If you ask me, Orlando’s downtown scene isn’t anything to write home about. Lots of people, lots of cops, and lots of clubs. Most downtown areas in most cities can sing the same tune. But once the bars, pubs and clubs close, the food choices are most certainly not in abundance. In fact, after midnight, basically the only food you can get downtown is either a hotdog from a sketchy vendor, delicious Gringos Locos (too bad I’m not doing a taco blog) or pizza.
While these choices are great (some more than others, depending on your level of inebriation), I’m certain I am not the only person in Orlando that has stumbled down Church Street at 2:30 AM wishing I had a big, juicy/greasy/ fully loaded burger at that moment.
And alas, an answer to mine, and other drunken Orlando residents (I’m certain), prayers came in the form of a small, almost hidden restaurant just behind Gringos Locos on Washington Street. The place itself is full of surprises and opens up into the quite the restaurant, with booths lining the wall and a rather large (albeit un-utilized) jukebox in the back. Advertisements for cheap beer line most of the walls and promise $2 PBRs. The menu boasts the average choices for a burger, giving patrons the choice between a single patty or a double. They also have the courtesy of offering a veggie burger as well as a chicken. Big whoop, huh? Well, how about their choice of peanut butter as a sauce? Take that Five Guys.
But how does it taste, you might be asking? I wasn’t daring enough to order a PB burger, but I had the great honor of taking a bite of one, while also enjoying my own (the typical: single patty, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayo). My burger, while simple was flavorful and quite delicious. The burger was juicy and kept together quite well. It had that right off the grill taste that I very much enjoy in a good burger and was cooked to perfection. The fries also compliment the burger perfectly; delightfully crispy and given in a cup that almost never seems to end.
Unlike the rest of Orlando’s interest in the gourmet burger (best lettuce, best ingredients, fancy schmansy this and that), Beth’s seems to have adopted the motto I learned in my middle school math classes: KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. And that’s exactly what they do. In most cases, I would say that this isn’t wise. Especially in a place that has recently opened, first impressions are everything, after all. But despite all this, the cook behind the “bar” has done a wonderful job at packing such flavor into such a simple looking meal. Kudos to you, Mystery Cook.
So what rating do I give to Beth’s Burger Bar? A good, almost a great. An excellent cheap meal with the bonus of cheap beer and a good time (somebody please pick a song on that damn jukebox). To me, Beth’s has definitely gotten it right. What do downtown patrons want after a night of heavy drinking, schmoozing, smoking and dancing? Cheap burgers that taste just as good when you’re sober, as they do when you’re drunk.
Oh, and what of the peanut butter on the burger? I suggest giving it a try. The subtle sweetness of the PB is a pleasant surprise when matched against the salty, greasy challenge of the beef. I think, next time, I will order my usual and, perhaps, I’ll have a little peanut butter on it