Decemburger: Beale Street Tavern

First came 50 Burgers, 50 Days. Then Novemburger. 2011 wraps up with a burger a day for Decemburger.
Day 8: Beale Street Tavern
214-B E. Sixth St. 494-6078,
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Wednesday. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 12.08.11
Like Elvis himself, Beale Street Tavern has reinvented itself. Where less than a year ago there was a scattershot of wooden tables and barrelhouse chairs and a random splatter of Elvis showbills, photos and records on the walls there are now smooth black vinyl banquettes and upholstered diner chairs around chrome-rimmed tables.
Lush red velvet curtains rim the walls, the memorabilia forms a pleasant geometry and “Elvis” is autographed in neon above the bar. By God, I think Beale Street has turned into Vegas Elvis. So why is Chris Cornell wailing on the PA?
The burger: One thing hasn’t changed since I hit this place in February, and that’s the Heartbreak Burger ($9.99), a mess of a monument the King would have appreciated almost as much as he would the deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich on the other side of the menu ($9.99). The Heartbreak is a collection of fried onions, pimiento cheese, spicy mayo, a dense beef patty and a fried egg, all teetering on a steroidal picnic bun with a sweet, grainy edge. It ‘s like loading a whole diner blue plate in one handful. The bacon’s crisp, the egg’s over-easy with lacy brown edges, the beef is cooked nicely and the onion rings are sweet, starchy and crackly. The chipotle mayonnaise hijacks the package, so ask for it on the side to better appreciate the rest.
Fries or rings? Onion rings would be deliciously redundant, so I went all Memphis with braised collard greens instead for $1.99. They’re the fine-cut, stick-to-your-teeth kind, tossed in the pan with a little bacon, some vinegar, sugar and a quick hit of spice. They edge out the house-fried potato chips that come standard with the burger and whoop the boilerplate battered fries you can add for $1.99.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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