In the world of Greensboro hamburgers, there are three rockstars worthy of celebrating. I equate these classic burgers to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. The three burgers predate the bands and have equal celebrity status, at least in my little mind.
The What-A-Burger at Church Street Drive-In, The Biff Burger at Beef Burger, and The Master Burger from Your House Restaurant are legendary around here. Sadly there were other’s that are since gone, but these three are alive and well and should be supported and enjoyed often.
The What-A-Burger: Church Street Drive-In
Burger band = The Beatles
The Church Street Drive-In is the oldest having started in 1959. When you walk in the door you certainly get taken back into a simpler time.
The menu is very limited but still is built on the shoulder of the classic What-A-Burger. Fifty years ago, before the Burger King opened on Battleground and brought us the Whopper, this was the about the only big burger around. It is still is cooked and served the same way, fried up on a flat-top and set on an oversized bun flattened a little on the classic Toastmaster.
The What-A-Burger is as All-American as they come. Stop for lunch and enjoy some Gilligans Island or Gunsmoke in the old tube TV. This is a no-frills place and they take only cash. You don’t need a bunch, but you do need some. Do not come in late as they close at 7 pm. Monday through Friday.
The “Biff” Burger: Beef Burger
Burger Band = The Rolling Stones
The Beef Burger, which was originally the Biff Burger, stands on Gate City Blvd. which to most of us is still called Lee Street. The business name change happen way back due to legal reasons too ridiculous to go into here. Beef Burger replaced Biff Burger, and everything else, at least on this location, stayed the same.
The burgers are ‘roto-broiled” in the same magical cooking machine that they fired up 54 years ago. The basic Biff is still only 99 cents so ranks as the best bargain in town. The special Biff sauce is the real magic and you can purchase a bottle to take home. The menu is very large and diverse, but most of us live on the Biff burgers (the size of a regular McD’s burger) or The Special, which is a normal 1/4 pounder, but very tasty.
The hand-lettered signs and memorabilia covering the windows inside and out are a like a second Greensboro Historical Museum, and will keep you entertained while you wait for your food. My favorite is a sign at the door that says “If you are drunk eat someplace else”. They love you, but they mean it.
The Beef Burger is immortalized in the movie Bull Durham, starring as itself, as the team bus stops while on a baseball road game in Greensboro.
Beef Burger appears in the 1988 movie Bull Durham
The Master Burger: Your House Restaurant
Burger Band = Led Zeppelin
I believe that Your House opened in 1965. In those days, as a child, I remember going with my family and this is the place I learned to eat tossed salads. To be honest, what I liked was the bleu cheese dressing, and the salad was the only way to get it. I associate the place with late night parties, rough hospital experiences, and affordable breakfast. If you know Waffle House you basically have the same place here, only better.
I have given some thought to which classic rock group pairs best with which iconic burger. On one level it feels a little wrong to associate the great American food with the great English rock bands, but I could think of no American bands really fit as well.
- The Beatles are pure and basic, larger than life, and best represent the What-A-Burger of Church Street Drive -In.
- The Rolling Stones are more street-tough, gritty, even a little dirty, the perfect match for the Beef Burger.
- As the hardest rocking party-all-night, hotel-destroyers, Led Zepplin would dig the middle of the night scarfing – they’d be cranking it up with a Master Burger from Your House.