The comedian Steven Wright used to say, “You can’t have everything; where would you put it?” Well, when it comes to burgers, we can prove Wright wrong: It turns out that you can have everything, as long as you can open your mouth wide enough. Just ask the plethora of burger-meisters around town, who construct their multi-topping marvels in ways both novel and traditional. Tradition certainly comes to mind when you think of Big Jim’s on Angus Road. Known for their barbecue, Jim’s burgers also stand up to the most discerning patty-lover’s taste test. We asked for “everything” on their Big Jim burger, and night manager Jerry Jones gave us the lineup: Bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion. At Martin’s Grill in Forest Lakes, they’re a bit more purist (this beefy “everything burger” arrives pork-free). Cheese is an option, and then you get mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, ketchup and mustard. “That’s it,” says cook Mike Kopeny.
Head on over to this year’s “Best Of C-VILLE” burger winner Five Guys, however, and the options expand exponentially. For the Guys, Barracks Road location manager Colin Moore tells us, “everything” means mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and mustard. (But you don’t have to stop there! Five Guy’s 15-topping menu also includes such intriguing options as jalapeño peppers and A-1 Sauce.) Back on the more traditional tip, “Best Burger” runner-up Riverside Lunch—which has been serving up the “coldest beer in town” to go with their burgers for years—keeps it relatively simple. Cook Marcus Hill informs us that Riverside’s fully loaded burger comes with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish and onions. And, with a new Forest Lakes location to complement their popular joint off High Street, they should be serving up more heaping hamburgers than ever.
For our final “everything burger” entry, we stopped by the Corner’s famous White Spot, which has been filling UVA students’ bellies for more than 50 years. As manager Samuel Espino tells us, the not-so-secret ingredient to the Spot’s famous Gus Burger is a fried egg, which sits atop a pile of lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, ketchup, onion, pickles and American cheese. And, if you’re really loading up on calories, you can always upgrade to the Motor Burger, which takes the Gus Burger and adds an extra hamburger patty, more cheese, and a thick slice of ham. Now that’s a mouthful!
The White Spot’s Gus Burger
3 oz. (1/4 lb.) ground beef
1 slice American cheese
sliced dill pickle
1 hamburger bun
Prepare and cook the hamburger patty according to taste (the White Spot, it goes without saying, prefers frying). Fry the egg alongside, or immediately after, the burger patty, and make sure to cook it “over hard” (i.e., break the yoke). Lay out the top of the bun, and add the ingredients in this order: mayo, onions, pickle, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, “then we put the burger, cheese and egg on,” says Espino. Now open wide!