The grand opening of B&B Junction, the business that took over the space previously occupied by the original 4 Rivers Smokehouse, is Sunday. However, the invitation for the event, which is to feature “free burgers, salads, and more” plus samples from local purveyors, mentions “complimentary trolley rides to event from the corner of Park Ave. and Fairbanks Ave.,” which is about two miles away. Picturing crushing crowds (did I mention the part about free food?) I decided I would stop in for a pre-grand opening visit.
John Rivers, of course, moved his dizzyingly popular 4 Rivers to a newly constructed and larger space down the road. The new occupants did some spiffing up of the place, most notably paving the gravel parking lot (because apparently 4 Rivers never made enough money to make improvements <smirk>).
The setup of the place is essentially the same. Customers go inside the small space to place an order, then guests are given a card with their name on it to place at their table on the back patio. When the order is ready one of the staffers will deliver it.
The B&B in the name stand for burgers and beer. The sign out front also lists salads, but apparently the owners decided not to go with B&BS for the name.
We are, of course, seeing many burger speciality restaurants opening these days. For a foodstuff that has been around for, well, centuries, you’d think it was a brand new discovery. What B&B brings to the newness is a farm-to-table aspect that uses humanely raised meats, much of it grass-fed beef from Nines Mine Ranch in St. Cloud. Besides the grass diet, the cows are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones.
Thankfully, the menu is not one of those you-name-it options with thousands of combination possibilities. The beef burgers number only eight, and offer a nice creative variety.
I chose the last one, the one that aged cheddar cheese, roasted tomato chutney, guacamole, cilantro sour cream and an over-easy fried egg from a local farm. All of that on a thick-enough six-ounce patty.
When I placed the order, ready to have the fight over having it cooked medium-rare, the server asked, “Do you want it cooked with pink or no pink inside.” This, apparently, is the burger equivalent of pass/fail. I told her I wanted it medium-rare. (I should also note that I order a large coffee at Starbucks, and they can figure out whether that’s a grande or a venti.)
The burger I was served, sadly, had very little coloring that might be confused with pinkness (fail). But it wasn’t a bad burger. I loved the ooziness that the egg provided, even though that instantly made it a fork-and-knife burger. There was plenty of cheese on the juicy patty, though it did not appear to be or taste like cheddar. The bun was a brioche roll, which is not my favorite burger device. It has an airiness that is too delicate for a beefy burger.
I had also ordered a small side of fries with sea salt and black pepper. These, unfortunately, were so greasy as to glisten. Someone may want to check the temperature of the peanut oil to make sure it’s hot enough.
Staffers were all friendly, and the place had a Spic-n-Span freshness about it.
I was amused by the sign at the entrance that asked that people keep the door closed. When 4 Rivers occupied the former gas station structure, that door was rarely closed because there was a line of people stretching from inside out to the parking lot. B&B management may want to rethink that rule. Providing, of course, they can convince people to come stand in line for their burgers.
B&B Junction is at 2103 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a link to bbjunction.com, where you can also find details on Sunday’s grand opening. The phone number is 407-513-4134.