Me and Coco aka That Guy aka co-host of the Coco and Warhammer Show went over to Bagger Dave’s for some burgers the other day. There’s one right down the street from our work and I had never been, despite hearing mostly good things. Apparently this location is one of three, with all of them being Michigan based. A guy who owns a bunch of Buffalo Wild Wings decided he wanted to open a gourmet burger joint in Berkely a few years ago with the hopes that it would catch on and become a chain. Not a bad idea. With the exception of the obvious hole in the wall burger joints, Michigan lacked any kind of gourmet burger establishment until Five Guys started moving in recently. With the two additional Bagger Dave’s locations being added since 2008, it looks like the idea is working so far.
Before I walked in I was expecting a mostly carry out based burger joint. The place is actually more of a sit down restaurant(100+ seats) with a pretty solid(mostly local) beer selection. There’s flat screen TVs and a mini train set that constantly runs around the top perimeter of the restaurant. It doesn’t really have the feel of a burger joint, but it’s a comfortable, yet different, environment.
I started off with the “amazingly delicious” turkey black bean chili, mainly because of the whole “amazingly delicious” proclamation. If you’re going to say something on your menu is that delicious, then damnit it better be. I’m not usually a “substitute turkey for other meat” kind of guy, but like I said, the menu says amazingly delicious. I had to put it to the test. Gotta say, stuff is legit. I can usually tell when things are made from turkey. It just has a weird taste to me. This was delicious, and had a good amount of spice. Despite the fact that a bowl is $4.00+, I would have to recommend that you get some of this before your burger.
For my burger, I felt that there was no other choice for me than to create my own. There are a many options on the actual menu, but come on. How much fun is that? The thin patties start out in the open kitchen at 3.5 ounces — one costs $3.29 and two $4.29 (turkey burgers are a dollar more) and come in a plain, sesame or whole wheat roll or sourdough bread. For 75 cents you can add one of six kinds of cheese, and for $1 you can add on “premium” topping of fries, fried egg, guacamole, bacon or that delicious turkey black bean chili. Bagger Dave’s also offers 16 “meaningless free toppings” that range from ketchup and lettuce to sautéed mushrooms, Cajun spice and green peppers.
The burgers are advertised as hand-crafted from lean ground beef that is never frozen. The burgers are all cooked medium-well, which is always troubling to me. The result is a smaller patty that was actually a little dry for my tastes. I felt like the condiments and add ons made the burger, not the actual patty. I feel like if you’re opening a restaurant that specializes in burgers, your patty should stand out even without a single condiment. These didn’t.
I will say that my creation, with a hell of a lot of toppings, was absolutely delicious. I went with a plain bun and two regular beef patties with pepper jack cheese, Santa Fe chipolte sauce, a fried egg, applewood bacon, mayo, and Cajun spice. Like I said, the beef is pretty average but the slop on top made it into a solid burger. Check this guy out.
Not anything amazing, but pretty solid. Expect to pay about 12 bucks per person if you’re getting a drink, fries/chili, and a burger. A little steep for burgers and fries, you’re getting a lot more than that if you’re creating your own burger.