(This should technically be the ultimate installment of the Philadelphienne’s “best burgers in Philadelphia” series but my love for red meat knows no bounds).
I rarely refer to anything as the BEST.THING. EVER. because I’m constantly surprised and impressed by restaurant openings and innovative food trends starting in Philadelphia. At any given moment, a new chef could come on the scene and set an entirely new standard for the city’s collective dining experience. That said, I have absolutely no qualms at all with stating that the burger at Village Whiskey is the BEST. BURGER. EVER.
This past Saturday found my friend Josh and I at Village Whiskey, Jose Garces’ burger and bourbon concept, for the second time in two weeks, but I’m obviously not counting visits (or calories, for that matter), ordering the eponymous Village Burger – eight ounces of sustainable, farm-raised Angus from Maine on a sesame roll absolutely coated in house-made thousand island dressing (I know, so healthy that I had to run more than my usual half-assed 10-minute mile on a treadmill to burn it off but totally worth it). Village Whiskey has a “build your own burger” concept and having friends with impeccable taste when it comes to burger toppings, we both chose Jasper Hill Cheddar and pickled long-hots (Haystack Mountain chèvre and truffled mushrooms is another favorite combination). Because you can’t eat your body weight in trans-fats without having fries, we also ordered the duck fat French fries accompanied by a cheddar sauce laced with local Sly Fox beer. I wish I could describe the taste but basically it’s so good that my brain just shut down during the entire, dead-silent 120 seconds* we took to finish them.
In addition to amazing devilled eggs, Village Whiskey also specializes in Prohibition cocktails. Two highlights include the Cabana, a sophisticated take on the mojito, with Anejo rum, green Chartreuse, mint and lime, served in a coupe and topped with cava, and also a classic and fruit-less (thank god…you know how I feel about fruit in cocktails) Pimm’s Cup with lemon, ginger syrup and cucumber.
Side note – If you wanted to go all out and also possibly take a gamble with a heart attack, the Whiskey King is another menu feature: an 8 oz. Angus beef burger with maple bourbon-glazed cippolini onions, Rogue blue cheese, applewood bacon and your usual run-of-the-mill burger topping: foie gras.
Location: 118 S. 20th Street (northwest corner of 20th & Sansom; ironically across the street from Shake Shack)
Website: Village Whiskey
Take Note: Village Whiskey does not take reservations and seating is limited. Walking in on a weekend afternoon should be no problem but Thursday through Saturday night? If you can survive the 2-hour wait without salivating to death, you’re a stronger person than I am.
TLDR: I can’t talk about the Village burger without getting highly emotional. It may just be the cravings.
*I’m being extremely liberal with time here