Brentwood’s roster of burger & brew destinations is deep and flavorful.
As bulldog reporters and critical thinkers, Jay Wilke and I received the dangerous — and high profile — assignment of searching for Brentwood’s Best Burgers And Brews. Jay and I have known each other for years and this wasn’t our first Burger & Brew Tour. So we had to lay down some ground rules:
- Upscale eateries only. Not that there’s anything wrong with dives or fast food.
- Restaurants had to be within the Brentwood footprint. Or pretty darn close.
- Each restaurant had to have a serious bar.
No time to waste so let’s get right to it.
THE GRILLE PRIME CHEESEBURGER
Del Firsco’s Grille
This was our first stop so I thought it made sense to open the tour with something traditional. And The Grille Prime Cheeseburger was outstanding. Gotta admit, I wasn’t anticipating something quite like this from a two-patty burger. But it was grilled perfectly and was juicy as could be. That and the cheese, sauce, bacon and other toppings made for a gloriously fine mess. I’m not a fan of sweet potato fries but I tried them this time and they made for a great match. As did the Yazoo Hop Perfect IPA.
Del Frisco’s is known for grilling some of the best steaks in the area, so I was really looking forward to their burger. With its two grilled patties, melting cheese, and sloppy sauce, I couldn’t help but think of it as a high-end version of a Big Mac. Not that there is ever anything wrong with a Big Mac. The meat was truly the star here. Honestly, you could probably just get a plain burger with no toppings and do just fine. For my beer, I went with Mantra’s unique Saffron IPA, brewed right here in Williamson County.
THE MORNING AFTER
Stout Burgers and Beers
According to Jay
Stout specializes in two things: burgers and beers. Definitely my kind of place. Their continuously rotating and well-curated tap list is easily one of the best in town. I couldn’t resist the Amarillo Frills, a local double IPA from Bearded Iris. You couldn’t ask for a better burger to go with beer than the “Morning After.” The oozing fried egg, aged cheddar, rosemary bacon, chipotle ketchup and meat ground in-house daily made for an absolutely decadent burger. If you ever happen to see my wife shopping next door at Nordstrom Rack or HomeGoods, I guarantee you will find me sitting right here.
According to Ed
We couldn’t decide between the Truffle Shuffle, Stout Burger or Goombah. So we settled on The Morning After. The flavors all worked great together. Everything was fresh, but the toppings – including the egg – did not overwhelm the burger. And for an extra $5 you can add a second patty. Not bad. I broke with tradition and ordered onion rings and did not regret the decision. Pair it with The Champion – a locally brewed American Pale Ale from The Black Abbey – and call me in the morning.
THE GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER
When you think of good burgers, you don’t think of Mexican restaurants. Here at Sopapilla’s, one of Brentwood’s best burgers is hiding in plain sight. The Green Chile Cheeseburger features cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a generous helping of Hatch green chile. Honestly, I would put those peppers on just about everything I eat. The seasoned fries were great, too, but Sopapilla’s chips and signature salsa make any meal better. To cool things down a bit, I went with a Dos Perros, Yazoo’s excellent take on a Mexican-inspired brew.
This was a difficult assignment for me because whenever I go to Sopapilla’s I order the Stuffed Sopapilla with braised chicken and Hatch Green Chile. But this was for research so I checked my partisanship at the door. Fortunately the Green Chile Cheeseburger is packed with many of the flavors that draw me to Sopapilla’s in the first place. This burger is a great interpretation of an American classic. It’s a little bit of an acquired taste, but it’s one that is acquired quickly. My Good People IPA was drained quickly as well.
DURANGO BURGER and SMOKEHOUSE BURGER
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
I’m a sucker for anything spicy, so the Durango Burger jumped out at me. The hefty chile-spiced burger is served on a buttered brioche bun and smothered in fried onions, pepper jack cheese, pickles and a roasted garlic ranch dressing (which goes great with the seasoned steak fries, too). The hearty portion ensures that you won’t be eating anything else for the rest of the day (and maybe even part of the next). I always drink local whenever I can, so I went with a hoppy and refreshing HopJack from Blackstone.
I had the Smokehouse Burger and liked how the Java BBQ Sauce hit the right level of spicy sweetness. The applewood-smoked bacon was nearly worth the price of admission all by itself. And did someone say tater tots? You cannot go wrong with this burger. It’s as honest as the day is long. Just like a Sam Adams Boston Lager. I’ve been known to have several of them and I’m told there are pictures to prove it. But that’s another story and we’re at the end of this one.