Hunting seems like a natural instinct for human beings. I don’t believe that we ascend from the animal kingdom, but I do believe that most of us are on the hunt for something, something that will enhance our lives or give our lives meaning and purpose. Some people hunt for wealth and prestige, satisfaction and accomplishment, solitude and inner peace; some for friends, some for the perfect mate, some for new words, new cars, new shoes. The list is endless. This quest in life is different for everyone. I too am on the hunt…for the best hamburger around the community.
My neighbor and I began this quest several weeks ago. We began with a simple night out at a diner or restaurant where we chatted and hashed out the problems that we were facing daily. Slowly, the Tuesday night dinners evolved into the intense search for burger joints that are not chain related. We have already been to places like Smashburger, Wendys, McDonalds, and Burger King. Our quest became to find the tastiest burgers within driving distance. So the hunt began with a Google search.
Google revealed a small burger joint in Sewell, NJ. called the Burger Barr. This little operation, run by a few friends who desired to start a specialty burger shop, is sparsely furnished with barstools and small tables, and the walls have minimal decorations. But what the restaurant lacks in decor, the management makes up in personality and friendliness. As Lane and I approached the counter, one of the owners greeted us cheerfully, inviting us to look over our many choices of types of meat and rolls to which we may add toppings and sides. The piece de resistance is the soda fountain which carries may flavors of Boylan soda. The website is under construction, but you can see the menu at www.burgerbarr.com.
After this first encounter with specialty burgers, Lane and I decided that we would try to find a new burger joint each week. This has become quite a challenge because of our location in rural South Jersey. But where there is a will, there is a way.
We found a little place down in Quinton, NJ, which is like Podunk Hollow in Salem County. The EMS Cafe appeals to country folk like Lane and I. We ordered our burgers at the counter, selected a booth, and while we waited, we gazed at the large number of kitchen gadgets attached to the walls. Some are antiques. Some, we recognized from our mother’s kitchens and some from our own early days as new wives. After a short wait, the burgers were freshly made and delivered to our booth by an excited young lady, eager to please her customers. The atmosphere is friendly, and most of the customers appeared to know the members of management as well as the other customers. www.emscafe.com
A week later, Lane and I discovered a very small place called the Outlaw’s Burger Barn and Creamery located in East Vineland. Tables are so close together that they are nearly touching, but the atmosphere is friendly with some Western decor, nice music, and a few Bible verses on the walls. The menu is on the table, boasting several appetizing burgers. As we read the menu, our mouths began to water in anticipation. We were not disappointed. www.outlawsburgerbarn.com
The following week, Lane and I headed off to small outfit in Pitman called Thai Burger. Thai food and burgers come from the same kitchen, which seems like an odd combination. The burgers were very juicy and nicely cooked, though not showing much variation in flavor. @thaiburgercafe
We found an excellent burger at the Ten 22 Bar and Grille housed in the Centerton Country Club and Golf Course in Centerton, near Parvin State Park. The burgers were cooked to perfection with a very strong grill flavor that no other burger joint had been able to replicate, at least to this point on our hunt. www.centertoncc.com
Lane and I have found that most of the burgers range from $9.50 to $12.00, not including fries, sides, or drinks. We rank the burgers each week based on flavor, juiciness, texture, size, and toppings. We try to choose different burgers and then compare our choices. After each meal, we compare with other burgers that we have tagged and bagged. We have hunted for several months in an effort to kill time and track the best places in our area for burgers. Some, not mentioned, are not worth mentioning; hence, we have cast them on the offal pile.
Now for the rankings from best to good: Burger Barr, The Outlaw’s Burger Barn, Ten 22 Bar and Grille, Thai Burger, EMS Cafe. To be fair, Thai Burger and EMS Cafe have equal ranking. Thai Burger has a juicy burger, but EMS has a more flavorful burger.
I have not given you all the details of each burger, but I can recommend any of these places. Next Wednesday, May 16, Lane and I are going back to the Burger Barr in Sewell to recapture our initial experience there. Feel free to join us. We will be there around 4:30 pm.
Feel free to give me feedback on any of the aforementioned locations as you visit them. I will be happy to entertain your assessments. Notice, that I have also attached the websites or twitter accounts of each place so that you can peruse the menu if you choose to do so. Some of these places also have facebook pages.
So, I continue the hunt for burgers in spite of the time already invested. Like any good hunter, I have no plans to give up my quest for burger joints along my path. Feel free to send me your recommendations.