UPDATE: Unfortunately, Real Hamburger is now closed.
If you’re craving a burger in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, I suggest Sawyer’s.
The hamburger is unquestionably one of the most iconic American foods. Whether you’re a Jimmy Buffett fan who likes yours with lettuce, tomatoes, Heinz 57, and french- fried potatoes, or you prefer your patty topped with goat cheese, arugula, and artisanal relish, most can agree that there’s nothing like a good burger. Reasonable minds differ about the hamburger’s origins, although one popular explanation suggested by Time Magazine is that the burger started in the form of a ground beef patty called a “Hamburg Steak” or “Hamburger Steak” served with a knife and fork by German immigrants in New York in the 1870s. At some point, someone realized that the steak would be easier to eat on the go if it was served between two pieces of bread, and the hamburger was born.
The newest addition to Lexington’s burger scene is Real Hamburger & Bar, which recently opened in the space formerly occupied by Table Three Ten on West Short Street. The concept is simple: a limited menu of gourmet burgers complimented by cocktails and hand-cut fries. Owners Andrea Sims and Krim Boughalem put an emphasis on eating local and make their burgers with meat from Marksbury Farm and buns from Magee’s Bakery.
Patrons can choose to order at the counter for a fast-casual type of service, or they can sit at the counter for full service. The “real hamburger” is a 1/3 pound, hormone and antibiotic free, farm raised, and farm processed burger topped with lettuce, real sauce, and optional free sautéed onions and pickled relish. For a small up-charge, you can add a variety of gourmet cheeses, meat toppings like Kentucky ham or bacon, or a fried egg. Complimenting the restaurant’s regular burger menu are two vegetarian-friendly salads and a sandwich-of-the-day.
On my first visit, my husband chose the real hamburger topped with emmental (Swiss) cheese, lettuce, real sauce, and pickled relish. To sample another option, I chose the daily special of a chicken sandwich stuffed with spinach and tomatoes and topped with mozzarella cheese. We split an order of hand-cut fries. To wash everything down, my husband enjoyed a Brooklyn Summer Ale, and I had a freshly-made-just-for-me white sangria. Everything was delicious! It all tasted very fresh and well prepared.
Real’s atmosphere adds to its guests’ enjoyment of their meals. The entire front wall is glass looking out over the bustling Short Street corridor. Together with the wrought iron bar shelving, the distressed wood floors, walls, and ceiling create a cozy industrial vibe complimented by large, metal fans that give the room a nice breeze. I noticed that many patrons stayed to enjoy the atmosphere with a second cocktail even after their burgers were long gone.
Real Hamburger & Bar is definitely worth a visit for lunch or dinner. After your meal, take your happy belly for a stroll around downtown to see all of the other new things going on in the heart of Lexington. Something new seems to pop up every day!
Copyright © 2017 – Amelia Adams