Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hops Burger Bar

NOTE: Hops has since gone on to receive national recognition (and the crowding that comes with it) and has opened a second location at 2138 Lawndale Drive in Greensboro.

Located at 2419 Spring Garden Street, Hops Burger Bar specializes in burgers but also offers sandwiches, salads, appetizers and more. There are gluten-free and vegetarian options, limited outdoor seating, and a full-service bar.

It was a sad day when Spring Garden Bar and Pizzeria shuttered its doors, but Hops – same location, same owners – has all the makings of a perfectly satisfactory replacement. Spring Garden Pizzeria was known for raising the standard for bar food, and the emphasis on homemade food and quality ingredients has definitely carried over. The burgers are the marquee attraction here, and they leave diners with a plethora of options. You can get your burger sized six ounces or eight, try one of the default combinations or make your own, stick with beef or go vegetarian, etc. This variety extends to the fries, too: Hops has everything from sea-salted to sweet potato to truffle oil.

Fortunately, Hops is more than just something different. The food is made with both competence and care. The default certified Angus beef makes for a juicy burger, and even the default fries are crisp and liberally salted. A goat cheese and pepper jelly combination (available on the Spicy Goat burger on in an app) is also a winner.

Though “craft burger” evokes premium pricing, Hops is decidedly more wallet-friendly than the designation suggests. Six-ounce burgers and one side run from $7 to $8.50 and are quite filling. Eight-ounce burgers are about a dollar more, and fries are $4-$5 for an order large enough for at least two. If the owners decide to resurrect Spring Garden Pizzeria’s half-priced app Wednesdays, the food becomes a downright steal.

Compared to its predecessor, Hops has noticeably shorter wait times. The establishment has always had a hard-working staff, but Spring Garden on a busy night made for slow service. In contrast, the food at Hops finds its way from kitchen to table before you can wonder what the holdup is.

The only thing not improved here, debatably, is the d├ęcor. Spring Garden had a classic neighborhood bar feel with numerous televisions and decorative signage. Hops has opted for a cleaner, less cluttered look. It may appeal to new clientele, but it lacks a certain charm.

Spring Garden Pizzeria will be missed for its coziness and Italian offerings, but Hops looks to admirably fill the void in our stomachs if not our memories.


Hops Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

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