Signature Dish: Meal combines best of Bourbon & Burger

Dec 7, 2015

by Matt Krueger, The Daily News

BATAVIA — When you walk into a place called the Bourbon & Burger Co., you’re pretty much guaranteed to find both bourbon and burgers for sale. It would be strange if you didn’t, right?

But at this restaurant, located at 9 Jackson St. in the heart of Downtown Batavia, the two Bs are featured in the first item on the menu, the Kentucky Bourbon Company Burger. It’s one of 30 custom burgers on the menu, but this one is the Jackson Street restaurant’s signature dish.

“Bourbon is from Kentucky, so it just tied in with that burger,” said co-owner Derek Geib, who admitted to loving both bourbon and burgers. “It just all really made sense together.”

The Kentucky burger gets topped with crisp bacon, crispier onion rings, lettuce, tomato, pepperjack cheese and a sweet-and-tangy bourbon sauce. Along with that, Bourbon & Burger offers things like the Kansas Breakfast Burger (fried egg, bacon, nacho-filled tater tots, maple syrup), the Idaho Loaded Potato (cheddar, bacon bits, chives, sour cream, baby potatoes), and the Everything’s Bigger in Texas Burger (bacon, fries, and a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches). There’s no shortage of creativity on this menu.

“A lot of our burgers are state-oriented, just because it’s a lot easier to sell something when people remember a name,” Geib said.

Bourbon sauce, for those who don’t know, usually has only four ingredients: egg yolks, butter, sugar, and, of course, high-quality bourbon.

The Kentucky burger, like the other 29 on the menu, is made from a fresh, half-pound prime beef patty and takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Customers can substitue the beef for either a turkey or veggie patty at no additional charge, or a bison patty for $3 more. A bison burger is a rare sight in the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming region, which was part of the appeal to offering it.

“We just wanted to offer stuff that no one else was doing,” Geib said. “And it’s an easy thing to do. When it comes to liquor and food, if you have the ability to do something, why not doing it? So we went with it.”

Every burger is cooked on a flat top grill, because as co-owner Mike Hyland says “if you cook it in all the juices, they don’t go away. They don’t drip down.”

A slight difference in the cooking method is that Bourbon & Burger doesn’t offer its creations as rare, medium or well done. It’s “pink” or “no pink.” It’s a way of keeping things easy for the kitchen staff, though, Geib said customers can order whatever they want.

“If they want ‘a little pink,’ we can do that,” he said.

Of course, a key to any good burger is the bun. For that, the owners chose local favorite Costanzo’s rolls for the Cheektowaga company’s high quality.

“Our biggest concern is just consistency,” Geib said. “You can get the same meal today that you got the week that we opened. We pay more for a higher quality product. We could have been making more money per meal, but I don’t think we would have been as busy. People are willing to pay for good quality.”

Bourbon & Burger will celebrate four years of operation in May, and Geib credits the Jackson Street location with the company’s success.

“I think if we wouldn’t have been in this location, we wouldn’t have done as well,” he said. “We waited this place out. I knew I wanted to be here. This is where everything is happening in Batavia. We wanted to be downtown.”

The Kentucky Bourbon Company Burger sells for $9.99 and comes with french fries and a pickle.