Can a dish be so good that it’s worth a four-year wait? We first visited Holeman and Finch in Buckhead back in the summer of 2012. We tried to get their burger, noted by some as the best in Atlanta, but at the time, they were only serving them at 10PM, which is way past our bedtime. Then we figured out you could get them at a normal time during their weekend brunch, so we returned, only to be faced with a three-hour wait for a table. No thanks.
Earlier this year, two things happened that aided our quest for this burger. First, they started serving them all of the time at Holeman and Finch. And second, they opened up a restaurant in the Ponce City Market (PCM), H&F Burger. Tonight, we hit PCM for the first time and eat the most talked about burger in Atlanta. Is it the best the city has to offer?
Welcome to the Ponce City Market.
Back in the day (1926–ask your grandfather) this was a Sears Roebuck warehouse. Then it was vacant and decrepit before the city of Atlanta decided to fix it up and make a City Hall East out of it. After the city decided it cost too much to maintain, enter the Jamestown Corporation, who spent many years and many millions fixing it up as a mixed-use complex.
Shopping and dining are just an elevator ride away if you live here.
This is where the cool kids live in the ATL. Why? Location, location, location.
And it’s where the cool kids drink too. If you live here, you could become a hopeless alcoholic. One of the places to drink is the Tap on Ponce, a growler store that just opened in PCM.
You can choose from 56 taps, some of which have wine.
It’s hard to choose, and due to city regulations, they can’t give tastes. (Tastes are available in the suburbs, by the way.) We choose a new beer to us, the local Reformation Quest, an apricot saison which tastes to us a lot like Magic Hat #9 from Vermont.
It’s good, but not our favorite beer from Reformation. Since you can’t taste, a suggestion: go with a beer you know. There are enough choices. You can get it in growlers, or by the glass.
Or fill a growler, get two cups and stroll the market with it. They let you do that.
But enough about beer. We are here for only one reason, and that is the H&F Burger.
We bring our beers in and belly up to the counter. The menu is simple–burgers, hot dogs, shakes, wine and (mostly-local) beer. If you want something more complex, there are plenty of choices in PCM.
WARNING: What you are about to see is “burger porn”. Don’t try this at home. Ordering is easy for us. We knew what we wanted before we arrived.
And here it is…two burgers and an order of fries. Eve gets adds avocado and I add a fried egg to mine. We have waited four years to take a bite of these gorgeous burgers. Four long, hungry, salivating years. At last, here they are, waiting for us to take a giant bite and taste the magic of a H&F burger…and we send them back. Oh, the humanity!
What? You see, dear reader, we ordered them with no onions, and they came full of onions, too many to just pull off of the bun. Four years and four minutes later, we finally taste a H&F burger.
This is love at first bite, so good that a vegetarian would eat one. If this were the 1800’s, a poet would write an ode to this burger. Two patties, half brisket and half chuck, are covered with American cheese and house-made pickles. The yolk from the fried egg runs down the meat and acts as a condiment. No catsup or mustard is required, but if you want some, it’s made right here. The buns are made at the H&F bakery on the Westside. The fries are fresh-cut. Nothing visits the freezer at H&F Burger.
The manager comes over and apologizes about the onions. We figure he is going to offer us a free milk shake, but he actually picks up the tab on the burgers. He does not even know that we are award-winning food bloggers. It is very kind of him to do so. Now we have eaten an incredible burger, and we didn’t even have to pay for it. What a date!
The bottom line on H&F Burger: Earlier, we wondered if this is the best burger in Atlanta. Yes, it is by far the best burger we have had in the city. If you could lick the plate after eating a burger, this would be the one to run your tongue all over. This would be our regular burger bar if it wasn’t so hard to get to from our house in Marietta. (And if PCM didn’t charge to park. Really?) If you haven’t eaten a burger this good, you don’t have to wait as long as we did. It was worth the wait, and it won’t be four years before we have another one.