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