Seven Burgers in Miami

Filet Mignon
2009/02/08 13:35:35
After eating a first-class cheeseburger at the Brickyard Bar and Grill in Daytona Beach, I set out to try to find its equal in Miami-Dade county, where I live.  Since the first place I went to has closed, I thought that I should post the most recent seven candidates before another restaurant closes!
In no particular order...
This is a micro-brewery, sports bar and restaurant next door to the University of Miami. The name is as in the famous steamship Titanic. It is right across the street from Mark Light Stadium, for you college baseball fans. I had heard that they offer more than the standard bar food, and take pride in their kitchen, as well as the beer.

The restaurant is divided in two, with a bar on the left:

…and a dining room on the right:

They really do brew beer here, and here is some of the equipment:

I ordered a house-made Turbine Steamship Ale, and it was very good. Rich, creamy, and great head and a good hops/barley balance.
I ordered a medium-rare cheeseburger with pepper-jack cheese and grilled onions The cheeseburger came on a good onion roll, and was juicy and properly cooked. The grilled onions were under the cheese, which I like. It was very good, but perhaps would have been better done on a char-grill.

I recommend this restaurant, and look forward to trying some of their other offerings.
Shorty’s has been a Miami institution since 1941. The building at this, the original location, has burned down twice, but the current one looks a lot like the original.

Air conditioning and plasma televisions have been added, but it still is very rustic, with communal tables for dining.
Although known (of course!) for barbecued meats and chicken, I only recently heard that they served burgers. The more that I thought about it, the more appealing was the idea that they probably cooked them over wood coals. The aroma of hickory smoke was obvious as I pulled in.
Yes, they do cook with real wood:

I ordered the ten ounce cheddar cheeseburger cooked medium.

It came with fries, lettuce, tomato and onion.
Here is a shot of it cut in half:

This was a good cheeseburger. It might have been cooked a little past medium, but it was juicy, with a great “char” on the outside, and a smoky flavor. Definitely wood flame cooked . The cheddar cheese had a rich flavor, and even the roll was better than average, although I would have liked it even more if it had sesame or poppy seeds. The French fries were obviously frozen crinkle-cut, but were a properly prepared example of that type. I saw onion rings on the menu, but the price of $4.95 seemed a bit much at an informal restaurant.
Here is the standard menu:

In the back of the photo of Shorty’s you can see some taller buildings. In a triangle bordered by an expressway, elevated train tracks and the Dadeland shopping mall the zoning was changed some years ago to provide for high-density mixed residential/business development. The result is a sort of mini urban core. One of the developments is named Downtown Dadeland, and the name has spread to the whole area. Sgt. Peppers Café is in the ground-floor corner of one of the apartment buildings.

This is a very casual order-at-the-counter type of place, with a lot of subs and sandwiches on the menu. They have another location near to my home that is a bare-bones, mostly take-out pure sub shop that does a fair job, so I thought I’d try the more fancy “café” location. I actually went to try the “pretzel dog” shown on the web site, but they told me that they no longer carried that item.

I saw several burgers on the menu, and ordered a half-pounder with mozzarella and grilled onions. They cooked it on a flat-top grill, and then cut it in half and put it on two haves of a sub roll.
This is how it ended up:

It actually was fairly tasty, but there is way too much bread, and the bread should have been toasted. In retrospect, putting everything into one of the sub roll halves would have worked better. They do make an effort to cook to the doneness (is that a word?) that the customer desires.
Betty‘s Best Burgers

 This used to be a Fuddrucker’s, but now is independently owned. I drive by it almost daily, and I thought it was worth a try.
Here is the spruced-up outside of the building:

They still seem to bake their own buns and cookies, but there is no glassed-in butcher shop like in Fuddrucker’s twenty years ago. There was a graphic over the ordering area that indicated the various descriptions of doneness available, which was a good omen, I thought. One-third, one-half and three-quarter pound hamburgers are available. I ordered a one-third pounder with provolone.
After ordering, I wandered around and picked up a tray and utensils, and scouted the condiment stations. I edged over and peeked into the kitchen, to see what they were up to. I immediately spotted something distressing. There were piles of what looked to be precooked burgers stacked up next to the flat-top grill. (uh-oh…)
Here is a view of the cavernous interior:

When my order came up, I sat myself down and applied some mustard to one half of the roll. Then, I cut the hamburger in half to have a look at the meat. It was pretty much well-done, not medium like I ordered. Also, the outside of the roll was greasy. I think, from what I observed, that they toast the cut side of the rolls en mass, and brush them with margarine or something, and it drips to the bottom of the pan. Well, time to chow down. Oops! The mustard from the “spicy brown” dispenser was honey mustard. That was NOT what I wanted on a hamburger. Another unpleasantness.
After some thought, I decided that the stacked burgers may be par-cooked ½ and ¾ pounders, ready to be finished to order.
    1. Burger doneness off. (Perhaps I should have ordered rare?)
    2. Greasy roll. Don’t know what to do about that.
    3. Honey mustard. (taste before applying?)
    4. Scary ½ and ¾ pound burgers sitting around.
I had really wanted to like this place, so I went back a second time. I tried to second-guess the grill cook by ordering medium rare, and it came out with more pink then the first time:

I got the right mustard this time, however, a new problem had arisen. The burger had a kind of bad grease taste, perhaps from old grill grease? Whatever it was, I found it unpleasant.
All in all, I cannot recommend this place for dining. Your milage may vary.
This is a newly-opened restaurant housed in a remodeled Ranch House chain building on US-1 in Palmetto Bay.

The décor and some items on the menu seem a little upscale for a road food dining experience, but the lunch cheeseburger special is $7.95 with fries, which is reasonable around here. Noting the fellow in the tee shirt and shorts in the shot of the interior, I guess that they do not have a fancy dress code.

The half-pound “black angus” cheeseburger is available with choice of cheese, and includes the bacon, lettuce and tomato that you can see in the photo below. The fries are fresh-cut, and are available in plain or seasoned versions.

Here is the "meat shot":

This is a very good burger, cooked on a char-broil grill to order, with whatever doneness level you want. I liked it, but for some reason it was not as “beefy” as I would have liked. I can’t figure out why. Incidently, the staff was very solicitous about my satisfaction. I have been there about four times now, and always enjoy it.
Off in the south Miami-Dade county mangrove preservation area, there is the Black Point Ocean Grill in a marina with a channel leading to the ocean. Lots of nice boats and pelicans to look at there.
There is a bar with reasonable prices and pleasant barmaids:

Here is the main dining area:

They seem to always have on the menu a Black Point Burger, which is the chef’s rotating special. Last week it was a cheeseburger with tobacco
onion rings (meaning finely-shredded onions) with ranch dressing. I wasn’t so sure about the ranch dressing, but I didn’t delete it from the order.
Here it is:

I ordered medium-rare, and that is how it was cooked on the char-grill. This was a very good burger, and the juices soon soaked the bottom of the roll. The onions/ranch combination worked. The last time I had a burger here, the special of the week was a bacon cheeseburger with four cheeses, and it was great, too. The included fries were of the frozen, seasoned variety, but they properly cooked and were tasty.
Here’s “The Meat”:

About 35 miles north of Black Point is the Oleta River State Park, with more mangroves and water.

In one of the park buildings next to the water is the food concession known as the Blue Marlin Fish House.

They sell great smoked fish here, and other seafood items (more on that in another review). The concessionaire “DJ” suggested that I try one of his burgers, and I did two days ago.

The best roll by far, very fresh lettuce, onion and and tomato, uncommon (in the restaurants to which I went) waffle fries, and very fresh meat. But, there was no “char” to it. DJ showed me the professional sandwich grills that he cooks most things on, and evidently they are not hot enough to give the burger the touch that I like. I think also that my ordering it medium rare gave less time for a crust to develop (and I think it was more on the rare side of doneness). He told me that he may be able to start using a gas char-grill in the large food catering trailer in the future. The accompanying cole slaw was homemade, and very good.
Here is the contact information for the top six places:
Black Point Ocean Grill 24775 SW 87th Avenue, Cutler Bay 305-258-3918 (no web site)
Blue Marlin Fish House 2500 NE 163rd Street, North Miami Beach 305-957-8822 (no web site)
Cooper’s Resto Bar 16701 South Dixie Highway, Palmetto Bay 305-234-1444 (no web site)
Sgt. Pepper’s Café
Shorty’s BBQ
Titanic Brewery
post edited by MiamiDon - 2009/02/08 20:22:56
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 14:08:33
Sheesh!  I wish you'd put some time into your reports instead of just dashing off a report with so little useful information .  (j/k)

Awesome report
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 14:19:59
Thanks Don......I used to go by Oleta State Park all the time and never knew that there was asuch a good place there
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 14:55:39
Gee Thanks, Now I am craving a burger! 
Great thread Don, thanks for your research and the effort.
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 15:11:36
Miami Don with the great Miami burger report! Wow!
You're winning the way to my heart with all those burger shots!

SHORTY'S : been there for BBQ, but not for a burger..... but since you liked the nice charbroiled burger, I'm game !
(perhaps I'll order onion rings instead of those frozen crinkle cuts)

BLACKPOINT : This is my favorite BURGER SHOT !
I like the way those unique tobacco onion rings looked, and I was glad to hear about the nice charbroiled flavor.

I'd like to try both those places sometime...

The others seemed to have issues, like "precooked" burgers, or else a non-beefy taste, etc...
I'll go by your good judgement, and avoid those places..

BETTY'S : That is one HUGE building!!!
COOPER'S RESTO BAR : I love the TROPICAL look of the place , with the palm trees. It's just SO Florida looking!
It's making me realize what I love so much about Florida...
and how I'm looking forward even MORE now to going there twice next month! (thanks to Spirit Airlines $9 each way fares from AC to FLL)

Next, you are going to that SQUARE ONE burger joint, perhaps?!
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 15:31:08
Excellent report, Miami Don.  I am hoping to catch a college baseball game at UMiami this year, and will try to get to Titanic while down there (if I'm not heading to Puerto Sagua, instead!). 
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 15:32:52
MiamiDon, being the crazed burger fanatic that I am, I found your report very enjoyable. Some of those burgers looked really good. I've never been further south than Tampa-St. Pete, but I hope to get down to Miami someday, and if I do, I'll keep those better places in mind. 
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 16:07:48
Hey Ellen---I know this is OFF TOPIC----but how does that $9 fare deal work from AC to FLL with Spirit?
Thanks and all best------------------Russ
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 18:21:50
 I think it's $99.
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 19:37:56

 I think it's $99.

Believe it or not, that was NOT a typo !!
It really is just $9 each way...  (well, $39 round trip when you figure in the taxes and fees) (and more money if you want to check in your luggage, and pick your own seat on the plane)
Russ, what you need to do is sign up for the e-mail list...
Spirit Airlines will send you specials about 2-3 times a week (at least!)
Many times you will see these $8 and $9 each way fares....
sometimes $19 each way; of course, they are not available for every flight for every day.......they give you a bunch of dates , coming and going, and you try and "make a match" ! If you get the great fare both ways, VIOLA!
Go for it and book it! Often one of the dates is not available anymore for the cheapie price;  you'll usually have till midnight that same day or the next day to book it.  I just flew to Tampa in Dec. on that $9 each way deal.
I must tell you that not every "special e-mail deal" has real good prices on it..
some of them have mostly the $49 and $79 each way fares listed..
with only the $1 each way from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale ...
And one MORE thing I need to tell you is that if you want to actually purchase any of these fares, you need to join the "Spirit Airlines $9 club", which costs $39.95 a year.  Believe me, I get my money's worth!!!
ACY airport in Egg Harbor Township is only 5 miles from my condo.
Russ, you may be interested in knowing that Spirit Airlines is going to start flying from Boston to AC in May. 
Even MORE useful for you, Russ, and anyone else reading, is that Spirit also flies out of LGA . (LaGuardia) ......from LGA nonstop to Florida cities..
Sorry to hijack your burger thread, Don!
I am trying to provide an important service here to help get Roadfooders to their desitinations cheaper, so they can have more disposable money to spend on that good Roadfood!  And maybe on some of those burgers you just mentioned!
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 19:48:52

No problem, Ellen4641.
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/08 19:53:55

No problem, Ellen4641.

You're too cool, Don!

John A
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 07:02:28

Beautiful – Top shelf Don.   Ellen is the pastrami queen and you are the king of burgers. I was going to say you are the burger king but that would hardly be a compliment. The Black Point Ocean Grill gets my vote as the number one burger, those onion rings did it for me.
Thanks Don.
Filet Mignon
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 07:52:52
Very nice work Don.


Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 10:27:20
MiamiDon, Spectacular report.  Great reference for anyone visiting miami.
And I only counted 1 ketchup bottle
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 11:09:11

After eating a first-class cheeseburger at the Brickyard Bar and Grill in Daytona Beach, I set out to try to find its equal in Miami-Dade county, where I live.  Since the first place I went to has closed, I thought that I should post the most recent seven candidates before another restaurant closes!
In no particular order...

With that opening images of you setting out to sample all those burgers in one afternoon danced in my mind.

Great report!
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 11:22:15
Great job!

While they all look good I think I'd have to give the nod to the burgers from Black Point and Blue Marlin as they look like they have the most pink.  I like places that don't try to "big brother" me into accepting a gray burger.

However, since "CSI: Miami" has me convinced that all tourists are either murder victims or criminals it's not likely I'll be visiting any of the aforementioned restaurants anytime soon!

Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/09 13:18:50


No problem, Ellen4641.

You're too cool, Don!

sk bob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/12 20:19:04
excellent review Don, a lot of great looking burgers. nice pictures & great commentary. keep it up.
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/12 20:46:44
Great report. Your pictures were wonderful.
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/12 20:59:02
Nice report...the Blue Marlin's burger looked the best by far...and that roll,if it was as crispy as it looked would have been perfect. Thanks for the report!
Junior Burger
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/02/14 09:11:58
That was a beautiful post, Don.
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/03/06 12:40:04
Great photo essay!

You're lucky to have so many places near you that make such good looking hamburgers.

(For some reason the pictures end at the guy in the blue shirt at the bar with the propane heater on the right. I get repeating lines of the same picture. Weird.)
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Seven Burgers in Miami 2009/03/07 21:36:53
Miami Don, all I can say is WOW!!! 
Mr & Mrs QFan will be over that way in late April.  Can't wait to check out one or two of your choices.  Wish I could say we had this kind of an embarrassment of hamburger riches over here on the southwest coast.
Bonita Springs, FL