The Bradenton Recreation Center goes way back to 1926. Council Smith purchased the then pool hall and watering hole where he worked in 1936. In 1954, Council would move the business to its current spot, right across from the old courthouse.
His son Lawton would eventually take the reins of the shop after his father passed away in 1977. Lawton was known for operating the grill and making their legendary burgers. He was also the person who added the Council name to the landmark establishment. Lawton then retired and sold the business in 2016.
It was reopened by a pair of new owners in February 2017 who renamed it Council’s Burgers Beer & Billiards. Unfortunately, it’s back on the market again.
With its future again in doubt I would not skip out on hitting up Council’s for a burger and a brew
I decided to take my own advice. There was also a chili dog on the menu that I couldn’t turn down. I sat at the counter across from the old stove and spoke to Aaron, who was cooking. He told me three of the four burners aren’t working. The oven is also defunct, but the griddle where the burgers are made and the broiler drawer where the bread is toasted are fine.
The fresh beef patties are placed on the grill and gently pressed. The old well-seasoned stove does all the work from there. The hot dogs also manage to get a nice char on the outside too.
I didn’t add any mustard to my chili dog, but it was tasty nonetheless.
I told Aaron no go on the lettuce and tomato. The assembly of the burger was different cause the mayo and onions went on the bottom bun while the mustard & the cheese were under the crown, aka top bun.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Aaron about the ghosts at Council’s while I was downing their masterpiece double cheeseburger with an ice-cold beer in a frosty mug. Yes, Council’s is haunted, but if you want to hear the stories you’re going to have to visit them and hear the stories for yourself.
Council’s Bradenton Recreation
Facebook: Council’s Burgers, Beer, Billiards
536 12th St W