Today's reader recommendation comes from Bonnie Schultz (aka mfkfisher on AHT/Serious Eats), who lives in Central New Jersey. You can read more from Bonnie at her food blog The Blog That Ate New Jersey and find her on Twitter @heureblue. Thanks, Bonnie! If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, here's how to do it. —The Mgmt.
2 N. Five Points Road, West Chester PA 19380 (map); 610-431-3100; billyburger.net
Cooking Method: Char-broiled
Short Order: Leaner meat may compromise very slightly on juiciness, but the Angus beef yields a quality burger.
Want Fries with That? Waffle fries are delicious and come with tasty honey mustard dip.
Price: 1/4-pound beef burger, $4.95; with cheese, $5.25
Notes: Mainly a takeout place, only 3 tables to eat in
Billy Burger has been open since November 16, 2010. A welcome addition to the West Chester restaurant scene, it's a small hamburger joint serving hamburgers made of Angus beef. For vegetarians, there is a Moroccan lentil burger, and other food items include barbecue pork sandwich, roasted half chicken, Thai chicken wings, and a falafel sandwich. There's a long list of sides besides the usual fries: buttered corn, buttered peas, store-made coleslaw, and applesauce.
We ordered the Billy Burger with cheese, sautéed onions, and mushrooms, with waffle fries on the side. Unfortunately, co-owner Bill McConnell informed us that they were out of 'shrooms because, due to a snowstorm burying New Jersey and Pennsylvania in snow the day before, the produce man hadn't yet shown up. However, I am happy to report that my medium rare Angus burger with cheese and sautéed onions was quite tasty. In an area rife with fast food chains, a good burger made with Angus beef is a rarity.
There was a good burger-to-bun ratio on a lightly toasted bun. The burger was charbroiled on a fairly active grill (saw a few conflagration flare-ups during the entire process). Ordered the burger medium rare, and am happy to report that that was what I received, not medium or overly rare. There was a fair amount of pink in the center but not skirting on the dangerous edge of raw. Seasoning was minimal, letting the Angus beef speak for itself.
The onions were nicely sautéed and almost made up for the lack of mushrooms. Toppings were not listed on the board or the menu, yet the young woman taking our order asked us if we wanted "anything on our burger." It would help for the customer to know what the choices are.
Waffle fries were fresh, crispy and delicious. Bill presented them with a honey mustard dipping sauce that was a nice accompaniment though the fries tasted fine adorned only with salt.
Owners Sally and Bill McConnell have worked in the food business for years. Bill has opened Philadelphia restaurants such as Martini's Lounge and The Manayunk Brewing Co. Sally is the baker and has been a chef at Whole Foods Market, The Frog Commissary, and Jimmy Duffy's Catering. For all the gourmet cooking challenges they have faced, Bill stated that they have always loved the simple pleasures of a cheeseburger, french fries, and a coke. Billy Burger also serves milk shakes and old-fashioned fountain drinks such as a Black Cow (root beer float with chocolate or vanilla ice cream). A list of baked goods include farmhouse fruit crisp and cupcakes, all baked by Sally in their shop.
Billy Burger has a retro feel not only in its selection of food offerings but in its adherence to fresh and great tasting food. Their burgers are definitely worth the trip. I'd recommend arriving at 11:30 for lunch if you would like to eat in—it's mostly a takeout place and only has three tables.—Bonnie Schultz
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