Southern Burger Co. has been through a few incarnations-a truck, then a spot in Warehouse Row, & now a restaurant in Ooltewah. They’re a Chattavore top ten!
Southern Burger Co. has long since moved from Warehouse Row, being replaced fairly recently by Two Ten Jack (which I plan to visit soon). They’ve closed up shop on their truck too, which I hate even though admittedly I never even ordered anything from their truck (food trucks are just too hard to keep track of around here, and I hate crowds, thus preventing me from making too many visits to the communal food truck gatherings).
We’ve actually visited the Cambridge Square (Ooltewah) location of Southern Burger Co. several times, including a visit when I was prepping to write my Top Ten Burgers list, on which Southern Burger was #9 with an overall burger score of 4/5. They were also on my original Top Five list at #4. I just haven’t taken the time to write an updated post…something I’m going to start working on for lots of restaurants I’ve reviewed over the last five (!!!) years.
The place was pretty crowded when we got there around 1:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, but we elected to sit outside because it wasn’t too hot and was even a little breezy. Plus, lighting. Our server, Jonathan, was with us very quickly to take our drink order and brought Philip some beer samples while he looked over the list. He ended up ordering an Oskar Blues Beerito Mexican Lager, which he’s had before (have I mentioned that Philip is now working at Sigler’s Craft Beer? It’s his favorite job ever.).
I usually just order the Southern Burger, which is a very basic burger, with American cheese and some bacon jam added. I decided to instead go with the Raleigh burger this time; how can you argue with pimento cheese, a fried egg, and a fried green tomato on a burger? I ordered the regular fries, which are skin-on house cut fries. You guys know I can’t resist. They were actually out of tots and onion rings (they have changed their onion rings since our original visit, when they were handmade…I loved them but I think a lot of people prefer the more uniform coating of frozen onion rings. ? BTW, they no longer serve the house-made ketchup automatically with the fries, though it is available upon request. They do put it on the burgers that are topped with ketchup. I guess it was just a little too different; they have Heinz on the tables now.). The burger was great – the pimento cheese was clearly house-made with big but not intrusive chunks of pimento as well as some sliced green onions. The coating on the fried green tomato was cornmeal based and just a little spicy, and the tomato was fried till nice and tender. I would have liked my egg a little runny (the yolk was pretty well done) but I guess that would have gotten a little messy. They no longer use Bread Basket rolls, opting now instead for Niedlov’s buns, which are delicious…but I did like that the Bread Basket rolls set them apart a little bit. Oh well.
Philip contemplated the chorizo burger but decided instead for the Bison burger, with grain-finished American bison, Boursin cheese, tomato and onion jam, and topped with an onion ring (when they aren’t out of them). Bison burgers can be a little dry if not done well, but this one was not dry at all. The Boursin cheese added a great creamy element and the tomato and onion jam cut through the richness of the burger and the cheese with a slightly acidic hit. Philip decided to get the waffle-cut sweet potato fries, which are sprinkled with sugar and served with soft cinnamon butter. They are absolutely delicious and I will probably order them next time, if I can talk myself out of the regular fries (that’s not likely, actually, but I can pretend – right?).
Our order was $30.97, which included Philip’s beer – pretty much in line with other comparable joints. The service was quick and Jonathan was very friendly. The atmosphere in the patio area was quiet and lovely, though when I stood up my legs looked like the waffle fries from the texture of my chair – oops. I should have sat on the bench and let Philip sit in the chair with his longer shorts. The inside of the restaurant is decorated perfectly for a burger restaurant, though I can’t describe it off the top of my head…sorry.
Just a note – I have read some negative reviews of Southern Burger Co. on Zomato and Yelp, but there are always plenty of people in there when I go in, and I have never experienced bad food or bad service there.
Southern Burger Co. still gets my vote for one of the best burgers in Chattanooga!
Southern Burger Co. is located at 9453 Bradmore Lane Suite 101, Ooltewah, TN 37363. They are open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can call them at 423-825-4919. Check out their website, southernburgerco.com. You can also like Southern Burger Co. on Facebook and follow @SBurgerCo on Twitter.
Original Post: January 14, 2012
Last summer, my friend Matt from Matt Eats Chatt posted about Southern Burger Co. Truck. I hadn’t heard about it, but Matt proclaimed their burger the best in Chattanooga. Since it was a truck, though, it wasn’t necessarily easy to catch them since they were usually downtown and also not out and about every day. I was dying to try it, though….so, imagine my delight when I saw on Facebook that they were soon to open a location in the food court at Warehouse Row. The new location joins the truck. It opened on January 5, and I couldn’t get there quickly enough!
First of all, let me say that it has been quite a while since I have been on that side of Warehouse Row, and their food court looks amazing! Right now, Southern Burger Co. and Petunia’s Silver Jalapeno are the only eateries that are open there, but it looks modern and beautiful and contemporary and cool, so hopefully some more great places will open up there!
It didn’t take us long to make our decisions about what to order. I went simple, choosing the Southern burger-just a basic burger with American cheese (I subbed in cheddar, though), mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Wickle’s pickles. I ordered my burger without onions, of course, and added some Tennessee bacon jam to my burger. I ordered a combo with fries. Philip chose the jalapeno burger, which came with cheddar cheese, fresh (not pickled) jalapenos, bacon jam, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. He also got a combo, but he got onion rings (so we could try both, of course). We were a little taken aback when Christian (the “founder”, who rang us up) asked what sauce we wanted with our sides-ranch, ketchup, etc. We both ordered ketchup. It rang up to something around $20-definitely not a “fast food price”-but after I tell you about the food, you’ll understand. This is not fast food, and you can’t get food like this at chain casual dining restaurant, where you’d pay around the same (or more) for a burger and fries that contain ingredients from who-knows-where. I am willing to pay a little more for quality ingredients from a local establishment. Well worth the price.
Like I said, this is not fast food. It took around ten minutes for us to get our orders, and we were fine with that, especially once we got our food. Each of our combos came in its own separate bag:
The burgers looked delicious, and so did the hand-cut fries. I think I have probably mentioned that I love hand-cut fries! I had heard read some negative remarks about their fries being greasy on their Facebook page, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Oh, and the ketchup? Homemade. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore! It was clear that the ketchup wasn’t bottled; it was a little thinner than normal, and there was a seed in mine, and it was spicy. Yea! It was wonderful…but yes, they did have packets of Hunt’s for you ketchup purists (you know who you are!). Okay…back to the food. The fries? I loved them! They were (a) hand-cut; (b) perfectly fried-some were crispy and some weren’t. I love that!; and (c) perfectly salted. Philip and I were having a discussion about the negative fry remarks and were speculating that perhaps people’s “fry expectations” were so diluted by fast-food fries that we don’t always recognize truly great fries. Just a theory. Anyway, I was very happy with the fries! And then….there was the burger. Ah, the burger. The bun was obviously handmade-you could tell by looking at it. The burger patty was fairly thin and it was crispy around the edges but slightly pink in the middle. Now, it takes talent to do that! For those of you who are squeamish about pink beef (you know I am not) I am sure you can request that it be well done! The cheese was also slightly crispy around the edges, which I loved! I loved the kick that the grainy mustard added, and the bacon jam was the perfect finish-sweet, delicious smokiness.
Philip loved his jalapeno burger as well. As I mentioned before, the jalapenos were fresh, not pickled. They were beautifully green, as green as the lettuce leaves. The cheddar cheese and bacon jam perfectly finished the burger. I tasted it and found it to be spicy but not too much so (I’m a wuss, but I could have eaten the whole thing-I think!). They also have a habanero burger, but Philip is getting over being sick and did not think that his recovering sore throat could hack it this time-maybe next time! The onion rings were obviously handmade-thickly sliced and not coated in a heavy jacket of breading, but just a light crumbly coating. They were not stiffly fried and honestly didn’t look like much-but they were delicious. I can’t even think of a way to describe them!
Christian came out to check on us after we had a chance to taste our food. He told me that their buns come from The Bread Basket, which makes me love them even more. Now, there’s another local bakery (which shall remain nameless) that seems to be the “trendy” place to get your bread from. Not that there’s anything wrong with that-they make great products, and they’re still a local business-but I love that Southern Burger Co. is doing something a little unexpected. Their bacon comes from Benton farm, and Christian even told me the secrets to their bacon jam-but I am sworn to secrecy! Before we left, Philip proclaimed his burger the best he’d ever had. I’m inclined to agree. It was amazing. Their slogan is “Don’t just kind of take a bite.” If you try it, you won’t be able to just kind of take a bite. Go check out Southern Burger Co.!