Bull City Burger & Brewery

I had a plan for a lot of the places I wanted to eat in Durham, but stopping by Bull City Burger and Brewery was a whim, the best freakin' whim ever. This sign got our attention for its cuteness. Then we looked at the day's specials menu taped to the door.

They obviously had some good shit goin' on here.

They have a whole brewery operation, which is just on the other side of a huge dining area. And then we found out they had an outside patio upstairs! Score!!

You order downstairs at the register, where we were also reassured that they understood how to cook burgers to order. At first we just ordered drinks since we weren't yet hungry.

Then you get a number (and a history lesson!), and then they'll bring your drinks and food out to you in the dining room or patio.

I don't remember what we got, but they were great, and the styles they had at the time were a Golden Ale, an ESB, a Marzen, a Brown, a Dry Irish Style Stout and a Barley wine.

By our second beers we had made friends with another couple of lesbians from Portland, OR who were here for a wedding. We discussed how fucking adorable and delicious Durham is.

When I went down to order our food, the very nice cashier (Oh the South, sigh...) asked me if we wanted pickles as appetizer. She also asked if I wanted a knife and an extra plate for my burger since she knew from seeing Shana and me order our beers together that there were two of us and guessed that we were sharing it.

I loved Cece's Bowl of Pickled Stuff (Market Price).

The "Deep Fried Pickle Chips with 'Beachwood' Pretzel Crust: Served with out BCBB dipping sauce" didn't quite live up to our hopes as they were a bit too thin and the mysterious BCBB sauce turned out to just be herb mayo. They were still pretty good, but I would order other fried or otherwise indulgent appetizer stuff next time (Dirty Fries, Duck Fries, House Made Spent Brewer's Grain Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese Sauce, etc.). 

We ordered the Pimento Burger (with pimento cheese and pickled vegetables) - $9: The girl who brought it out to us happily offered to remake our burger rare when she saw it was only slightly pink when we had ordered it rare. 

And thank god they did that for us because this was the good ass burger we've been looking for. The juiciness of the beef infused with the blunt force of the creaminess of the pimento cheese melted into our brains right before it all culminated in the light tang and viscerally perfect crunch of the pickled whatnots. The bun was a little dry, but that was the only imperfection.

"Okay this decides it. We're moving here. Fuck Boston," I said and Shana agreed as we ate this burger.

They even had a supersized Jenga set and a corn hole set up. And free wifi. Holy poop.

Update - June 2014:

Sadly, this place is no longer on my favorites list. We went back twice on our recent trip.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Bacon Burger: Now that I've tried several of this type of thing, I've finally learned my lesson about peanut butter burgers. Beef and peanut butter are both high-protein, high-fat foods that compete in a flavor profile. It's a waste to combine them.

Shadoe Burger with Pimento Cheese, Vinaigrette Slaw, and Chimichurri Sauce: The good news this first time was that they were cooking rare right, but there was just something different. It wasn't as viscerally delicious as it had been last year.
Dirty Fries with Garlic Aioli: Decent but not great

We came back a second time on this trip, maybe to see if we could recapture the perfection of last year's trip.

The really good thing was that I discovered their 27701 Durham Mild Ale, at 3.5%, a real session ale. And it tasted great. These could be drunk all day.

Chili cheddar jalapeño (custom) burger: Sigh. This time the rare was raw in the middle. They happily took it away to fix it. This time it came back medium. They happily took it away one more time, and it came back raw again. They've also gotta find buns that aren't so dry. God they're nice here though.

I tried the Joan Jett Veggie Burger out of curiosity. It was dry.

Because we'd had the trouble with the burger and the waiter could see that we didn't eat much of our food at all, he brought us this coffee ice cream to try to make it up to us. It was a very nice thing to do, and the ice cream was delicious and creamy (much better than The Parlour, by the way).

I'd been curious about the ice cream, particularly the Blueberry & Black Pepper, which seems really fun.

In the future, I think we'll come back for beers, and ice cream, and maybe try the chili dogs and more of the appetizers. The burgers have sadly fallen from grace.

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