This Week's Burger: the "Big Poppa"
The "Big Poppa" from JuiCy Burger Bar in Hamburg puts a stuffed banana pepper, provolone cheese, and a grilled tomato atop a grilled beef patty.
Photo by kc kratt
Location: JuiCy Burger Bar, 1 Buffalo Street, Hamburg, 648-3200, juicyburgerbar.com
Category: Traditional with a twist
According to JuiCy Burger Bar chef Andrew Murtha, “The perfect burger is a work of art.” The former Tempo executive chef posits that burgers must sit on golden butter-scented buns with acidic, lightly sweet pickles; crisp lettuce and onions; and rich, strong beef. It’s a symphony of flavors, and, like good symphonies, not easy to create.
The menu at this classic 1950s-style diner features, among other standouts, the “Big Poppa,” which puts a stuffed banana pepper, provolone cheese, and a grilled tomato atop a grilled beef patty.
Stuffed banana peppers on their own are already a staple of diner gluttony—they approach bacchanalia when presented on a burger. There’s also an element of adventure involved; will the pepper in question be extra spicy? Too mild? It’s all in the veins.
There might be skepticism about a pepper-topped burger’s ability to hold together, but Murtha follows the golden rule of sandwich construction: slippery elements must never touch, lest one bite rocket the contents from between the buns and onto the laps of unsuspecting diners. This sucker never budges.
The Big Poppa lives up to its name, tall enough to require some jaw acrobatics, but with a thin enough patty to make it manageable. The pepper is pleasantly spicy but not overstuffed, so the ricotta mixture stays intact. Mild provolone acts as a spice antidote and grilled tomato lends a hint of smoke to augment textbook medium-rare beef. The beef-to-bread ratio hits the mark and crispy, well-salted fries arrive in a side basket.
Murtha’s Big Poppa is an expression of what happens when a fine dining chef explores his lower-brow passions: a delightful Southtowns discovery for burger fans.