With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Burgers Abound

Recently we found ourselves in conversation about grapefruits, a fruit we enjoy, but noted that the grapefruit doesn't seem to enjoy much popularity with the under 60 crowd and remarked that it was not an in fashion food. The discussion then shifted to what foods were in fashion. We came up with bacon, avocados, berries, and burgers. Burgers and hot dogs are often viewed as the quintessential American foods, and while the popularity of the burger has never really waned, the last couple years have seen a burger renaissance with successful restaurants serving up burgers as never before imagined.

It seems to us that Plan B was the local pioneers in this movement. With locations in Glastonbury and West Hartford, Plan B and their gourmet burgers were an immediate success and continue to be so as both locations are always packed with customers. Max Burger, another excellent restaurant by the Max group, soon followed in West Hartford Center along with a Five Guys in Farmington.

Now Hartford is getting into the burger fun.

We recently visited the State House Square food court for the first time a while and had our first taste of the Texas based burger chain Mooyah which opened in May. The first thing we noticed about Mooyah was a cluster of people waiting. A good sign for sure, as Mooyah looked to be the busiest of all the restaurants in the food court. Second we noticed the "Mooyah" sign which incorporates Hartford landmarks. Very cool.

Mooyah has a simple ordering process that kind of reminded us of the legendary In-N-Out burger chain, low on frills and straight to the point. Basically pick a burger size, (turkey and veggie are available) toppings, and sauce. We got a burger, fries, and a drink for under $10 and despite the lengthy line, the wait for our food was only a couple minutes. Mooyah also offers milkshakes, which we have yet to try. A great lunch option to add to your Hartford lunch rolodex.

More recently, Burger Baby opened in the space formerly occupied by Mayor Mike's. Burger Baby is more formal than Mooyah, in the mold of a Plan B esque burger joint. We had heard rave reviews around town so we had high expectations when we visited. We weren't disappointed.

The Burger Baby menu is basically a "wow, I can't decide" type menu. A plethora of great and unique burger options are offered. We finally made a choice and added orders of the much celebrated duck fat and Parmesan foam fries. Both the fries and the burgers earned all the compliments we had heard. A job well done by Burger Baby. We are definitely going to be making multiple return trips to try and eat our way through the menu.

Sad City highly recommends both Mooyah and Burger Baby and we are excited to have both in town making excellent burgers.


  1. You forgot that Plan B was in Simsbury before opening in West Hartford.

    Also, don't forget Woody's Hot Dogs at 915 Main, they have an awesome chili cheeseburger.

  2. Wood n Tap had burgers before all of these! They were the first to do "gourmet" burgers and the hands down first to do mini burgers... They opened their Hartford location in 2002 before anyone else was doing burgers.

  3. New Haven's got you beat again. Louis Lunch - birthplace of the burger

  4. Fact: Plan B's first location was in West Hartford.

    Wood n Tap's buffalo sliders are great, but their standard burger doesn't touch Plan B's (in my opinion).

  5. Yeah, but if you take all the gourmet crap off the burger, and take the burger off the bun, and put it on a plate and eat it, is it any good? Or have we reached the point that the so-called gourmet burgers are another food type altogether, and no longer burgers at all?

  6. I love Plan B, and Wood N Tap is great, but Catsup and Mustard in Manchester is hands down the best.

  7. K Lamays steamed cheeseburgers in Meriden and Middletown. Cheese from Wisconsin and juicy burgers- unbelievably good!!