The Restaurants Featured in Burgers, Brew & 'Que, Season 2
Discover the eateries that Michael Symon visited on his quest for the best burgers, brews and barbecue.
Photo By: Jennifer Boomer / Getty Images ©2016, Television Food Network, GP. All Rights Reserved.
Game — Louisville, Ky.
At Game, in Louisville, Ky., the name says it all: This burger joint with a hunting-lodge feel serves an adventurous selection of meats ranging from elk to wild boar. The Venison Burger combines venison meat with Wagyu beef fat. Chef Adam Kirby tops the burger with mint pesto and Gorgonzola cheese, and puts the whole thing on a sturdy pretzel bun to hold it all together. Don't leave without trying one of Kirby's irresistible side dishes: Pork Belly Scotch Eggs.
Find the Restaurant: Game
Black Swan — Brooklyn
Looking for British pub fare in New York? Black Swan in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, matches craft brews with creative takes on dishes from across the pond. Try Chef Jesse Olguin's upgraded comfort food, like his twist on a classic BLT: the Lobster PLT, a sandwich layered with smoked pork belly, lobster coated in sun-dried tomato aioli, and a fried egg. Another must have: Olguin's homestyle turkey chili paired with Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace — the same beer that goes right into the dish.
Find the Restaurant: Black Swan
Black’s Barbecue — Lockhart, Texas
A family-owned BBQ joint that's been around since 1932, Black's Barbecue has seen four generations of Black family boys who pass down their recipes through the ages, like the secret to their juicy beef ribs made with a special dry rub that "you'd have to marry into the family to find out about." Also famous are their jalapeno-cheddar sausages — spicy smoked beef links that they make thousands of every week.
Find the Restaurant: Black's Barbecue
Tycoon Flats — San Antonio
“Not many burger joints can surprise me like they do here,” says Michael of San Antonio hot spot Tycoon Flats. That’s because Chef Richard Hartman injects his dishes with exciting and creative ingredients, like the buttermilk-fried green apples and creamy blue cheese dressing on his juicy Fried Apple Bacon Burger. For dessert, don’t leave without trying another unique creation: candied-bacon creme brulee. Bonus: The restaurant boasts a giant outdoor space for drinking craft beers with friends and enjoying live music.
Find the Restaurant: Tycoon Flats
Wurst Bar — Cincinnati
This bar may be named Wurst for its selection of sausages, but it’s the best when it comes to serving a Cincinnati staple: the Goetta, a German-inspired dog made from pork, beef and oats. Chef Casey Briggs features this sausage in his U-Betta Goetta sandwich, layered with cheesy hash browns, maple-bacon gravy and a poached egg. For the best Wurst side dish, try the Vroomin’ Shrooms — baby portobello mushrooms stuffed with spicy, cheesy breakfast sausage. Top off the meal with a Blank Slate Shroominous beer, an earthy brown ale brewed with shiitake mushrooms.
Find the Restaurant: Wurst Bar in the Square
Freedmen's — Austin
This barbecue joint, which is also a historical landmark as one of the oldest buildings in Austin, “raises barbecue to a whole new level,” according to Michael. Chef Evan LeRoy “fearlessly uses his smoker for just about everything,” like his signature brunch dish, Barbecue Benedict, which features a flaky biscuit layered with smoked brisket, poached egg and a smoked-tomato hollandaise. LeRoy doesn’t stop there: He even brings barbecue technique to dessert with his Smoked Chocolate Mousse.
Find the Restaurant: Freedmen’s
Korzo — Brooklyn
Husband-and-wife team Maria and Otto Zizak keep the tradition of Slovakian cooking alive in their restaurant, Korzo. Their most-well-known dish is the ultimate mix of Slovakian and American cuisine: the Korzo burger, featuring eastern European flavors, deep-fried inside a Hungarian langos fry bread. Next is bacon-loaded halusky, a creamy potato dumpling dish. For dessert, fried langos dough is used again, this time topped with berries and whipped cream for a sweet treat.
Find the Restaurant: Korzo
Evangeline — New Orleans
For classic Cajun flavors, Michael headed to Evangeline in New Orleans' French Quarter. Husband-and-wife duo Tony and Rhonda Miller, with Chef Jim O'Shea, specialize in seasonal and local Louisiana cuisine, including the restaurant’s selection of 14 local beers. Michael tried the creamy crawfish and grits in a rich, spicy sauce. He finished the meal with the Decatur Street Sundae: vanilla ice cream floating in 40 Arpent Basin Stout and maple bourbon, and topped with bacon crumbles.
Find the Restaurant: Evangeline
County Club — Lexington, Ky.
Johnny Shipley, owner and chef of Lexington's County Club, is known for his hearty sandwich: a biscuit layered with spicy sauteed kale, smoked and buttermilk-fried flank steak, and warm sausage gravy. Shipley also makes a pork belly salad with serrano peppers, fresh watermelon and house-pickled watermelon rind. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert — Michael tried the lemon buttermilk panna cotta, served with blueberry compote and a graham cracker crunch.
Find the Restaurant: County Club
Brown Butter — New Orleans
For Southern-inspired fare, Michael heads to Brown Butter Restaurant in New Orleans, where chefs Dayne Womax and Simon Beck inject down-home classics with unexpected ingredients and bayou flair. First is the Brown Butter Brunch Burger, a juicy patty topped with bacon jam, melted Brie and a sunny-side-up egg. Next, Michael tries the Crab Mac and Cheese. This creamy concoction is packed with chunks of fresh blue crab and housemade pimento cheese, a spicy dip that locals call "the caviar of the South."
Find the Restaurant: Brown Butter Southern Kitchen & Bar
Luther's Cafe — San Antonio
At this diner, which has been feeding San Antonio locals for 65 years, Chef David Mendleson specializes in reimagined comfort foods. He's known for his monster-sized, bacon-wrapped meatloaf sandwich, topped with bacon-fat gravy and a runny egg. Don't fill up just yet, because Southwestern Egg Rolls are next on the menu, a dish that seamlessly combines Tex-Mex flavors with unexpected Asian ingredients like edamame and wasabi. Wash it down with a local San Antonio beer, the Freetail American Amber Red Ale.
Find the Restaurant: Luther’s Cafe
Hometown Bar-B-Que — Brooklyn
For a fusion of Brooklyn flavor with classic Texas BBQ cooking techniques, look no further than Hometown Bar-B-Que. Chef-Owner Billy Durney is "inspired by the melting pot right here in his native borough," says Michael. The Lamb Belly Banh Mi, a sandwich layered with juicy, fatty lamb meat, housemade pickled veggies and hot sauce, is the perfect balance of flavor. Michael couldn't resist trying the Chinese Sticky Ribs, smoked pork ribs coated in a sweet-and-spicy sauce and topped with toasted cashews.
Find the Restaurant: Hometown Bar-B-Que
Willie's Locally Known — Lexington, Ky.
Willie's Locally Known is appropriately named: Known and loved by Lexington locals, this barbecue joint serves up some of the best bites in Kentucky. Michael started his meal with Chef Wilson Sebastian's Pork Burger — a ground pork and beef patty with pickled red onions, cheddar, fried green tomato and Willie's barbecue sauce. Don't forget to try Willie's blackberry habanero smoked chicken wings, which Sebastian smokes, fries and serves with a housemade sauce made from fresh blackberries.
Find the Restaurant: Willie’s Locally Known
Incline Public House — Cincinnati
With patio seating atop a hill that overlooks all of Cincinnati, and a killer menu, this restaurant has it all. The creative comfort food starts with the spicy fried chicken and serrano waffles topped with maple-bacon butter for a sweet and spicy Southern favorite. Next, try Incline's cherry-pepper poppers: hollowed-out pickled cherry peppers that are stuffed with cheese curds, wrapped in bacon and fried. Michael rounded out the meal with a Madtree Happy Amber beer.
Find the Restaurant: Incline Public House
Cane & Table — New Orleans
"It's an 1820s-built Creole style cottage next to one of the oldest ports in the New World," says Nick Detrich of his Caribbean-inspired restaurant, Cane and Table. "We wanted to tell the story of New Orleans food and its heritages in the Caribbean." Chef Jason Klutts definitely achieves this with his crispy rum ribs — deep-fried rum-soaked pork ribs, covered in a papaya chutney and Korean chili paste. Klutts also serves killer calas (a cala is a sweet, floral fried-rice doughnut that is the forefather of the classic beignet).
Find the Restaurant: Cane & Table
Jimmy G’s — Cincinnati
Jimmy G’s may be a fine-dining steakhouse, but the Barge Bash Burger is the real star of the menu. Chef Jimmy Gibson uses lean meat but mixes in a whole lot of butter and onion before coating it in a spice mix and cooking to perfection. He layers the burger with bacon tomato jam, blue cheese and baby arugula. For dessert, look no further than Gibson's boozy peanut butter ice cream.
Find the Restaurant: Jimmy G’s
The Belfry — Kansas City, Mo.
Celina Tio, the chef and owner of Kansas City's The Belfry, describes her preferred cuisine as "chef-driven bar food," which works perfectly with the 20 craft beers on tap and the 85 in bottles. Tio even uses beer in her recipes, including a lamb shepherd's pie of creamy mashed potatoes, ground lamb leg and a smoky sauce made with Dark Truth Stout. The beer-based meal doesn't stop there; Tio prepares spiced buttermilk doughnuts with dark stout caramel for dessert.
Find the Restaurant: The Belfry
The Salt Lick — Driftwood, Texas
Driftwood may be a small farm community in central Texas, but there's one great reason to visit this tiny town: The Salt Lick. This family-owned restaurant has been around for 50 years, and it's easy to understand why: Its barbecue process is unparalleled. Their Texas Smoked Brisket is dry-rubbed, smoked for 20 hours and continually basted, chilled for 24 hours, and smoked one more time before being coated with sweet barbecue sauce and grilled in an open pit. For dessert, don't leave without trying the sweet, buttery peach cobbler.
Find the Restaurant: The Salt Lick BBQ
Salt + Smoke — St. Louis
Barbecue lovers, if you want an array of original sauces to slather on your ribs, look no further than St. Louis staple Salt + Smoke. Chef Tom Schmidt serves his smoked sweet-and-salty St. Louis Style Ribs with four unique barbecue sauces: Carolina mustard, Missouri sweet and smoky sauce, cayenne and apple cider vinegar sauce, and I Can’t Even — his signature chile-and-apricot sauce. Also famous is Schmidt’s take on toasted ravioli, a St. Louis classic, which he fills with burnt ends.
Find the Restaurant: Salt + Smoke
Moonshine — Austin
Michael raved about Moonshine’s peach-glazed pork chops, as many Austin locals do. Chef Danny Kievit cooks his pork chops sous vide in a sweet and spicy brine and tops them with jalapeno, dried cherries and a chutney made with local Texas peaches that “would make Georgia angry.” Michael couldn’t resist trying Kievit’s peanut butter mousse pie, which he called “the world’s best peanut butter cup wrapped into a pie,” and topped it off with an Infamous IPA, a local Austin brew.
Find the Restaurant: Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
Bistro Byronz — Baton Rouge, La.
At Bistro Byronz in Baton Rouge, sibling duo Brock and Emelie Kantrow are cooking up French classics with a Cajun twist; Michael called their French-style bistro the “tastes of Paris with a Southern accent.” This proves true with their Croque Madame Burger, a Gruyère-filled turkey burger topped with ham, a poached egg and a smoky bacon Mornay sauce. Chef John Lundin also prepares a classic Louisiana etouffee with fried fresh, local crawfish to soak up the butter and spices.
Find the Restaurant: Bistro Byronz
Mussel and Burger Bar — Louisville, Ky.
For a gourmet burger with a kick, Louisville locals head to Mussel and Burger Bar. Chef Fernando Martinez's Argentinian beef-and-chorizo patty is topped with caramelized onion, provolone cheese, tomato chutney and a spicy chimichurri sauce. Don't leave without trying the Bacon Cinnabomb for dessert. Michael called this maple-bacon cinnamon roll topped with salted caramel sauce, cream cheese-vanilla frosting and bacon crumbles his "favorite dessert of all time."
Find the Restaurant: Mussel & Burger Bar
The Village Idiot — Lexington, Ky.
Brian Behr’s uniquely named Lexington pub may have a giant selection of craft beers on tap, but it’s known for one thing in particular: the Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich. Chef Jason Ritchey doesn't shy away from powerful Asian-style flavors, with housemade pickled vegetables, sesame seeds, scallions and perfectly fried chicken tossed in gochujang, a sweet and spicy Korean barbecue sauce. Try Ritchey's bourbon bread pudding with caramel sauce for dessert, and finish the meal with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
Find the Restaurant: The Village Idiot
The Rum House — Baton Rouge, La.
At Eric Nicaud's Caribbean-inspired restaurant, Michael sank his teeth into The Rum House's signature Brisket Melt. Made from beef marinated in roasted peppers, onion and garlic, and smoked for 16 hours, this sandwich packs a flavorful punch. Chef Floyd Kinset tops it with chimichurri sauce, ancho chile chutney, melted Jack cheese, aioli and fried shallots. Michael ditched his fork for dessert and enjoyed Kinset's Mile-High Key Lime Pie as messy finger food.
Find the Restaurant: The Rum House
Sugarfire Smoke House — St. Louis
At Sugarfire, chef Mike Johnson combines his fine-dining background with his passion for barbecue to create unique and intricate dishes like The Big Muddy sandwich. Named after the local nickname for the Mississippi River, this dish layers smoked brisket, jalapeno-cheddar sausage and two homemade sauces — a sweet St. Louis barbecue sauce and white horseradish sauce — for a sandwich that’s sweet, smoky and spicy. Don’t leave without trying Johnson’s signature candied sweet-potato pie with smoked sea salt.
Find the Restaurant: Sugarfire Smoke House
Pilsener Haus & Biergarten — Hoboken, N.J.
Michael admits that it will take a special restaurant to get him to cross the river from New York to New Jersey, but this eastern European biergarten is just the place. Owner Ladi Sebestyan channels his Czech roots to create a beer house that combines over 60 brews with hearty, meaty dishes. Chef James Avery’s sauerbraten is the perfect example. This German pot roast with Brussels sprouts and bacon takes five days to make, but it’s well worth the wait — Michael called it an “unctuous piece of heaven.” He washed it all down with a tasting of four specialty brews, including Strongbow English cider.
Find the Restaurant: Pilsener Haus & Biergarten
La Petite Grocery — New Orleans
Husband and wife Justin and Mia Devillier put their knowledge of fine dining and their love of New Orleans to work at La Petite Grocery, a restaurant inspired by traditional Creole cuisine. Michael tried the LPG Cheeseburger, a burger of grass-fed beef with tons of toppings, including onion marmalade, melted Gruyère cheese and arugula. Also worth trying are La Petite Grocery’s signature blue crab beignets; this twist on a classic New Orleans treat combines mascarpone cheese with fresh crab, fried in beer batter and served with malt vinegar aioli.
Find the Restaurant: La Petite Grocery
Left Bank Burger Bar — Jersey City
Husband and wife Daniel and Nine DeAlmeida got tired of not being able to get a good burger in Jersey City, so they opened Left Bank Burger Bar. Michael was all about trying their Ghost Face Burger, a brisket-and-short-rib-blend patty griddled with an espresso rub, then topped with smoked Gouda, ghost chile tomato jam, sweet potato-bacon tots and mustard barbecue sauce. Don't miss out on ordering a side of fries: The Jersey Devil Fries are twice-fried and topped with housemade blue cheese dressing, housemade Buffalo sauce and a final garnish of blue cheese.
Find the Restaurant: Left Bank Burger Bar
Crescent Hill Craft House — Louisville, Ky.
In Louisville, Michael stopped by Crescent Hill Craft House to check out the 40 brews offered. Owner Beau Kerley makes connections with all the brewers to ensure the best beer is on tap. But it's the pastrami-spiced Salmon Sandwich that really caught Michael's eye. Just as it sounds, salmon is rubbed with pastrami spices, grilled and served with mustard aioli and beer-infused kraut. And for dessert, there's always room for the Pretzel Monkey Bread, drizzled with cream ale glaze. A refreshing, citrusy Louisville lager makes the perfect pairing.
Find the Restaurant: Crescent Hill Craft House
La Barbecue — Austin
For some killer barbecue, Michael headed to Texas, where LeAnn Mueller, daughter of legendary pitmaster Bobby Mueller, has teamed up with John Lewis to open La Barbecue. Here it's all casual, as the food is smoked in the back, prepared in a trailer and everyone eats outside. El Loco is the sandwich to get: It combines smoked brisket, smoked pork shoulder, chipotle slaw, Jack cheese and corn chips, all formed into a softball-size ball and placed on a soft roll. "It's Texas. It's got to be big," joked Michael. It's one sandwich that incorporates everything Michael loves.
Find the Restaurant: La Barbecue
Char Bar — Kansas City, Mo.
At Char Bar, owner Cory Puckett and Chef Michael Peterson are putting a modern twist on Kansas City barbecue. The Burnt Heaven Sandwich is the perfect example. The cubed burnt ends carved from the fat cap of a smoked brisket get piled high with slices of smoked kielbasa, chipotle mayonnaise, coleslaw and fried jalapenos on a buttery bun. Also worth trying are the Cheesy Hushpuppies made with cheese and jalapenos. They're served with "beer" blanc, a creamy beer sauce, and jalapeno jam.
Find the Restaurant: Char Bar
High Hat Cafe — New Orleans
Chip Apperson opened New Orleans' High Hat Cafe in a building left vacant after Hurricane Katrina. Locals now flock there for the best Southern food and local brews. The Oyster Remoulade Po' Boy is made with fried Gulf oysters, tossed in a vinaigrette-based remoulade, and served on classic New Orleans bread. Not to be missed is the BBQ Shrimp, prepared with dark amber ale and finished with a spicy compound butter. Wash it all down with NOLA Brewing Co.'s Blonde Ale.
Find the Restaurant: High Hat Cafe
Emily — New York City
Husband and wife Matt and Emily Hyland may have made their Brooklyn restaurant famous for pizza, but it's the only burger on the menu that got Michael's interest. The Emmy burger starts with a 30-day dry-aged beef patty. It's served with spicy Emmy sauce and caramelized onions on a pretzel bun. Michael didn't leave without trying the Camp Randall pizza — topped with mushrooms, sausage and cheese curds, a nod to the University of Wisconsin — and the S'mores Calzone, which is exactly as it sounds.
Find the Restaurant: Emily
Slap's BBQ — Kansas City, Kan.
Run by competitive barbecuers and brothers Mike and Joe Pearce, Slap's BBQ features their award-winning barbecue. Most noteworthy is their St. Louis cut ribs, which get a rub down in the brothers' simple spice mix before it goes into the smoker for two hours, then another two hours packed in brown sugar and wrapped in foil, which ensures the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Also popular are the smoked turkey breast and the warm baked potato casserole.
Find the Restaurant: Slap’s BBQ
Junction — New Orleans
In New Orleans' Bywater District, you'll find Junction, a restaurant that offers all types of unique burgers named after the nation's railroad lines. The Hawaii Consolidated is the burger to get. It's served on a toasted brioche bun spread with teriyaki sauce and pineapple jam (both made in-house), and it's topped with Monterey Jack and Canadian bacon. For dessert, Chef Abe Lemoine offers his upside-down pineapple cake, which includes pecans and is served with housemade pale ale beer ice cream.
Find the Restaurant: Junction
Frank — Austin
Six years ago friends Daniel Northcutt and Geoff Peveto opened Frank, which specializes in (drumroll) sausages and hot dogs. They also carry 60 different beers. The Fico Anatra is a sausage that blends duck and pork, and it gets topped with fig mostarda, goat cheese and fried shallots. Also worth trying is The Frankencookie, a chocolate chip cookie topped with candied bacon and coffee ice cream. And to wash it all down, enjoy The Whole Enchilada, their version of a Michelada, garnished with little smokies.
Find the Restaurant: Frank
Stacked — St. Louis, Mo.
Friends Laura, Matt and Sam opened this gourmet burger joint with the hopes of showing off their unique creations. Laura's recipe for the Big Fat Greek Burger caught Michael's eye. It's topped with roasted red pepper hummus, tapenade, feta cheese, and pickled cucumber and onion. "I don't think they make burgers in Greece," said Michael. "But if they did, this would be the one." Don't leave without trying the brownie with Mexican hot chocolate ice cream and bacon-bourbon-caramel sauce.
Find the Restaurant: Stacked Burger Bar
Taco Flats — Austin
At Taco Flats in Austin, Texas, owner and Chef Simon Madera is highlighting the authentic Mexican flavors he learned from his mother, who is also the resident tortilla maker. Traditionally tacos aren't served with cheese in Mexico, but The Gringa is made with Jack cheese crusted onto a flour tortilla, then topped with marinated spit-roasted pork shoulder. Wash it all down with one of the 18 local brews on offering. If you prefer something lighter, have the tuna tostada made on a corn tortilla.
Find the Restaurant: Taco Flats
City Pork — Baton Rouge, La.
For the ultimate pork lovers' sandwich, order the Pork Belly Hoagie at City Pork, where Chef Ryan Andre uses not one but four cooking techniques (smoking, searing, braising and deep-frying) to create succulent porcine bites. The sandwich is served with mustard greens, first smoked, then sauteed in bacon, and finally braised. If you've got room for more pork — and what pork lover doesn't — try the side dish of Wild Boar Flautas served with a smoked avocado dipping sauce.
Find the Restaurant: City Pork Brasserie & Bar
More Burgers, Brew & 'Que
Learn more about the show, watch video extras from the locations and hear from Michael.