Out-of-touch columnist thinks we need another out-of-town burger chain

George Boardman, the out-of-touch columnist from our local newspaper, is complaining this morning that “we have a scarcity of ‘better burger’ chains that turn up their spatulas at the basic burger in favor of higher-quality meals produced quickly, generally called fast casual.” Thus he concludes: “What we need is more upscale burger choices in Western Nevada County.”

Huh? George must be laying the groundwork for another tenant for the proposed Dorsey Drive shopping mall. Though his family once co-owned the Stonehouse Restaurant in Nevada City, George has never understood the concept of “shop local.” In fact, we have lots of great locally owned restaurants that turn out upscale burgers.

To his credit George mentioned Pine Street Burgers, as we have, but here are some more from a 2011 article in our magazine. The South Pine Cafe in Grass Valley and Nevada City also have first-rate burgers. In Truckee Burger Me has been honored by Esquire magazine.

Here’s the article:

THE BURGER IS AN AMERICAN CLASSIC, just like mom and apple pie. Each year, Americans chow down 40 billion of them. Now the scrawny patty that gave rise to the $130 billion-a-year fast food industry is being reinvented as a gourmet entree. More burgers are being made with organic and local ingredients: grass-fed beef, homemade buns, and produce from local farms. Some are topped with artisan cheese, homemade onion jam or creole remoulade. Here are some favorites:

BURGER ME, TRUCKEE All-natural burgers, with fresh, local ingredients: Meyer natural Angus beef, a Diestel Ranch turkey burger and bison burger. Burgers are topped with caramelized onions. Add Niman Ranch bacon, roasted mushrooms or avocado. Sides include sweet potato fries. 10418 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee 530-587-8852 BurgerMeTruckee.com

IKE’S QUARTER CAFE, NEVADA CITY Free-range beef, homemade organic bun and lettuce and tomatoes from local farms. Organic ketchup too. We like the Gorgonzola mushroom burger or “Voodoo burger,” topped with caramelized onions, Andouille sausage and remoulade. Four creative vegetarian burgers are on the menu. 401 Commercial St., Nevada City 530-265-6138 IkesQuarterCafe.com

KANE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT, GRASS VALLEY A popular restaurant patterned after San Francisco’s famous Original Joes. Like Joe’s, Kane’s serves a big, juicy burger on an Italian-American loaf with steak fries. Three Kobe beef sliders also are served on a sweet bun, with caramelized onion. 120 E. Main St., Grass Valley 530-273-8111 KanesRestaurant.net

LEFTY’S GRILL, NEVADA CITY All burgers are served with a choice of a 1/2 pound beef patty, chicken breast, turkey burger, veggie patty or portabella mushroom. Choose from cheddar, Swiss, jalapeno, jack, Gorgonzola, Brie or mozzarella cheese. Top it with housemade cabernet onion jam. 221 Broad St., Nevada City 530-265-5838 LeftysGrill.com

MATTEO’S PUBLIC, NEVADA CITY A 1/2 pound Niman Ranch patty with bacon, house mustard, cheddar cheese and served with all the fixings. Also a housemade veggie burger, topped with lemon dill dressing. The sesame slaw is delicious. 300 Commercial St., Nevada City 530-265-0782 MatteosPublic.com

MONKEY CAT, AUBURN The Monkey Cat burger is 8 ounces of fresh ground sirloin burger served with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. Served with home-cut fries or a salad. 805 Lincoln Way, Auburn 530-888-8492 MonkeyCat.com

NEVADA COUNTY FREE RANGE BEEF For do-it-yourselfers, go to BriarPatch Co-op Community Market in Grass Valley for Nevada County Free Range Beef. The grass-fed beef is leaner, healthier and more flavorful than grain-fed beef. No growth hormones or antibiotics are used. 530-273-1025 NevadaCountyFreeRangeBeef.com

TOFANELLI’S, GRASS VALLEY These 1/3 pound burgers are char-broiled, Angus ground chuck served with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and a dill pickle spear on an oversized bun with soup, salad or fries. We like the “Wild Burger,” topped with avocado, bacon and melted jack cheese. 302 W. Main St., Grass Valley 530-272-1468 Tofanellis.com

WEST SHORE CAFE, LAKE TAHOE A special house-ground blend, Pt. Reyes blue cheese on an English muffin. Burger add-ons are avocado, bacon and mushrooms. Sweet potato fries, fries or a salad. 5160 W. Lake Blvd., Homewood 530-525-5200 SkiHomewood.com —SierraCulture.com

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

27 thoughts on “Out-of-touch columnist thinks we need another out-of-town burger chain”

  1. Maybe Bored Hoardman was talking about getting a decent burger in town that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg… Sure all the places you mentioned have good to great burgers🍔 but the average Joe around town can’t afford to buy one for himself, let alone his family

    1. At the top of their menu –2- Smoldering Pine Street Burgers,2 fries, 2 malts, best part of $30- I hear you Pete. The common irony in our village —The cost of doing business should include employees paid enough to eat at the same place they work.

  2. Pete,
    A basic burger at Pine Street burgers is $6.25. That’s a real fair price for what you get. (The “all-natural” burger at Carl’s Jr. goes for $4.69 to $6.99).

    1. Didn’t know that price at Pine Street, yes, that is a fair price to me. but I think the burger price at Carls Jr. ($6.99) was for the meal deal with fries and drink. (by the way, I tried it and wouldn’t recommend it. I even went to Aaron big A and paid close to $40 dollars for 3 regular burgers, 1 basket of fries and 3 med drinks…ouch

      1. Hi,
        No, that’s just the burger at Carls Jr. It’s their “new” “all-natural” burger. (The meat is being imported from Australia, says Puzder, because there isn’t enough domestic supply of natural beef available.) http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/12/09/carls-jr-hardees-fast-food-restaurants-all-natural-burger/20139287/ Those Super Bowl ads are expensive (and ridiculous)! http://www.usatoday.com/videos/money/business/2015/01/30/22124657/

  3. I wonder if Bored Georgeman has his burgers wrapped in tin foil so he can recycle it into a hat when he gets home.

  4. Hands down best burger in town is Lefty’s halitosis burger. It isn’t on the menu anymore but they’ll make it on request. Anchovies, blue cheese, garlic, and caramelized onions. It’s a total umami bomb!

  5. Now George Boardman is running away from what he wrote, which is “What we need is more upscale burger choices in Western Nevada County.”
    I’m offering the link to the article on The Union’s website but it has been broken for the past eight hours: http://www.theunion.com/news/15592762-113/george-boardman-epa-statement-wont-change-the-minds-of-the

    Reinette Senum summed it up well on Facebook this morning: “I am truly disturbed by George’s combination of arrogance and ignorance. It’s a bad combination and does not deserve a soap box.”

    Of course, she is not the first. Who can forget this? Being spanked for ignorance on the “Save Our Bridge” campaign: http://www.sierrafoothillsreport.com/2014/08/04/the-union-columnist-boardman-spanked-for-ignorance-on-save-our-bridge-campaign/

  6. Now Boardman thinks I wrote this on Juvinall’s blog: “Anonymous March 23, 2015 at 2:39 PM
    I think the point was that there are plenty of quality and locally owned burgers and the area would not be very well served by yet another corporate chain store running the Mom & Pops out of business and replacing them with low end jobs. If anyone is being clumsy, it is you for writing such a stupid column in the first place and then trying to hide your stupidity with this clumsy response.”

    I don’t comment on Juvinall’s blog, but I couldn’t agree more. George thinks I’m the only one who thinks he’s a dunce. Nope.

  7. I only knew about some of these good options for quality burgers. My mouth is watering.

    Thank you George for bringing it up and Jeff for setting the record straight!

  8. Yeah I have to say I am a fan of Lefty’s.

    Here is my favorite anonymous comment in a while over at the circle of stupid”

    “AnonymousMarch 23, 2015 at 6:28 PM
    The real point is people can eat, shop and spend THIER money where they want, not where the food Nazi’s say we must. It’s AMERCIA, we have the freedom of choice and don’t need Pelline and his Lib buddies dictating where others can and can’t eat. ”

    These guys could make a freedom of speech case out of a ham sandwich.

    1. Lefty’s used to have a “Gorgonzola & Cabernet Onion Jam Burger” that was the best burger I’ve tasted anywhere, in Nevada County or out. But I didn’t see it on their menu when we were in there a couple of weeks ago. Tragic loss.

    1. It’s a locals’ version of the “Adventures of Tarzan”! Or an Old Spice commercial on an endless loop.

  9. I guess the boneheads who comment on Todd’s blog don’t know that In-N-Out is a family-owned, private chain. No franchises.

    1. “fish” (David Larsen of Carmichael) should bone up on the price of CNET stock between the mid-’90s and mid-2000s. What a moron.

  10. According to a March 2016 Policy Brief issued by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 9% of California adults have diabetes and 46% have prediabetes. Nevada County’s rate of prediabetes is 54%, and according to the UCLA study, no other county in California has a higher rate. What we appear to have a scarcity of — here in Nevada County and elsewhere in the U.S. — is the recollection of a culture and community in which modest foods were prepared, served and consumed in modest amounts, and mostly at home. Look at the photos of the old timers all around Grass Valley and Nevada City. Those people don’t look like they spent much time quibbling about gourmet burgers.

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