Panthers, I’ve found your new Thursday night pregame dinner spot.
The Burger Parlor, owned by ’04 alumna Julia Mahon and her husband, officially opened its second location in Old Towne May 2.
Located on North Glassell Street next to The Pizza Press, The Burger Parlor is perfect walking distance from all three of Orange’s coveted bars.
The burger joint prides itself on quality ingredients, with antibiotic- and hormone-free beef ground on-site, buns baked fresh every day and fries and onion rings made to order.
I started with the Smokey ($9.95), The Burger Parlor’s most popular burger. The juicy beef, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, was topped with smoked bacon, crispy onions, cheddar, arugula, oven-roasted tomatoes and a chipotle aioli.
The crispy bacon and onion provided a nice texture and the burger had a great kick from the chipotle and peppery flavor of the arugula. The bread was a bit tough on the edges but was very spongy so it absorbed the flavors and juices perfectly without falling apart.
The Parlor ($8.99), another fan favorite, was not as appealing. The burger is a copy of In-N-Out Burger’s Animal Style Burger, as it is topped with American cheese, lettuce, oven-roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and a secret Thousand Island dressing-esque sauce. The sauce was a bit tangier than the original, but overall, it was a pretty good basic burger if that’s what you’re into.
The Burger Parlor’s veggie burger, the Portland ($8.95), was the most interesting of the three. A fried mozzarella patty is topped with marinated beets, sprouts, arugula, pickled carrots, oven-roasted tomatoes and an herb sauce. Those looking to avoid the dairy, or the meat in any other burger, can substitute grilled or crispy portobello mushroom. I was nervous that the fried cheese would make the burger overly greasy, but it did not. The cheese remained crispy and the veggies made the entire experience fresh yet comforting.
The Burger Parlor excels at food not between buns as well.
The Plaza Fries ($7.95), the burger joint’s take on Animal Style Fries, are just like In-N-Out’s, except on massive steroids. Not only are these fries smothered in sauce and onions, there’s a whole heck of a lot of chili as well. The chili is mild, yet packs an awesome amount of flavor. The meal (it’s that big) would be the perfect drunkies, but it badly needs more sauce to bring the flavors together.
The sweet potato waffle fries with the honey chipotle aioli ($4.59) were my favorite. I’ve never had sweet potato fries that were so crisp, and the sauce has a mild kick that complements the fries.
The beer-battered onion rings ($4.29) were a bit underwhelming. The rings are huge and perfectly sweet and crispy but lacked seasoning. Fortunately, the feta ranch dipping sauce is thick and delicious, so dip in generously.
The Burger Parlor opens every day at 11 a.m. and closes when they “run out of buns.” The owner says that should be around 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and up through 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, making it the perfect place to take a break from the bars and indulge.
If you’re looking to keep pounding back those drinks, though, The Burger Parlor has 24 beers on tap. Try the Old Chub – this Scotch ale is the creamiest and most delicious beer I’ve tried, and is definitely better than anything you can get at The District Lounge.