Burger-ism is the belief that a good burger represents a good bar. At least, that's my definition. The American, known as Main Street's version of The Cambie, is a local watering hole that's recently unveiled a burger pop-up by Robert Belcham, the inventor of Campagnolo Upstairs' Dirty Burger. With a simple concept, does the famous burger translate into a gluttonous menu at The American or should you stick to the beer here? Read on to find out.
Team Tastic came here on an early Friday evening and I had myself the following:
- Cheeseburger with Bacon and Fried Onions ($11 + $2 + $2)
First off, the presentation of this burger is not what you see in the press photos. Man, those are gorgeous, especially the one seen on Daily Hive.
Alas, the burgers come in an unassuming, disposable cardboard box. I'd recommend being careful unwrapping these burgers as the juiciness starts flowing out near instantly. Thankfully, the wrappers are liquid-resistant so if you felt extra gluttonous, you could lick the excess juice off the wrapper and I wouldn't judge you. Your neighbours, though...
Once unveiled, I saw a glorious looking burger with a hand-pressed patty and perfectly cooked bacon flopping over the side. Entering my mouth, the gooey cheese and secret sauce filled up my palate and each bite was as satisfying as the last. I did get the grilled onions but after having a burger, I'm confident that the secret sauce carried enough weight that I'd probably enjoy my next cheeseburger even more with bacon and a fried egg instead. One problem I had with this burger was because it was held in a wrapper, the bun got soggy towards the end. I think the solution here is to quickly unwrap the burger, place it on the former wrapper, then eat with two hands. This won't be any cleaner, you'll still have to wash your hands after, but your buns won't be as soggy.
Where Campagnolo Upstairs would sell out of burgers by 8pm, there's no telling what's possible at The American. If you go between 5-7pm, you can get a hamburger and beer for $12 and I think that's worth every bit the price.
Taking over the former space of Electric Own, The American is a watering hole that's meant to host casual nightlife events in Vancouver. They have a whole events calendar which you can find on their Facebook Page. Otherwise, the space within contains a pool table, a walk-up counter for ordering drinks and food, a pinball arcade, and even a skee-ball machine. There's a ton of seating within The American, which is great, because everyone needs to experience the burgers. I'd guesstimate the capacity to be at around 250 seats. As with most large bars, the vibe is quite casual with most people minding their own business, though if you're seated at a long table, you might be inclined to say hello or comment on your neighbours' burgers.
Like most casual watering holes, you'll place and pay for your order prior to receiving it. The main bar will be where you make your order and you'll be given a number to take back to your table. Our burgers came out within 10 minutes which is great speed for a bar and leads me to wonder how many of these burgers they're going to sell a night. You can come here with any sort of party and expect to find a table at 5:30pm, but I suspect evenings fill up quickly depending on the events listed.
One-liner: Juicy burgers that are pure gluttony and exactly what you wanted
Highlight: Cheeseburger with Bacon and probably a Fried Egg
Price per person: $11-20
Would I go back?: Yes.