A Quick Tour Of The Straight Beef’s 20 Reviews

A Quick Tour Of The Straight Beef’s 20—Count ‘Em, 20—Reviews

We’ve recently posted our 20th official Straight Beef review. In honor of this round but otherwise arbitrary number, we present collection of excerpts from all of them, in ascending order of our patented 1-5 ratings, from most the most meh burger to the most transcendent. It’s kind of like one of those sitcom episodes from the 70s, when they’d just piece together bits of past shows and try to pawn it off as something new—except with far less Squiggy.

Asterisk denotes a tie.

20. RALEIGH TIMES (Raleigh) Score: 2.58

“The bun looked good, but was utterly dry and flavorless. The tomato was red but mushy, and also flavorless. The patty was cooked through and the char on the outside had the caustic flavor of burnt gristle, rather than the pleasant undertone of salty sizzled beef fat. For what little it’s worth, the lettuce was okay…There was absolutely no magic, no harmony, no burger bliss.” (John)

18*. TYLER’S TAPROOM (Apex) Score: 2.67

“Dear Tyler’s Taproom: This is hard to write. I like you a lot, and I don’t want to hurt you. It’s just that at this point in our relationship I think we should break it off be completely honest with each other…Tyler’s, I think you’re super. You have a great personality, and I really enjoy spending time with you…Right now in my life, though, Tyler’s, what I really need is a good burger, and I just don’t think you can give that to me.” (Scott)

18*. SPIRITS PUB AND GRUB (Cary) Score: 2.67

“While in the moment, sharing a meal with my Straight Beef brethren, I thought the burger a three out of five. After serious meditation, however, I imagined myself trekking to a monastery in the Himalayas for quiet reflection, in an effort to erase the Surfer Burger experience from my memory.” (Michael)

17. ABBEY ROAD (Cary) Score: 2.83

“With a Little Help from My Friends, I was encouraged to give Abbey Road another try. I’d been there before, but had no plans to ever Get Back. The burger had not lived up to the hype, and I was content to just Let It Be. Nevertheless, I walked into Abbey Road recently for the second time, filled with hope and repeatedly sending out a telepathic message: Please Please Me.” [Later, after the burger:] “Not a Second Time! I Should Have Known Better.” (John)

16. TRIBECA TAVERN (Cary) Score: 3.00

“The [ingredients of] the Land and Sea burger, with Angus beef, lump crab, fried mashed potatoes, roasted garlic, and rosemary hollandaise…combined to create and thrillingly different burger that was, in a word, bland. The thrill was gone, baby. What remained was to finish this thing in a state of mild disappointment.” (John)

15. MACGREGOR DRAFT HOUSE (Cary) Score: 3.08

“Imagine Ferris Bueller’s economics teacher. Go ahead. That’s it. The dullness, the drabness, the lethargy. That’s the California burger at MacGregor Draft House…If you want a place to watch the game while you are eating, I’ll recommend the MacGregor Draft House. As for the burger, well…Bueller? Bueller?” (Michael)

14. MY WAY (Holly Springs) Score: 3.33

“Honestly, I’m finding it hard these days wax poetic about the latest slightly-better-than-average burger. There are so damn many of them!” (John)


13. CAROLINA BREWERY (Chapel Hill) Score: 3.42

“I’ve always thought there should be a word for the concoction created by the simple combination of ketchup and mustard. Ketchard? Mustup? Yellow-red burgonaise? There should also be a word, I think, for a burger that’s just plain good—not unpleasant in any way, not so outstanding that you’re ready to run down West Franklin Street singing a burger-themed paean.” (Scott)

11*. CITY BEVERAGE (Durham) Score: 3.50

“I’ve have had my share of burgers that have had odd toppings, but those ingredients had purpose. The City Beverage Fuego Diablo burger, on the other hand, seemed like they took a standard burger and threw ingredients onto it until it sounded Mexican enough.” (Michael)

11*. THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY (Raleigh, elsewhere) Score: 3.50

“A decent burger. A respectable burger. I liked it. Phenomenal cheesecake, though.” (Scott)

10. CRABTREE TAVERN (Raleigh) Score: 3.92

“Imagine coming home from work. The house is relatively quiet, dinner is on the stove, and nothing to attend to but a spot in a comfy recliner. That’s what the Classic Tavern burger is. Nice build, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, flavorful patty, perfectly melted cheese. It is simply an easy burger to enjoy.” (Michael)

9. PLAYERS RETREAT (Raleigh) Score: 4.08

“Remember your first kiss? How your body flushed, your eyelids fluttered, and your knees wobbled? The PR’s Bernie Burger wasn’t quite that, but there was a definite weakness in my right knee.” (John)


“The pretzel roll was soft and steamy and made a uniquely delicious and functional vehicle for everything in between. And in between was pretty special as well: fresh Angus beef, as promised, cooked to temperature and blessed with melted cheese and fresh vegetables so happily in the proper build order…There was surprisingly significant burger pleasure here, bordering on bliss.” (John)

7. THE SALEM STREET PUB (Apex) Score: 4.33

“Cooked perfectly to a medium temperature, this was simply a very good burger, one that ‘came together,’ as we burgiatrists say, with the flavors merging to create that endorphin-releasing burger magic we all seek. It won’t exactly make you weak in the knees, but it will make you feel warm and happy, sitting in a warm and happy place with good friends.” (John)

6. BONEFISH (Cary, elsewhere) Score: 4.42

“Heed these words, children, and let them be for you a seal upon your heart: From the moment I bit into the Bonefish burger, with its soft brioche bun, Thousand Island-esque house sauce, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, and succulent, quality cheddar cheese, I knew that I had bitten upon something special.” (Scott)

5. JOHNSON’S (Siler City) Score: 4.50

“Do yourself a favor, my friends. Go to Johnson’s soon. Get there early. Get that classic, humble, beautiful, delicious, American, quintessential cheeseburger and wash it down with a Pepsi. Savor the melted Velveeta. Then drive back to the Triangle among the pastures and fields along Highway 64. Get yourself one of these 4.5s and live the American dream. I implore you.” (John)

4. DRAFT (Raleigh) Score: 4.58

A haiku: The Blazin’ Asian / Draft approaches perfection / Rating four point five (Michael)

2*. BUNS (Chapel Hill) Score: 4.67

“I suspected that the burger would be good, just not this good. Every bite of the exquisite Buns burger was a Dionysian commingling of flavors and juices that rang bells of delight through the hallowed annals of burgiatry, elevating me to a level of burgiatric pleasure seldom imagined. It was, simply, a celebration of life.” (Scott)


2*. BREWMASTERS BAR AND GRILL (Raleigh) Score: 4.67

“This burger—a shockingly delicious ménage of bleu cheese crumbles and cherry ‘beermalade’ on a truly fine patty (ringing with notes of rosemary and Worchester)—[drew me] to the corner of Martin and Dawson Streets yet again, mouth open, like a baby chick squeaking for more.” (Scott)

1. MOJOE’S (Raleigh) Score: 4.83

“Wow. Yum. Man, that’s a good burger. Wow. Is this burger amazing, or is it just me? Yum num num. [Sigh.] Whew. Man, there’s just not a lot wrong with this burger. Yum num num. Yum num num num num. This has got to be a five. I mean, if this isn’t a five, what is? Yum.” (Scott)



  • R&R Grille on Franklin Street has the best burger that I have had in the Triangle. Bonus it’s cooked to order, so it can be a proper medium-rare 🙂

  • Please please please go to Barry’s on Tryon! Also, I don’t see Only Burger on here. Strange.

    • We have been to Barry’s, and we will be publishing our review in the next week or so. I have eaten numerous Only Burger burgers, but we haven’t gone there for an official review yet.