The battle for the best burgers in Richmond, and beyond.
Come to Richmond’s popular shopping district Carytown on a Saturday night and you’ll find its handful of burger restaurants filled to capacity with even more lined up at the doors.
The burger business is healthy in Richmond. And with the new addition last year of Charlottesville favorite Citizen Burger Bar, the city is reaping the benefits of some healthy competition.
Fine burgers and craft beers in particular have invaded the Carytown restaurant scene since the original Carytown Burgers and Fries first opened in 1999, including the upstart Burger Bach, which opened in February 2012 across the street on Thompson. Carytown Burgers has an extensive menu, including the Barnyard Brawl, a beef patty topped with fried chicken breast, bacon and an egg, while Burger Bach serves up refined burgers with a New Zealand flare, such as its New Plymouth, which combines fresh tarragon sauce, sautéed wild mushrooms, Brie cheese, uncured bacon and caramelized onions.
In an already pretty crowded field, Citizen Burger Bar has come to contend. It offers menu staples like its namesake Citizen Burger (with Timbercreek beef, McClure Swiss, black onion, garlic aioli, iceberg, tomato, house brioche and a fried pickle spear), as well as a custom burger list. Owner Andy McClure, of the Virginian Restaurant Company, says he is dedicated to offering 100 percent grass-fed beef, and all major ingredients, from the buns to the veggies, are fresh and local to Virginia.
Elizabeth Bullock, who manages the new Carytown location, says they enforce strict requirements for freshness and quality, “We are definitely made different by our ingredients. We have a huge focus on local beef, which comes from the Shenandoah Valley.” As for the rest of the menu, “Everything we can make in house—we do.”
And burgers aren’t the only thing Citizen does well. Fries, classic or sweet potato, are served at a shareable size in metal cones. The restaurant also provides happy hour snack favorites like fried pickles, onion rings and truffle fries. And beer, well they certainly have beer. Crafts in particular were always part of the equation—the Charlottesville location has nearly 80 beers on draft alone: In Carytown, the restaurant has a full bar and offers 24 beers on tap and 76 bottled.
This spring the Richmond location will convert its adjacent parking lot into an open biergarten. Says Bullock, “We are looking ahead to patio season. We’re going to be the only burger restaurant with a full fledged biergarten.”
With outdoor concerts in the works, table service and an additional bar planned for the new space Citizen Burger is hoping to be your spring and summer outdoor hangout. But if they’re full, the battle for your favorite burger rages on. You can’t go wrong heading down the street to the neighbors. TheBurgerBach.com, CarytownBurgers.com, CitizenBurgerBar.com
For even more burger options around the capital, check out these joints:
Dot’s Back Inn 4030 MacArthur Ave. DotsBackRichmond.com Jack Brown’s 6810 Grove Ave. JackBrownsJoint.com Station 2 2016 East Main St. Station2Richmond.com