) — and even hard milkshakes, like the Maple Bacon made with bacon-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

The burgers are high-end half pounders made from a blend of brisket, chuck and short rib.  The burger menu ranges from a “Classic Chesseburger,” with Tillamook Cheddar, to thoughtfully bold creations like The Southern Burger, with fried green tomato, Creole pimento cheese, and peach habanero hot sauce. Each burger, or other “handheld”, is served with your choice of “root” veggie side (shredded tobaccos onions, baby turnips or carrots, or hand-cut fries or chips), and a dipping sauce. Think curry mayo or Bourbon-spiked Creole mustard.

Find the Blind Rabbit at 311 N. Third St., Suite 107, Jacksonville Beach.

 

3. Red Rabbit Drive In
Duncannon, PA

This May, the Red Rabbit Drive In will have been serving burgers, BBQ and shakes for 50 years. Still run by relatives of the original Red Rabbit owner, not much has changed. When you pull in, just imagine the car next to you is a Chevy Impala or a Mustang convertible (from back when the car’s lines were cooler), and you’ll experience the Red Rabbit almost like it was when it opened.

Red Rabbit Drive InCar Hop at the Ready (Photo by Andy S., via Yelp)

Even their signature Bunny Burger hasn’t changed much. It’s a modest piece of meat (a la 1960s) that comes with the de rigueur lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, but also hickory-smoked bacon, cheese, and a secret sauce that’s said to be the key to the burger’s charm. And who can resist fries sprinkled with “bunny dust”?

They make chili when it’s cold, and they have a Perry County “disjointed” fried chicken dinners. Wash it down with a birch beer or an ice cream soda.

If you can’t (like the sign says) “make the Red Rabbit a habit,” at least drive in for a taste of nostalgia. It’s only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s also closed seasonally (December and January).

The Red Rabbit Drive IN is at 60 Benvenue Road, (Route 322), just above the Clark’s Ferry Bridge.

 

4. Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar
Olympia, Washington

The Iron Rabbit is an up-scale pub, offering a lot more than burgers (like a rotating line up of craft beers and local, craft spirits) but the burgers are often mentioned among the best in the city. From the five regular menu burgers, the Sicilian Burger emerges the star. The handcrafted, balsamic glazed burger comes with Cypress Grove chèvre, roasted garlic and red peppers and caramelized red onions. It’s topped with organic spring greens and pesto aioli, all on a toasted brioche bun. Burgers can be served on a gluten-free bun, and a portabello mushroom or veggie burger can replace the beef (or lamb).

Rancher Burger at the Iron Rabbit (Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Despite the full bar and a “hoppy hour,” the Iron Rabbit is family-friendly. They even have a Kid Iron Burger, topped with Tillamook white cheddar. Carrot sticks or sliced apple come on the side.

When Christian Skillings opened the Iron rabbit in 2005, one of his goals was a low-impact, sustainable business. Thus far, his commitment to local and ethical sourcing has not only helped the planet and local producers, but has given his diners a fresh and tasty menu. Beyond burgers, a sampling might include warm brie with honey, a prawn cilantro white balsamic salad, and a main dish like a New York strip with brandy green peppercorn sauce.

Iron Rabbit is at 2103 Harrison Ave NW, in Olympia’s Westside neighborhood.

 

5. Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining
Sydney, New South Wales

There are two reasons to visit the Rabbit Hole: mind boggling molecular cocktails and the hamburgers. Named one of the top burgers in the world, the “Rabbit Hole” is a wagyu beef burger on a brioche bun with Brie cheese and house-made tomato relish. The hand-cut fat chips (wedge fries for us Yanks) are notable too; crispy fried with a moist and crumbly inside. According to Rabbit Hole menu, you can sample the burger, downsized to sliders, on Tuesday evenings. And if your game for the raw thrill of fatted beef, try the Black Angus tartare with chive mayonnaise and a soft egg yolk.

Molecular Potables (by David Hoffmann, of  Davidsbeenhere.com)

Burgers are served in the main room and in the bar. The bar is where you will find some curious and potent potables. we’ll spare the words. Just watch the video by travel expert, David Hoffmann.

Take a trip down the Rabbit Hole, tucked in a basement at 82 Elizabeth St.

“We Love Hamburgers”

Burger Lift Creators Talk Burgers

Burger lovers, tired of soggy buns? The Burger Lift is the must-have gadget that will save your burger. Created by burger fans, just like you, the Burger Lift is a small trivet that elevates your juicy burger off the plate, keeping your bun high and dry.

  “The Burger Lift was based off one simple idea; we love hamburgers.”

Previously, we spoke to the Burger Lift team about the genesis of their bun-saving device. Now, we talk to the team about the meat of the matter – burgers.

We love hamburgers
From the Burger Lift Kickstarter campaign

Meet the Team

In their Kickstarter video pitch to fund production of the Burger Lift, the team says their idea was based on one simple idea – “we love hamburgers.”

In a March interview, Best Burger Review, asked them about that. Their hamburger passion is clear.

The Burger Lift Team
The Burger Lift Team: Matt, Jasmine and Mike

Matt Hureau, is a middle school teacher in the Bronx. He came up with the Burger Lift concept. Growing up, Matt says his main exposure to burgers was McDonald’s and his Dad’s grilled burgers, which he apologetically said resembled hockey pucks.

Matt — My real love for burgers began when I moved to New York 12 years ago, and I discovered places like Corner Bistro and Shake Shack. From there, I expanded my horizons and started regularly visiting some of the top New York burger places with a few friends. Living in the city and without our own outdoor space, opportunities to grill are few and far between, although we did invest in a grill pan that does a solid, if not spectacular, job.

Matt met Jasmine Katatikarn 15 years ago at at Vassar College. She is the lead Burger Lift designer. By day, she’s an animation artist on movies (Ice Age Series, Rio Series, Epic…). She’s also married to Matt.

Jasmine — I like the adventure of trying different burgers. Burgers are a very simple straight forward idea and it’s the little things that can just make it that much better – the choice of the cheese, the type of meat… the type of bun!  We also enjoy experimenting with our own burgers in the comfort of home…” Jasmine echoes Matt’s lament about lack of outdoor space, “but we do our best!,” she said.

Jasmine brought fellow animation artist, Mike Tanzillo into the burger Lift project. Mike is in charge of production; translating the Burger Lift designs into a real-world product. His first love is the home cooked burger.

Mike — I love playing with the flavors and getting everything right. From the grill marks, to the toppings, to the cooking temperature. Nothing says summer, friends, and relaxation to me quite like putting some burgers on the grill.


Burger
 Favorites and Fantasies

BBR: What is your favorite burger? 

Matt — I really love In-N-Out.  I’ve been known to search locations pretty much anytime I’m anywhere near the west coast.

Jasmine –I have a secret love for a juicy lamb burger with feta – I know, it’s not the traditional choice (perhaps this should go down in the embarrassed to admit section).

Mike — You can’t beat a burger at a summer cookout. It could be the greatest Michelin rated restaurant in the world and I will prefer a simple burger off the grill outside with friends and family any day!


BBR: What’s the Best Burger in your current city (NYC) 

Matt — I’ve only had it once, but the Bash Burger* at Lure Fishbar is amazing.  I definitely need to get back there. (*The Bash Burger isn’t on the menu, so ask for it).

JasmineLa Esquina NYC. They have a great juicy burger – and what makes it even better is that they top it with fresh avocado!

MikeThe Spotted Pig

 

BBR: Which burger is on your bucket list?

Matt — I’m not sure about bucket list, but I’ve been meaning to try the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern for a while now.

Jasmine –Every burger I haven’t eaten yet!

MikeHoleman & Finch Public House Burger in Atlanta.  I have heard enough legends about that place that I need to try it.

 

BBR: What burger do you love but are embarrassed to admit?

Mike — There is no such thing as a burger I am embarrassed to eat!

Matt — I’m with Mike. No shame in my game… Give me a burger and I’ll happily eat it!

Jasmine — Agreed.  You put meat (even veggie), cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce on a bun and it’s pretty hard not to eat it.

 

The Kickstart

With just a bit more than a week to go with their Kickstarter fundraising, the Burger Lift  has 125 backers and is almost 70% funded.  However, Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. If you want to see the Burger Lift become a reality, they need to reach their goal of $10,001 by April 14. Pledges start at a dollar, but the more you pledge, the better the swag.

Burger Lift
Save the bun. Elevate your burger.

You can have your very own Burger Lift (and a koozie) for $20, but you can get double the deal for a mere $8 more – Two Burger Lifts and two koozies, for $28. Check out the Burger Lift Kickstarter campaign and pledge today. Some pledge packages are limited, so don’t miss out.