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Seattle Burger Review: Pioneer Square’s BRGR is your typical ‘bar burger’

(Tom Amato, KTTH)

I’m on a mission to find the best burger in the city of Seattle. I travel to various burger joints within city limits and rate the establishment’s most popular burger on a scale of 1-10. Of all the measures I use, taste is most important. 

BRGR Bar is in Pioneer Square. The inside of the bar couldn’t resemble the locale more. Cigarette-smoke aroma drifts through the tiny confines, the single-occupancy bathroom isn’t clean (and smells the part), the old wooden floor doesn’t look particularly polished, and the sunlight coming through the doorway doesn’t reach majority of the bar. It’s a good thing they serve food, however.  

They told me their most popular burger varied by the day, but indicated “The Classic” is well-received when bacon is added. It’s a beef patty topped with American cheese, arugula, house-made thousand island sauce, and served on a brioche bun they receive fresh from Grand Central Bakery a block away. They ask you how you would like it cooked and I said medium. It was cooked properly.  

It’s a very wide burger that probably tops a quarter-pound. One thing I think I’ve discovered during my burger expedition is how many restaurants fib about their beef being a quarter-pound.

BRGR Bar
The “Classic” burger from BRGR Bar in Pioneer Square

Unfortunately, I don’t bring a scale with me, but the beef from BRGR looked the part. It’s a thicker-than-thin slab of beef that probably contains a tad more fat content than most. It’s very filling, as I came hungry and left stuffed.

Make sure to note the internal heat of the patty; it comes hot. The fries were delicious, and I would have mixed some in during consumption, but the burger was greasy and I wanted to keep it in my hands to avoid spreading grease everywhere.  

There was a ton of drip associated with the burger, but it was fairly dry in terms of sauce, which should tell you something about the grease. The burger isn’t particularly juicy either. They could throw some more thousand island sauce on, but they might be weary of the mess it would exacerbate.

The brioche bun is very fluffy, which I always enjoy. The bottom will get soggy, but an average speed eater should be able to finish the whole thing before completely losing it. I had no qualms with any of the vegetables on the burger. I normally advocate for onions, but in this case, I think with the little amount of sauce they put on, as well as the grease factor, onions might not mesh well.  

Let’s touch on the arugula: My stance on arugula, which may differ from yours, is that it’s unnecessary on burgers. I’m not convinced it contributes to the taste much. However, what it does do is fall out and get stuck in my teeth. If it comes on a burger, I’ll be fine with it, but let’s not pretend putting arugula on an American-made burger will make it jump from a 6 to a 6.5. It doesn’t need to be there.  

“The Classic” is $7.50 on its own, but $9.50 if you add fries. Adding bacon to the burger will cost you an extra $3.00. It’s important to remember that you’ll be dining in Pioneer Square, so in your head, make sure to acknowledge you’ll be spending another $5.00 on parking.  

BRGR Bar burger ratings

Biggest strength(s): Size, internal heat, good taste overall  

Biggest weakness(s): Drips grease, dry, atmosphere isn’t appetizing  

This is your basic “bar burger.” Bars, on average, do two things well: Sell alcohol and grill burgers. The good thing about bar burgers is they’re usually good. I’ll give “The Classic” from BRGR Bar a 7/10.  

What do you think of their burger? Where should I go next? Tweet me, @TommAmato. 

Past reviews: 8 Oz Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill (7.5/10), Henry’s Tavern (Bellevue) (9/10), Impossible Burger (1/10), Katsu Burger (7.5/10), Rain City Burgers (6/10)

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