Located on the 23rd Street corner of Washington Circle, Burger Tap & Shake serves perfect college food. Cheap and delicious, its char-griddled burgers not only please the palate but also warm the soul — proving that comfort food can still impress the most refined of diners.
BTS prepares its House and Signature burgers with great attention to quality and preparation. BTS uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients that, in my opinion, improve its classic American menu of milkshakes, burgers and a la carte sides — namely French fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings. The restaurant grinds a custom blend of three-day-aged, naturally raised beef chuck and brisket for its burgers every day. BTS does not try to win its diners over with intricate culinary sleight of hand or with exotic ingredients but instead focuses on letting its diners taste the care that they put into their food.
A burger joint with a stainless-steel kitchen and an industrially decorated dining room, BTS only offers counter service — which also means that you seat yourself. This, I found, made the ordering process quick and easy. I selected the unfortunately named — but soon to be proven delicious — Big Daddy burger with a side of fries. After I placed my order, I was promptly provided with a buzzer. Not having eaten in what seemed like days, I eagerly anticipated receiving my meal. As I waited, I noticed that the restaurant has windows on all sides and room for all despite the hustle and bustle. This provided a unique environment of constant motion without any of the usual hassles such as not being able to find a table or not being able to carry on a conversation with your party. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the atmosphere and in a bit of people-watching as well.
Suddenly, my buzzer went off. I walked up to the counter, trying not to show my eager anticipation, and picked up my order. I quickly spread some ketchup over the fries, picked up a lone fry and bit down. Crispy, salty and yet sweet, the fry met all of my expectations. I then directed my attention to my primary concern: the burger. With a better presentation than a Five Guys burger and fresher ingredients than a Shake Shack burger, this burger satisfies.
My burger, the Big Daddy, is composed of BTS’s daily prepared beef with smoked bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, Lea & Perrins mushrooms and AP sauce — which could best be described as what McDonald’s special sauce aims but fails to achieve. Also of interest was the proportion of my burger: The patty was perfectly formed — smaller and more manageable than a Five Guys regular patty but larger and more filling than your average fast-food chain burger. Furthermore, the burger is not sloppy. Unlike many of the “high-quality” burgers we’ve been trained to accept — haphazardly put together and constantly evading grasp — my BTS burger could be put down without fear of collapse and could be eaten as easily as the fries that accompanied it.
If you are looking for a new place to go for a meal where the only surprise is the quality of your meal, you should you make your way down to Burger Tap & Shake, but bring a friend — you may need someone with whom to rave about the food.