During our walking tour around Savannah on the first day we were there, we took time out for lunch at B&D Burgers along Broughton Street in the heart of downtown Savannah (see map). B&D Burgers caught my eye from one of the ads we saw in Savannah Magazine that had awarded the restaurant "Best Burgers" in Savannah every year since 2002. Being the burger connoisseur that I am, I had to give them a try.
Dave Tonroe is the owner of B&D Burgers. Tonroe, a former professional golfer in Asia and Europe, ended up in Savannah working for his father's environmental water waste disposal company. Thinking that Savannah needed a good burger joint that catered to locals and the college crowd, along came B&D Burgers. He opened a second location on the far south side of Savannah a couple years ago (see map).
A pretty good sized lunch crowd was in B&D Burgers when we walked in. We were seated at a booth in the back and handed menus. B&D Burgers boasts that they have 170 different types of burgers on their menu. It turns out that they really only have five different burgers (1/3 lb., 1/2 lb., with cheese, veggie, and turkey) with 34 different combinations. OK, I'll give them credit for that. You can also mix and match toppings for your own style of burger. In addition to burgers, B&D Burgers also has sandwiches, appetizers, salads and soups to offer.
B&D Burgers also boasts something called the "Bring it On!" It's basically a triple-decked burger with three 1/3-pound burgers and a basket of fries for $25 bucks. If you can eat it all in 40 minutes, you'll eat for free and your name will go on a "leader board" signifying your accomplishment. The leader board was full of names, most likely young guys from the local colleges in the area.
I've long said the hallmark of a great burger is the bun. B&D Burgers has an in-house bakery where they make their own buns each day. They're light and flaky, perfect for a good burger. Too many times the bun on some burgers gets to be heavy and chewy, taking a lot of the taste away from the burger. The better the bun, in my book, the better the burger.
They also cook their burgers on a very hot grill - a minimum of 650 degrees - to help sear in the juices. They are cooked to order from rare to well done. I can almost imagine how quick it takes to make a rare burger on the grill at B&D Burgers. I've been doing my burgers on my grill at home over high direct heat for quite some time. It helps if you have a high fat content so the burgers won't dry out. Or, for very lean burgers, you can add some water to the meat. That helps keep it moist.
The 34 burgers on the menu were named for local landmarks or streets. The City Market boasted five different types of cheese, The Pulaski was topped with chili and cheddar cheese, The Troup Square had marinara, mozzarella, pepperoni and mushrooms on top, and the Reynolds had sundried tomatoes, bacon and mozzarella on it. All the burgers are served with a fresh lettuce leaf, a fresh slice of tomato, a slice of red onion and thick sliced kosher dill pickle chips.
I went with the 1/2-pound Chippewa - topped with jalapenos and pepperjack cheese. Cindy went with a 1/3-pound burger called The Mighty Eighth - named after the famous World War II Eighth Air Squadron which has a museum just outside of Savannah - which consisted of sauteed onions and provolone cheese. For a side I got an order of baked beans and Cindy ordered up a batch of deep fried dill pickle slices appetizers as a side. I was sort of surprised she order that as I don't think I've ever seen her eat deep fried pickles.
Our burgers came to the table about 15 minutes later. This is what my Chippewa burger looked like when it was brought to the table open-faced, only with a side of baked beans. Just like this picture, my burger had an ample amount of jalapenos on top of the pepperjack cheese.
I have to say the burger was good, not great, but well above average. The bun was very good and did help to make the taste of the burger very good. The jalapenos were spicy, but not overwhelming. But there was something sort of bland about the meat that I couldn't put my finger on. It seemed to be a little too charred on the outside, but was a perfect light pink in the middle. I can't imagine anyone who would want a well-done burger at B&D Burger (mine was medium). The life would be completely cooked out of the burger.
I also have to say that my baked beans were so-so, but I had a couple of the deep fried dill pickle slices that Cindy ordered and I thought they were out of sight. An unbelievable taste combination with the beer-batter and the tanginess of the dill slices. Cindy hit a home-run in ordering those as a side.
B&D Burger was a little high priced and our waitress wasn't too enthusiastic (it was Memorial Day and she would have probably rather been out at the beach). But the burgers were pretty damn good - Cindy really liked her Mighty Eighth burger. Other than the service not being up to par and the fact that my one bottle of beer was far from being ice cold, the burgers at B&D Burger made up for any problems we had at the restaurant. While it wasn't the best burger I've had - and probably wouldn't make my Top Ten List - B&D Burger was still good. I'm glad we gave it a try.