Dovie’s – Tompkinsville, Kentucky

I’m in Lexington, Kentucky when I text George Motz (author of Hamburger America) about a restaurant I had just eaten at. He responds that I’m not too far from Dovie’s and that I absolutely must hit it up.

Dovie’s is in Tompkinsville, Kentucky and opened its doors in 1940. The restaurant was named after the founder’s sister.

We were able to find parking right in front. We walk right into an old school horseshoe counter so I make my way to the farthest end. There’s a lot of hustle & bustle with folks sitting down to eat and many grabbing bags of Burgers to go.

George mentioned that I needed to get my Burger “unsquozed“, sure I thought. So I strike up a conversation with Tina McIntyre who happened to be the manager. She explained the unsquozed or squozed thing. The Burgers are cooked on a flat top in about a half an inch of soybean oil. Squozed means that you’d like to have your patty drained  of all the excessive oil via spatula and unsquozed with everything intact is apparently the way to have it.

Here’s a very short video my wife Marcela shot at Dovie’s:

I also ordered a Hot Dog which also received a nice crispy char from the oil bath.

The first thing I noticed on the patty was the extreme char it had on the outside. It is not burned in any way since I know that will be everyone’s first thoughts when looking at it. I removed the top bun, added the Onions, a couple of Pickles and went to work. There’s a secret sauce lurking under the bottom patty and on the bottom bun. The texture is the next notable thing which told me this was not a full on beef Burger. It was more like a Slugburger.

If you’re not familiar with the term it might turn you off. A Slugburger does have beef but also some extender like possibly flour or soybeans. The “Slug” part of the name references counterfeit coins sized as nickels that were used to trick vending machines.

It’s very soft and not like a regular ground patty you may be accustomed to. My friends in South Florida will understand when I say the consistency of the patty is like that of a Croqueta. Hey, I love Croquetas so this was a match made in heaven.

Dovie’s has been around for over 70 years. They’re doing things their way and you can only hope they will never change or go away.

Must Go:

Dovie’s
107 W 4th St; Tompkinsville, Kentucky 42167

Butch’s Famous Burgers, Chili & Dogs – Ft. Myers, Florida

Whenever I’m going to go on a road trip I make sure to mention it on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) in the hopes that someone might mention a spot that I don’t even know about. I’d say about 99 times out of 100 I know about the restaurants suggested. Butch’s Famous Burger, Chili & Dogs was of the 1% and I have Michael Spurling to thank for the suggestion, so thanks Michael.

My bud John and I walked in having pretty much memorized the menu we had seen online.

He went straight for the Cheddar Skirt Burger, the Polish Sausage (he skipped out on the grilled onions and went straight brown mustard) and the Onion Strings as a side.

I on the other hand did a straight up Double CheeseBurger with Grilled Onions & Yellow Mustard, Chili Cheese Dog and fresh-cut Fries.

Butch’s Famous Burgers Menu (click to enlarge)

John made the mistake of not asking whether the Burger came topped with Lettuce & Tomatoes which added the task of picking out those pesky little pieces of grass. If you’re not familiar with a Cheddar Skirt Burger, it’s a thing of beauty. While the Burger is cooking on the flat-top a mound of Cheddar Cheese is dropped on the Burger which when melted creates a “skirt” of crispy Cheese around the Burger. I’m pretty sure I only heard chewing and breathing coming from the other side of the table while John was in Cheddar Skirt eating mode.

There’s not much to say about the Polish Sausage other than it was perfectly cooked and was as expected. The Onion Strings, yeah those things were good.

Cheddar Skirt Burger

Polish Sausage

Onion Strings

My level of excitement could not be contained when I saw this misshapen beauty sticking out from the bun. Then I thought, where’s the Cheese, Grilled Onions and Mustard? The top patty was like a shield over the mid-layer Cheese & Grilled Onions and the secondary layer under the bottom patty which also had the Yellow Mustard. “What a great Burger,” was all I could think while eating it.

The Chili Cheese Dog did not disappoint and the fresh-cut Fries reminded me of the ones my Mom would make my sister and I when we were kids aka awesome.

Double Cheeseburger with Grilled Onions & Yellow Mustard

Chili Cheese Dogs

Fresh Cut Fries

We were stuffed and then remembered we might want to take something back to the crew we were staying with in Naples. We had read about some Tavern Burgers as a special when placing our order. The Tavern Burgers are Butch’s version of a slider but his are not a patty but Loose Meat. Loose Meat for those who have never heard the term is pretty much seasoned ground beef but not in patty form, hence the loose. When we ask about the Tavern Burger he offers us one to try and we order 10 to go believing that it must be crave-able.

Yup, we were right.

One last thing, Butch’s Famous Burgers, Chili & Dogs is only open Monday – Saturday from 11AM-3PM. You need to find the time to check this place out, I’m glad we did. We drove an hour through a massive rain storm to get to Butch’s and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Make It Happen:

Butch’s Famous Burgers, Chili & Dogs
4521 Bayshore Rd North Fort Myers, Florida 33903
239-599-4165

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs Coming To South Florida

 

Nathan’s Famous which just turned 100 years old last year is finally on its way back to South Florida. I know what you’re thinking, you can find Nathan’s at some terminals in the Miami International Airport and at Miami Subs er.. I mean Miami Grill or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. It’s not the same thing though.

I was tipped off that Nathan’s was opening in Westchester on Bird Road, down the street from Miami’s iconic Hot Dog joint, Arbetter’s. My source also told me that the Nathan’s location would be on 89th to be exact, in the strip mall right next to Live Colors.

So I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw it up on Instagram and see if anyone else had some info.

And then the folks opening up the Miami Nathan’s Famous location responded confirming the rumor to be a fact.

They now have an Instagram set up, @NathansMIA.

Interestingly enough, I also found a @NathansFLL and a @NathansWPB on Instagram which means the Miami location isn’t going to be alone down here.

Once I get more info and/or the opening date, I’ll get back to you.

-Beast out

Druther’s Restaurant – Campbellsville, Kentucky

I had reached out through Facebook to the Druther’s in Campbellsville, Kentucky when I found out about its existence. I didn’t even know that there were any still around.

Druther’s started out as Burger Queen in Louisville, Kentucky. The first location opened in 1963. By 1981 they had changed their name to Druther’s (a play on the word druthers) to try and change the common belief that they only sold Burgers. They were also well known for their Fried Chicken.

After speaking to the owner Steve McCarty he told me that his parents opened this location as Burger Queen #18 back in 1970.

Queenie Bee, Burger Queen’s mascot

My wife Marcela had her mind set on having breakfast and the Biscuits smothered in gravy with Eggs and Bacon would fill that slot in her stomach, She enjoyed it and I stole a piece of Bacon, just because.

The fries are the pretty standard shoestrings, properly fried and salted. Once they met the blob of ketchup I put on my tray, it was a match made in heaven.

The Burger is also a pretty standard size patty. I ordered the Double with Cheese. This is fresh meat folks not the frozen pucks that pass for Burgers nowadays. It was great and reminded in look, taste and texture to what is served by the Whataburger chain out of Texas.

I need to thank Steve for not only taking the time to sit down with us and give me some history on his family’s restaurant but for also donating a Druther’s T-shirt for my Burger Queen/Druther’s section at the Burger Museum.

It’s a historical spot with great food, what other reason do you need to stop here?

You Don’t Have To Be A Burger Queen To Enjoy:

Druther’s Restaurant
101 N Columbia Ave, Campbellsville, KY 42718
270-465-3870

Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs – Montgomery, Alabama

Chris’ Hot Dogs (Montgomery, Alabama) – Chris’ Hot Dogs has been around since 1917.

Chris’ Famous Hot Dogs’ Menu (click to enlarge)

I ordered the Fries & Onion Rings (pretty standard stuff) along with a Hot Dog (Mustard, Onion, Kraut & Chris’ Famous Chili Sauce) and a Cheese Burger (Fresh Beef Patty topped w/Mustard, Catsup, Onion & Chris’ Chili Sauce). Continue reading

Blue Door Smokehouse – Lexington, Kentucky

I’m a bit ferklempt right now.

When my wife Marcela, my bud John and I walked into Blue Door Smokehouse we had no idea what we were in for.

Blue Door is a central Texas chop-house/chop-shop style BBQ joint that serves everything on trays with butcher paper. They’ve got a good 5 or 6 homemade sides but you won’t find cheese fries or anything like that here.

Here’s what I remember:

Continue reading

Burger Beast’s National Burger Month Columns on Miami.com

I had been speaking to Miami.com for what seems like forever about partnering up in some form. I’m not exactly sure how we decided that National Burger Month would be the time but I did suggest that every Monday would be good, giving me 5 full posts to flesh out my ideas. National Burger Month is serious business to me as you’ll read.

All 5 are listed below by the date they were posted online and with the corresponding link taking you to what I wrote.

May 1st5 Things You Should Do During National Burger Month: http://www.miami.com/miami-restaurants/national-burger-month-burger-beast-on-where-to-eat-159494/

May 8th5 Historical South Florida Burger Joints: http://www.miami.com/miami-restaurants/burger-beast-recommendations-for-burger-month-160286/

May 15th5 Most Miami Burgers: http://www.miami.com/miami-restaurants/five-most-miami-burgers-for-national-burger-month-161098/

May 22nd5 Restaurants with Unexpectedly Great Burgers: http://www.miami.com/miami-restaurants/the-5-best-burgers-at-non-burger-joints-in-miami-161598/

May 29th5 Next It Burger Joints: http://www.miami.com/miami-restaurants/best-new-burger-joints-in-south-florida-burger-beast-says-162319/

Hamburger House Party 2017 in Pictures

Hamburger House Party is the culmination of my National Burger Month celebration.

This year’s Hamburger House Party was brought to you by Miami Lakes Auto Mall, Sunshine Provisions, Downstairs Markets & Magic City Casino and presented by my Burger Museum.

The judges were South Beach Wine & Food Festival Founder Lee Schrager, NBC 6 in the Mix’s Roxy Vargas, Sugar Factory’s Corporate Pastry Chef Max Santiago, Director Billy Corben and Latin House/Madlove’s Chef/Owner Michell Sanchez.

Retro Sky performed live with some 80s and 90s classic songs while Burger Beast mainstays DJ Volksmusik (Hank Justice) spun tunes to keep everyone groovin’.

My bud, iHeartMedia’s Danny Rivera made a welcome return to hosting.

HHP isn’t only about the Burgers but about great snacks, desserts and drinks: Bocas House & Night Owl Cookie Co‘s Shake collaboration, Chifles Chips, Dough Miami, DRINK Miami made cocktails with Jim Beam, McDonald’s famous French Fries, Sweetness Bakeshop, Tito’s Vodka Cocktails, Velvet Creme Doughnuts and Craft Beer from Concrete Beach Brewery, Funky Buddha Brewery, MIA Beer Company & Tank Brewing Co.

Here were the 23 Competitors:

  1. 109 Burger Joint – Sweetwater
  2. 180 Degrees at the DRB – Downtown Miami
  3. Airport Cafe – Miami Springs
  4. Bocas Grill – Doral & Kendall
  5. Burbowl – Coral Gables & Downtown Miami
  6. Cheeseburger Baby – Little Haiti & Miami Beach
  7. Chefs on the Run – Homestead
  8. Cinebistro: CityPlace – Doral
  9. El Rey de las Fritas – Coral Gables, Little Havana, Sweetwater & Westchester
  10. Funky Buddha Brewery – Oakland Park
  11. Hard Times Sundaes – Brooklyn, New York
  12. Jr’s Gourmet Burgers – Miami Springs
  13. Killer Melts – West Kendall
  14. Monster Burgers – South Florida Food Truck
  15. MOOYAH – Country Walk & Doral
  16. The Orange Bear Grill – Dania Beach
  17. PINCH Kitchen – MiMo
  18. Pincho Factory – Everywhere at this point
  19. PIPO Burgers on Wheels – Doral Food Truck
  20. Swensen’s – Coral Gables
  21. Tucker Duke’s – Boca Raton & Delray Beach
  22. Tuto’s Street Cuisine – South Florida Food Truck
  23. Twisted Fork Kitchen – Doral

Sugar Factory’s Corporate Pastry Chef Max Santiago with the Judge’s Vote Winner, Hard Times Sundae’s owner Andrew Zurica


Miami Lakes Auto Mall’s Victor Mayoli with the People’s Vote Winner, Chefs on the Run’s chef/owner Jodrick Ujaque

Jodrick wrote this on his Facebook page and it needs to be reprinted for those looking for inspiration:

To the teacher that without knowing predicted the future and said ” you will have a great career flipping 🍔 ” … thanks for the encouragement.

I would like to thank God for the many opportunities that he’s give us to expose our product and our brand. We were so taken by the moment that I couldn’t help myself from choking up, by far my shortest acceptance speech.

This one goes out to all that have been told that they wouldn’t amount to much in this world, to that 15 year old kid that’s washing dishes because he has to start somewhere, the one that shoots for the fence with a paper ball, yes I am talking to you, don’t let any anyone tell you that you can’t strive for big things, don’t allow people to bring you down with their negativity and their jealousy because you can achieve what they can’t. 

thank you to all the ppl in attendance that made this a reality.

Humility, Sacrifice, Dedication & Burgers


Hamburger House Party 2017:

Continue reading

Shake Shack’s Beats & Treats This Thursday!

Shake Shack in Miami Beach has expanded and is throwing a party (Beats & Treats) to show off their new larger pad this Thursday, May 25th from 6:30PM-8:30PM. You know it’s a big deal cause Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti will be in attendance.

Beats & Treats will have a bunch of things going on:

  • A free performance by the Magic City Hippies.
  • The Salty Donut Concrete ($4.69 single/$6.89 double): vanilla frozen custard blended with The Salty Donut‘s Dulce De Leche donut, banana and salted caramel—all topped with The Salty Donut’s Mini Chocolate, Chocolate donut. Available exclusively at the Miami Beach Shack from Thursday (May 25th) to Sunday (May 28th)
  • Shack Shandy ($5.99 16oz./$7.09 24oz.): a blend of Shack-made Lemonade and Stiltsville Pilsner beer from Wynwood Brewing Company.
  • The special edition Shake Shack x LYFE Brand t-shirt ($32.00) will be available only at the Miami Beach Shack while supplies last.
  • Shake Shack’s newly released cookbook Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories ($26) will also be available at the Miami Beach Shack. Guests who purchase it at Beats & Treats will receive a signed copy (while supplies last). Shake Shack: Recipes and Stories contains 70 recipes, 200 photographs and plenty of stories, fun facts and pro tips for the home cook and Shack fan.

Sounds like a pretty solid celebration to me, are you planning on going? R.S.V.P.

Rusty Bucket’s Beer Cheese Burger Recipe

Have you made it out to The Rusty Bucket yet? They just opened in March at CityPlace in Doral.

The Burger on their menu (Beer Cheese Burger) features Beer Cheese which is of course the perfect marriage of Burgers & Brews.

Best of all, I’m able to share the recipe for their Beer Cheese Burger with you. Continue reading