617 Hicks Street
Old West Durham
Hours: M–F, 7 am–2 pm
Wimpy’s Grill has been awarded best burger and takeout in a number of publications over the years, and they were featured on Man Vs. Food in 2009 for their garbage burger that piles pretty much any topping available onto a double cheeseburger. Inside, it’s barely wide enough for two people to stand side by side at the counter, but there is plenty of room for their customers to line the walls, waiting for their fast-cooked orders to go. A wallpaper border of Coca Cola advertisements is the only decoration beyond clippings of those previously mentioned awards. It’s cash only, and the staff is very welcoming and greets their regulars by name, remembering their usual orders. In addition to burgers and hot dogs, Wimpy’s serves up giant biscuits available for sandwiches with steak, country ham, fat back, red hots, bacon, or sausage. Onion rings, fries, hash browns, grits, and chili are the available sides. I was surprised they don’t offer shakes, but they do have three desserts daily: a changing cake, a cobbler, and banana pudding. The daily specials featured a few options touting pinto beans.
I was there for the burgers, and I went for a single cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, coleslaw, grilled onions, and mayonnaise.
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426 S. McDowell Street
Chuck’s is another of Ashley Christiansen’s new ventures in downtown Raleigh. And like her Beasley’s next door, it’s a concept restaurant, focusing solely on burgers topped with creative ingredients to give a unique hamburger experiences that you won’t get elsewhere. That’s why they get such fun names like the Bear in Heaven and Dirty South. You can order 5-ounce or 8-ounce burgers, and as someone who never needs a full half-pound of meat, I appreciate that.
Inside, Chuck’s is all red chairs, black tables, and white brick walls, along with a row of sculpted steer heads.
I like the sleek way it looks, especially the line of shadows on that side wall and the rows of light bulbs up above.
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Geer Street Garden
644 Foster Street
Central Park District, Durham
Geer Street Garden opened last spring, and it’s been a welcome addition to this fast-expanding area of town. Located in an old gas station, it’s a pub with a great beer list featuring plenty of local brews and a menu full of pub fare and seasonal menu items like sweet potato soup. The interior is pretty brick walls, a few booths inside the door, and a U-shaped twist into the small bar in back.
The lack of inside seating is a bit of a pain if you’re looking for a table on a crowded night, but outside is an appealing beer garden, complete with heat lamps, rows of blond wood benches, and lots of seating. The beer garden is definitely the draw here. Also popular is the Pile, a mass of French fries piled up with fried chicken bites, cheddar cheese, bacon, gravy, and a choice of two of their several fancy sauces that range from a sriracha and mayonnaise combination to a cheddar cheese dip .
It hits the spot if you’re looking for a greasy snack late at night, no question. Also good is the Corn ‘N Oil cocktail, which I reviewed a while back.
Geer St. Garden’s salads have been building up quite a fanbase, and I tried their cobb recently. It was refreshing and crisp. The quality of ingredients gives it a nice edge over your standard cobb.
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