Beth's Burger Bar
A humorless young woman took my order: single patty, swiss cheese, classic fries. To my request to have the burger prepared medium-rare, she responded, “They come out medium anyway,” as if that were the same thing. It’s not, of course.
The same unsmiling woman was assigned to deliver my order, and she did so by walking through the dining area auctioning it off to the first person who would answer to my name, this even though all previous orders had already been delivered, only two other orders were placed after mine, and I was the only single diner among them, sitting alone in a restaurant that was largely empty.
The burger was largely forgettable, though I liked the toastiness of the bun. The meat, however, was dry, as overcooked meat tends to be. The fries were above average....
|Address||24 E. Washington St.|
This is the place that was formerly Tailgater's. It’s still primarily a sports bar mien, but one with a focus on burgers rather than barbecue. The burgers are more of the midlevel quality -- better than fast food, but not exactly gourmet quality. But a good burger nonetheless. Don't waste the extra $2.99 on the fries....
|Address||4233 E. Plaza Drive|
BurgerFi joins other mid-level burger joints such as Five Guys and Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries. I call them mid-level because they rise above the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, but they aren’t in the upscale category, such as you’d find at Fleming’s or Morton’s.
BurgerFi is certainly closer to the fast-fooders in its operation. It’s actually a fast-casual restaurant, one where you order at a counter and then take a seat to have your food delivered when ready. My burger was not very satisfying, and I had issues with the service. BurgerFi needs work....
|Address||538 Park Ave. S.|
Crooked Spoon Gastropub
Chef/owner Steve Saelg was one of the pioneers of Orlando’s food truck boom, and his Crooked Spoon truck was one of the more popular ones at area food truck rallies. But Saelg, who started out as a Wall Street financier before turning to a life in the culinary arts, longed to stop roaming. So he parked the truck and opened a gastropub with the same name.
In this case, gastropub probably means something closer to a sports bar. The atmosphere is casual, the bar is visible from most corners of the dining areas, and the requisite televisions hang all about.
I loved the pork belly BLT, a thick and delightfully fatty belly section with a crispy exterior, served on fresh brioche bread with spicy arugula, marinated tomato and remoulade. And as a wonderful surprise, an egg, sunny-side up, on top. It’s called a sandwich, but just try to eat it with anything but a knife and fork.
I also enjoyed the lobster grilled cheese, which was sort of like a lobster roll with a bit of melted cheeses, including brie, swiss and cheddar, on top. The sweet lobster meat was served with tomatoes on the buttery toasted bread....
|Address||200 Citrus Tower Blvd|
The burgers here are impressively big, about seven ounces, though honestly they looked bigger. I was annoyed before ordering when I was told by the venue’s chef, Bill Brown, that the burgers could not be cooked at a temperature below medium. Even more annoying was the reason. Instead of saying that the company was concerned about the possibility of bacteria in ground beef not being killed if undercooked — which I would have taken as a more honest answer — Brown said that they just feel the burgers are at their juiciest when cooked to medium, which I consider hooey.
|Address||1524 E. Buena Vista Drive|
Ford’s Garage is a burger and beer brand born out of Ft. Myers and now headquartered in Tampa. You’d think Michigan, right? But there is a natural connection to the Sunshine State over the Great Lakes State: Henry Ford had a Winter home in Ft. Myers, less than a mile from where the first Ford’s Garage restaurant opened in 2012 (Henry did not attend)....
|Address||8201 Vineland Ave.|