A million years ago, when I was a kid, one Christmas my siblings and I gave our parents a fancy barbecue. My dad loved it. Our collective memory of him in the backyard grilling thick, juicy burgers over an open flame must have been resonating with us when we decided to open The Vortex. At the time there weren’t many options for great burgers in Atlanta, so we thought serving a chargrilled burger, just like the ones our dad used to make for us, would be a really good idea for our bar. And it was.
Twenty-three years later, there’s now a profusion of burger offerings in our city. It seems like many of these newer places are using the griddle as their chosen cooking method. Unlike the chargrilling process – in which quality beef, proper seasoning and an open flame are the secret to the perfect burger – these griddled burgers are seared on a heated flat-top, and rely more heavily on the “Maillard Effect” for their flavor. This effect is a complex series of reactions between amino acids and reducing sugars in the meat, in which hundreds of different compounds are created. It’s actually a pretty tasty effect.
As an experiment, we took a Vortex burger patty and slapped it on our griddle. Then we tasted it side-by-side with a second Vortex burger patty cooked on our chargrill. The difference in flavor created by these two cooking methods is remarkable. I can’t say one is better than the other, because they’re both good, just different. Since we’ve always provided our fans with a variety of tasty burgers, and since we’re the damned Godfather of Atlanta’s burger culture, we are now offering a couple of these griddled “Diner Style” burgers to our patrons on our menu.
Beginning today, you can order our “Greasy Spoon” burger (two griddled sirloin patties, topped with white American cheese, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and slathered with Vortex diner relish), and our “Double Decker Melt” (two griddled sirloin patties served between three slices of griddled white bread, topped with American cheese, bacon, tomato, pickle and our secret burger sauce). They’re both really good, and a fun departure from our staple chargrilled Vortex burgers. I highly recommend giving them a try.
Certain people might claim that serving griddled burgers at The Vortex is some type of burger-blasphemy, but if my dear pops were around today, I have no doubt he’d take a break from his fancy family barbecue grill to give one of these griddled burgers a try, and I’m sure he’d approve.