Spending a long weekend in Atlanta, the burger at Holeman & Finch was the one thing I had to try. Long on my "Official List of Burger Anticipation," (the OLBA is accepting 2011 submissions...) the H&F burger is a griddled, two patty monstrosity with everything except the American cheese and red onions made in house. Exactly my kind of burger.
There are two ways to get this burger: either fight through the hoards of people clamoring to get one of a handful of burgers at 10 PM exactly, or go for brunch, when the burger is on the regular menu. We ended up going for brunch after first failing miserably on a Friday night, when my buddy's girlfriend was nastily quoted a four hour wait. We sure showed them by showing up on Sunday morning shortly before their 11:30 AM opening and getting in line...
We quickly grabbed a table at the bar. Despite a slight hangover, I tried to order a Sazerac to go with my burger, but was foiled by Georgia's Sunday alcohol laws. Damn you Georgia! I forgot that restaurants can't serve before 12:30, so I settled for a French press coffee.
After what felt like an interminable wait, our burgers arrived and all conversation ceased. Check out my expert cell phone photography. As usual, I could only take a couple pictures before giving in to hunger.
My first impression was of the intensely fatty and juicy beef, apparently a combination of equal parts brisket and flank steak from grass-feed cows. The onions (deftly placed between the two patties), slightly sweet and tart pickles, and an additional schmear of mustard provided balance. I could pick up the distinct flavors of flank steak, but not much brisket (except for the fattiness coating my mouth). Finally, the unsweetened, housemade brioche soaked up the meat juices without collapsing under their weight. This was an excellent burger, to be sure. My friends asked me to rate the burger on a scale of 10. This is not usually my thing, but I said "9" because I refuse to give out 10's (I'm like The Critic, whose highest rating is a 7 out of 10). This is optimistic on my part-- I just expect everything I eat to be topped by something new. If I didn't, what would be the point?
Not pictured is the "Touch 'Em All," essentially an H&F version of the Grand Slam with eggs, pancakes and bacon. The mixture of syrup, egg yolk and bacon fat made for better fry dipping than even their piquant housemade ketchup.
Even though we were stuffed (I think the four of us unconsciously raced to see who could finish their burger first), in the interest of full coverage (yeah, I know I missed out on 95% of the menu) we finished with an apple pie over vanilla ice cream. This was really good,-- like a glazed donut stuffed with chunks of steaming hot, cinnamon flavored apple pieces.
We planned on trying the eerily similar burger at Bocado in comparison, but the Southern tradition of being closed on Mondays (doubly combined with Martin Luther King Day) foiled our plans. Regardless, I was completely content with my H&F burger-- if I lived in Atlanta, I'd likely be one of those hoards fighting for a burger on a weekly basis.
Holeman & Finch Public House
2277 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309