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The Vortex Blog


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.


I find it confusing when people post angry reviews on our Facebook Fan Page about things we are OPENLY OFFERING TO THE PUBLIC. I mean, it’s not like we’re trying to trick anyone. In fact, we have always strived to be as transparent as possible. Much more so than many other establishments. So why are these people still mad? It’s just weird. Below is the latest example of foolishness we received via Facebook:

Vortex-L5P Facebook Review by Carlos Assaf, 1-star, 10/4/15.
“Really, you allow smoking? How am I supposed to enjoy my meal with he smell of smoke. Not coming back.”

The Vortex Reply:
Dear Mr. Assaf,
Thank you so much for your one-star review on our Fan Page. You are obviously quite a fan. Yes, we do indeed allow smoking on The Vortex premises. We have since 1992. To help avoid any inconvenience for potential customers, we post a very detailed list of company policies on our website (and our menus). This way, people know what they’re getting themselves into BEFORE they visit our bar. That being said, I am more than happy to hold your hand through the process. Below you will find several pertinent examples of Vortex policies taken directly from our website:

While we’re happy to welcome smokers and non-smokers alike, we will never tolerate crybabies. So if your personal preference is to avoid being around any amount of smoke, then this may not be the place for you. That’s okay. Don’t be mad. We’re not. There are many “smoke-free” establishments in town that will gladly welcome your business. We believe that freedom of choice should always be celebrated, as it’s a rare commodity these days.

We’re sorry if you don’t like what we do, or how we do it. We’re sorry if you think our bar is too crowded or smoky, or the music is too loud. We’re sorry if you’re offended by the foul-mouthed strippers sitting at the table next to you. On occasion, The Vortex may get a little rowdy. It’s kind of what we do. Sorry, but we’re really not sorry. If you need to have total control over your environment at all times, then you should probably just stay home. Nobody likes a whiner.

We are realists. We completely understand that some people will like what we offer, and others will not. And that’s totally okay. We have never tried to be all things to all people. We just do what we do, for the people that like what we do. After all, we couldn’t have grown our business over the years without our loyal fans. So running our bar is like hosting a big party for our best friends. That’s why our staff is genuine, fun, friendly and ultimately, professional. It’s also why we offer a lively atmosphere, award-winning food and an extensive selection of booze and specialty cocktails. All day. Every day. We do what we do because we love our loyal fans. And our loyal fans love us in return. When it comes right down to it, The Vortex is really all about the love. Maybe some “hater’s gonna hate,”   but nobody wants those idiots spoiling everyone else’s fun anyway.


In the past, when people would post stupid comments on our Vortex Facebook page, I always enjoyed using the “delete and ban” function. Bye bye, dum dums. But thanks to Facebook’s endless so-called “improvements,” these whiners can now upload “reviews” to our fan page that we can’t remove. Thanks a lot, Zuckerberg. I never reply to these posts because arguing with idiots is tiresome and pointless. Instead, I’ll just blog about them and hope our fans get a kick out of it. That’s more fun for me anyway. So let’s consider this little brain fart we got from Brenda:

*The Vortex-Midtown, by Brenda M., 8/31/15, 1-star (*Edited for length.)
“I had a terrible experience here yesterday. I forgot my ID and though I offered to show them a picture of my license I have on my phone, they would not budge. So I had to drive 35 mins back to my house. More than one hour wasted. My brother and sister stayed and had dinner so I asked them to buy me a burger and fries to-go and I would just eat it when I got back. As I sat in the outside patio eating my burger, a tall heavy set man came out and proceeded to tell me that I had to leave as others may want to use the table. Unbelievable, the food I was eating was from their restaurant and I had every right to sit at a table. Not to mention their license policy had just made me waste time and gas. The burger was good though I do give them that. But the atrocious customer service I experienced here is unacceptable.”

Okay, let’s pretend some people don’t understand driving without a license is illegal. Then it’s not much of a stretch to assume they wouldn’t know bars often check IDs at the door, and that a picture of your license on your phone doesn’t really cut it. “OMG you guys, adulting is like totally super-hard!”  We know, sweet pea. We really want to help you, but until we finish The Vortex brain implant, you’ll just have to learn to read. It’s not like we hide our policies. They’re posted on our walls, on our menus and quite literally all over our website. Here’s a perfect example: “No ID = No entry. If you didn’t bring your ID with you, and are denied access to The Vortex, it’s your own damned fault for being a dumb-ass.” As you can see, we try to make things very clear for patrons unfamiliar with the customs of our country, and for people who have suffered severe head trauma.

As if requiring legal ID wasn’t confusing enough, there’s that other totally perplexing policy too. You know, the one about not sitting your silly ass down wherever you please while other patrons are waiting patiently. What’s that all about? Yeah, as crazy as it seems, we actually pay a person to monitor a list and seat people as tables become available. We call this person the “host.” Checking-in with the host is usually a pretty good idea. But when you’re a perfect little snowflake, company policies, laws, and even plain-old common sense really don’t concern you very much. After all, why should they? You’re special.

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