Memphis: Huey's Serves Up Juicy Bar Burgers All Over Town
4872 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38117 (map); 901-682-7729; six more locations listed at hueyburger.com
Cooking Method: Flat griddle fried
Short Order: These plump, juicy burgers are deservedly famous in Memphis
Want Fries with That? Comes with big, flat, lightly salted planks that are on the soft side but tasty and great for soaking up ketchup
Price: World Famous Huey Burger w/fries, $5.50
You can't throw a french fry without hitting a Huey's in the city best known for being the birthplace of Rock & Roll. The little bar first famous for blues and burgers is now a seven-location local chain better known now for what you do with your toothpicks after you eat your burger.
That burger? It comes in nine varieties, like the Bluff City Burger with barbecue sauce, onion straws, cheddar, and bacon, and the Madison Avenue Burger served on sourdough with grilled mushrooms, tomato, bacon, and mayo. Other toppings include blue cheese, fried eggs, and jalapeños.
But if you want something simple, go for the World Famous Huey Burger. The 1/3-pound patty comes on a lightly buttered and toasted sesame seed bun with mayo on the top bun, iceberg lettuce chunks and tomato slices above the patty, cheddar or Swiss melted onto the patty, then pickle and onion on a mustard-smeared bottom bun. The bottom bun tends to get mushy from all the moisture; this is a burger best held upside down on consumption.
My burger was medium rare as requested. It was juicy enough to squirt when bitten into and had a nicely caramelized crust. These burgers are plump—Huey's makes a big deal out of the fact that they never smash their burgers with a spatula.
Huey's lightly seasons their burgers with proprietary blend of black pepper, garlic, and other spices the restaurants have been using since 1970 when Alan "Huey" Gary went down to John Gray's Big Star (a local grocery store) and came up with the blend of meat and spices. Aside from the seasoning, the meat is plenty flavorful on its own. The restaurant won't reveal the burger's components, but I'd say it tastes like chuck with a little sirloin mixed in and a little extra fat to boot.
The burgers tend to outshine the fries. The fat, long plank fries come out soft, great for soaking up ketchup, but they lack that crispness burger lovers tend to want.
The burger is held together with a toothpick—one that you'll want to launch into the black ceiling tile overhead ose with your straw. Owner Thomas Boggs does a contest every once in a while at each restaurant where customers are invited to guess how many toothpicks are in the ceiling at that time for a dollar a shot. The toothpicks are knocked down and counted, and the money raised goes to the Memphis Zoo. Huey's has raised more than $45,000 with the toothpicks.
About the author: Kat Robinson is a writer and storyteller out of Little Rock, AR who writes the Arkansas Times' Eat Arkansas blog and who explores Arkansas and the American South looking for great stories, interesting people and the next great piece of pie.