Washington, D.C., at least to students, is almost infamous for its battle of the burgers. Thunder Burger & Bar offers overpriced but elaborate options. Five Guys is home to cheap and easy fare that’s perfect for a quick lunch or adrunchies fix. Dupont Circle has plenty of options, each attempting to lure customers in with a unique selling point, whether it be non-traditional burger toppings or a variety of hunger-satiating fries.
Needless to say, it’s not the friendliest place for an up-and-coming burger joint, yet Good Stuff Eatery, located on M Street right next to Rhino (in case you have an urge to pregame with fries and shakes) hasn’t seemed to encounter a problem.
Modeled on the concept of bringing the nostalgia of classic American favorites back to the people with fresh and high-quality ingredients, Good Stuff doesn’t rely on any fancy gimmicks to stand out. The most complicated burger slaps a fried egg and bacon on a patty — new alternative to breakfast for dinner? — but it works, because the quality of the food makes simple better.
The menu isn’t complex, although choosing which burger you want might trip you up because everything sounds so mouth-watering. My recommendation is to skip the temptation of the PrezObama Burger — a tantalizing combination of applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo sauce — and go with something basic your first time around, because these guys have really mastered the art of making a burger. The patties are thick, juicy and cooked a lot closer to rare than well. The buns are buttery and freshly baked and the tomatoes are so juicy it’s obvious they’re straight from a farm and haven’t been sitting in the bottom of a box.
If you’re not in the mood for a burger, they also serve wedge salads made with crispy iceberg lettuce in a variety of your basic salad flavors. Although, let’s be real, if you’re in the mood for salad, isn’t that what Sweetgreen is for?
Although the buns got rave reviews from my dinner companions, I ordered a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce, which, made the meal significantly lighter. What’s great is that even though the meal is filling and almost everything you could ever demand a hamburger to be, the prices are reasonable, and even ordering a burger, fries and a shake isn’t going to set you as far back as one burger from Thunder Burger.
We shared a large portion of Spike’s Village Fries: hand-cut fries seasoned with fresh thyme, rosemary and sea salt. They’re not the most sensational fries I’ve ever had — In-N-Out has made me exceptionally biased — but they’re worth ordering just to take advantage of the plethora of mayonnaise choices, which range from chipotle to Old Bay.
And most importantly, make sure you go hungry, because there should be a law against visiting Good Stuff and not indulging in one of their milkshakes. I opted to split a large salty caramel with my friend, but their hand-spun shakes are rich enough that even sharing a small could see you nursing a sugar hangover after the meal.
The shakes are decadent, flavorful and so filling that they’re almost a meal in themselves, but they’re definitely worth the splurge. Flavors range from Milky Way malt to red velvet to toasted marshmallow — which is one of the most popular — and are so delicious you (almost) won’t feel guilty for consuming the entire thing.
Don’t try to go near Good Stuff with anything but an empty stomach, but with its proximity to campus, reasonable prices and richly delicious food, Good Stuff Eatery is the perfect solution for the end of a long week or a much-needed reprieve when the burgers at Leo’s aren’t cutting it anymore.