Burger Bar 419: the American classic…only better

. September 6, 2012.

Burger Bar 419
4400 Heatherdowns Blvd. 11B
Mon-Thur: 11am-11pm
Fri-Sat: 11am-1am
Sun: 11am-9pm

Think about it.  If you are craving Italian food, you go to an Italian restaurant. When you’re parched and want a specialty latte, you stop by the local coffee shop. It only makes sense, that if the all-American favorite, a juicy hamburger, is what you crave —  then you should head to a burger joint! Sure, there are many places around Toledo that serve up some tasty burgers with a cold draft beer and fries. However, if you are looking to take things up a notch, then you’ll want to sink your teeth into Burger Bar 419.

A classic, contemporary flair

Burger Bar 419 has been sizzlin’ since it opened last May on Heatherdowns near Eastgate. Their motto is simple: “Good Flippin’ Burgers.”  It is owned by two  proud T-Town boys, Moussa Salloukh and Tony House. Salloukh is also co-owner of LaScola and The Hungry I. His restaurants all have their own niche and Burger Bar 419 is no exception.

“It’s a concept I had been working on for a year and a half,” says Salloukh who loved the burger joints he visited in New York, Chicago and other metropolitan areas. “America has always had a love affair with the burger,” Salloukh explains, but he didn’t want the new restaurant to be “run of the mill” and he wanted to add contemporary flair to everything from the burgers, to the drinks, to the atmosphere.  The décor feels “big city,” but comfortable. The walls are adorned with countless paintings for sale by local artists. Salloukh and House are very pro-local, and purchase everything they can from local purveyors including their beef, breads and produce.

Menu options foodies will drool over

Salloukh and House have set out to please foodies from around town, not to mention the sophisticated pallets. Therefore, their appetizers are out of the ordinary, and their burgers are a bit extraordinary. For starters, my family tried the sriracha-soy deviled eggs (with sugar bacon and arugula) for $6. Sounds a little odd for an appetizer, eh? I agree, but we just had to try them, and wow, they were delicious. Even my children were daring and gave them a try. Yes, every last one disappeared. Other interesting options include baked egg with spinach, cream and smoked cheddar, roasted marrow bones with sweet onion marmalade and garlic crostini. The list of unusual items continues and we’d love to return to try more.  

The kids’ menu offered hamburgers, grilled cheese, baked mac-n-cheese (no Kraft stuff here) and cheeseburgers served with a side for $5. Drinks are extra for $1.25, or you could treat the kids to one of their handcrafted sodas for $2 or a delicious milkshake for $5. My kids’ cheeseburger orders were inadvertently put in as adult burgers, but they brought them out to us anyway and only charged us the kids’ menu prices. My children are still talking about the burgers, but even more so about the wonderful fresh cut fries and the hand-battered onion petals. Those are a definite treat.

As for the burger menu, prepare for an agonizingly tough decision. There are 15 original burgers on the menu including the good ole standby classic burger. You may also say “cluck it” and have a chicken patty in place of beef.  And  non-meat eaters may enjoy the salads or vegetarian sandwiches.

We tried the must-have that included  bibb lettuce, grilled tomato, taleggio cheese, portabella mushrooms and balsamic glazed red onion. The more ingredients the better! The Italian included arugula, balsamic grilled tomato, basil aioli and mozzarella with pickled peppers. These are not your ordinary backyard burgers. There are burgers with a fried egg on top as well as short ribs, blue cheese, paté, cole slaw, salmon — and the list continues, seemingly unending. Every burger has the perfect blend of the best ingredients. And if you’re into ketchups, mustards and mayo you’ll enjoy their homemade selection of unique flavored condiments.

My kids really enjoyed our visit and keep asking when we can go back. After all, it just doesn’t get more American than hamburgers and apple pie.

Bottom Line:  Burger Bar 419 takes an American classic and transforms it into something hip, fun and sophisticated. The distinctive menu items and unique burger concoctions will make it difficult to decide what to order first, while the kids will enjoy choices of American classic comfort food, handcrafted sodas and shakes.

Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland. She can be reached in c/o editor@toledoparent.com.