After all of the hype and all of my failed attempts to try it firsthand, it finally happened. Yes, that’s right: I finally had the famed late night burger from Holeman & Finch.
Because I can never seem to get my friends to wait until 10 PM to eat dinner, I realized that their Sunday brunch would probably be my only shot at finally trying the most talked about cheeseburger in Atlanta. After arriving at H&F at 11:30 to discover that brunch doesn’t start until they open an hour later, my stubbornness forced me to stick it out. I would not be a victim of circumstance. I was going to eat that damn burger if it killed me.
By the time the doors opened at 12:25, the line had grown to a good 30 people deep, and we all flooded in out of the cold and swarmed the tables. I can’t imagine that going from zero to packed in a matter of seconds was a lot of fun for the wait staff, but they took it all in stride.
The first thing that I noticed when looking at the menu was that I need to return to H&F for a proper brunch. Their menu seems to have plenty of breakfast options that would qualify them for the Better Breakfast series. But this day was all about the burger.
I tempered my expectations for this meal because I was afraid I would be setting myself up for disappointment. Especially because I have heard that the quality of the burger has actually slipped a little in the last year or so. Fortunately for me, mine turned out beautifully.
Because this might be the single most covered burger in Atlanta’s history, I probably don’t need to waste too much time telling you about it. It was great. The buns are buttery and perfectly toasted, the thin patties are somehow still cooked to medium with pink in the center, and the house-made bread and butter pickles are wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how juicy the meat was.
Had I been at H&F for their regular nightly service of the burger, and had a few cocktails in my system, I imagine that the burger would have been taken to a completely different level. Mine was still fantastic, and without a doubt one of the best burgers I’ve had in recent memory, but I think the novelty of being there for the bullhorn announcement would make the experience that much better.
Though it is some great marketing for the H&F crew, and it really is a hell of a burger, the burger would never be enough to make me go out of my way to eat here. Everything else about H&F accomplishes that. After all is said and done, the best burger in the world is still just a burger. And Holeman & Finch has so many other dishes on their menu that I think are much more interesting than “just a burger”.
It is a great burger, but is it worth all of the hullaballoo? I’m not sure. I guess that is really the only negative comment that I have, which isn’t all that negative. But it gets people in the door and it is pretty damn good. But, for me personally, I’ll take a plate of veal brains or rabbit livers over a plain ole’ burger any day of the week.
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