I’ve considered going vegetarian countless times, but what it always comes down to is knowing deep down in my soul that I cannot live without a good cheeseburger.
Though there are plenty of great pubs and restaurants in the Burlington area that offer burgers, it’s always more fun to eat something you drove a far distance to get. Okay, maybe driving to Greensboro isn’t that far, but traffic was pretty bad, and I was hungry.
Located on Spring Street in downtown Greensboro, Hops Burger Bar doesn’t look like much. That is, until you notice the overwhelming amount of people standing outside clearly waiting to enjoy some meaty goodness. Apparently, the wait is normally 45 minutes to an hour — longer if you’ve got a party larger than three. The bar is first-come, first-serve, so if you’re older than 21, you might get lucky and get seated sooner. Otherwise, the joint is pretty small, so seating is limited.
Surprisingly, we were seated within a half an hour in a cozy little alcove behind the bar. The place was packed but not in an unbearable kind of way.
Ordering a burger at Hops is pretty complex because there are so many options. If you don’t eat meat, they serve house-made veggie patties made from mushrooms and cauliflower as well as something they call a “nutty patty.” You can also swap out their Angus beef for turkey, grilled chicken or bison. Toppings range from the classics like lettuce and tomato all the way to jalapeno bacon and bourbon-marinated pickles.
A crowd favorite burger is the Spicy Goat, which includes a house-made sweet and spicy pepper jelly, goat cheese, bacon and lettuce. They’ve got their take on the classic burger as well, and something they call the North Carolinian: A burger topped with bacon, pimento cheese, lettuce, fried green tomatoes and a fried egg.
And don’t even get me started on the list of fries Hops boasts. You can get them with sea salt, truffle oil and parmesan, garlic and rosemary, parmesan jalapeno, chili and cheese and bacon with all the fixings. There’s even a nacho version and a buffalo version with wing sauce. If you’re not in the mood for fries, all of these options are available with their homemade hot potato chips instead.
I chose the Diablo burger mainly because it was topped with guacamole and jalapeno-infused bacon, but it also had pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, lettuce and grilled onions. If you’re looking for something incredibly spicy, ask them to add some extra jalapenos.
My roommate’s burger, the Pickleback, included a fried onion, spicy BBQ sauce and the ever-wonderful bourbon marinated pickles. Even though this burger did not come with cheese, she said the bourbon marinated pickles made up for everything.
We both agreed the fries were delightful, a little rich but that did not stop us from eating them all anyway. The fries were obviously cooked to order — they came out piping hot and a little greasy from the oil.
The prices are also incredibly reasonable. With a 6 oz. burger and a plate full of fries, my total came to about $11. Not bad for a college student on a budget.
Overall, this place reminded me why I am not, and never will be, a vegetarian. It was definitely worth the wait and a good alternative to Cook-Out if you’re willing to make the drive.