Last Saturday, Philip and I had several options that we were considering for our Saturday blog post restaurant outing. We’ve not been eating out much lately, and in fact have decided to focus on the blog when we go out to eat, which means that our eating out needs to center around local restaurants. I was craving a burger, so when Philip suggested Urban Stack, I was game. I had heard mixed reviews about Urban Stack, which is owned by the same proprietors that own Taco Mamacita. I hadn’t actually heard anyone say that it was bad, but I had heard reviews from great to okay. So….we headed downtown.
When we headed into Urban Stack, we were greeted by a very friendly hostess and seated immediately (we got there just in time, because by the time we got our food there were people waiting outside). We immediately noticed the cool, dark wood and interesting decor. The atmosphere in this eatery is great…so I was sold there. I was also sold by the poster hanging right above our table that explained Urban Stack’s commitment to local foods, which, if you have read my blog for long, you know is very important to me:
Urban Stack takes pride in our community and region. We work with local farmers and vendors for the absolute best quality of meats and ingredients available. We have specifically chosen a wide variety of meats that are either all-natural, organic, grass fed, free-range or from sustainable and humane farms. We are committed to freshness, quality and homemade goods. We would like to thank our local vendors and friends: Benton’s Family Farm, Clumpie’s Ice Cream, Niedlov’s Breadworks, Sequatchie Cove, Sweetwater Valley Farm, and Springer Mountain Farm.
Urban Stack is the home of “killer burgers and manly drinks.” I don’t know about the drinks….although they did have quite a lengthy beer, wince, and drink menu. Of course, I had water. I was hoping that the killer burger part was true, of course. As you might expect the burger selection was massive-20 in all, including two turkey burgers, a mushroom burger, a veggie burger, and a lamb burger. The standard burger is 100% Angus, but you can substitute a chicken breast for $2.00 or Wagyu (from the same type of cattle that brings us Japanese Kobe beef) for $3.00 (although a couple of the burgers include Wagyu). Burgers are served on a Niedlov’s bun made especially for Urban Stack, which can be subbed with a whole wheat Niedlov’s bun or a lettuce wrap (which makes me ask-why? Didn’t the low-carb craze end about 5 years ago? Give me my carbs!!!! But I digress.).
I toyed with the idea of ordering the gourmet bacon cheeseburger: American Kobe-style Wagyu beef, bacon-onion compote, lettuce, and gruyere-blue cheese sauce. Ultimately, though, I decided I wanted a basic, classic burger for my first try. I figured that would make it easier for me to compare the Urban Stack burger to other burgers that I’ve had. I decided on the basic Bacon Cheeseburger: Benton’s bacon, Tillamook cheddar, chipotle ketchup, house sauce, balsamic onions, tomato, and lettuce. Philip decided on the Farm Burger: 100% grassfed beef, sun-dried tomato relish, Sequatchie Cove Cumberland cheese, celery mayo and lettuce. The server asked us if we wanted “pink or no pink”; of course, we both ordered pink (don’t lecture me about e coli! I’m a healthy adult. I’ll take my risks.). He ordered house-cut fries, and I ordered onion rings.
The food came out within 10 or 15 minutes and looked fantastic. Each burger had a small condiment cup with housemade pickles (I am assuming that these were refrigerator pickles-they were still very fresh-tasting and not super vinegary. They were slightly spicy and the red pepper flakes were visible). We bit into our burgers….and they tasted fantastic too. The pink was slight but not pervasive-I don’t like to feel like I’m eating raw ground beef. The thick-cut Benton’s bacon was fantastic, and the balsamic onions added a hint of sweetness. The onion rings were very large and not greasy. Philip also loved his burger. We’re big grass-fed beef fans, and if you’ve ever had it, you know that there is a definite difference in the flavor from grain-fed. Philip could definitely taste the “grass-fed” flavor in his burger. The hand-cut, skin-on fries were hot and very crispy and delicious. I think, though, that our favorite item at Urban Stack was the chipotle ketchup. If you aren’t a chipotle fan, you won’t like it…but if you like chipotle, you will love it. We definitely did.
As I neared the last third of my burger, I informed Philip that I was going to finish it. That was saying a lot, because it was huge….but I was feeling it, and I did. I can pack away a lot of food when I’m hungry. When I was done, though, I was definitely done, and dessert was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even notice the “five-dollar shakes” section on the menu, featuring shakes made with Clumpies ice cream. Five dollars is a bit steep for a shake anyway, though, at least for someone who rarely bothers with dessert in restaurants…which leads me to my one complaint about Urban Stack. Their menu does not say that a side is included with the burgers, so I was wondering if sides were a la carte….and when our server asked me if I wanted a side, that confirmed it. The burgers appear to be priced the same as what you might order in a casual dining chain (mostly $7-$8 range), but remember that this does not include a side, which will run you anywhere from $2.50 (fries or rings) to $5.00 (steakhouse sides like mac & cheese or creamed spinach). Now, I don’t have a problem with the cost…..but I would venture to guess that most people don’t even give a second thought to the concept that fries aren’t included, so they are probably a little shocked to get their bill. I found that a bit misleading.
That, however, was my only problem…so when you go, just be aware of that! I’ll admit, Urban Stack was not my favorite burger-that honor still belongs to The Terminal-but it was definitely a runner-up. I can’t wait to go back and order the aforementioned Gourmet Bacon Cheeseburger, or maybe the Good Day Sunshine, which includes a fried egg (!). Oh yeah, the menu also includes salads….but it’s a burger joint, so I won’t be ordering those anytime soon.
Try Urban Stack! They are located at 12 W. 13th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402. Their hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. You can call them at 423-475-5350, or check them out online http://urbanstack.com or on Facebook or Twitter .