Hop + Grind: Fat Burger (Two patties, cheese, a whole metric ton of fried onions, pickles, special “hop sauce”)
My journey to find the best New Hampshire burger brought me to Durham, where the small-but-mighty joint known as “Hop + Grind” (pronounced “Hop and Grind”) makes its residence. Immediately upon walking in, I was greeted by a distinctly “Gen X” aesthetic to the place, as the walls would be decorated with memorabilia from the 80s such as lunchboxes and the server beepers were formed to look like old NES cartridges. The decor is done just enough to be distinct, but not overdone as to be tasteful with the dosage of nostalgia. However, the meat and potatoes (specifically, the burgers and fries) of this place is not what’s on the walls, but what’s on the plates. My personal choice was the “Fat Burger”, a two-patty hunk of a cheeseburger with a boatload of fried onions and a specialty “hop sauce” on top.
The onions add a serious crunch and flavor to the burger, balancing out the beefy texture and flavor of two sizable patties. The sauce throws in a proper kick to the mix, and both diversifies the flavor and makes it stand out compared to a regular burger. That also adds to the originality, as that different taste shows a more original take on a burger than a standard sauce like ketchup or BBQ sauce. The only real issue I have with originality is that it doesn’t do much new outside from making the burger big and making a specialty sauce, so there’s clearly room for more inventive toppings. That being said, the “Fat Burger” is a larger version of the standard Hop + Grind burger, so it’s an understandable issue. In terms of size, the double-patty stack already makes it pretty big, but fairly large buns also increase the size to a fairly hefty burger. It’s also pretty stable for that size, so it can be eaten at a pace that won’t make it feel too filling. Overall, this is easily the best burger I’ve had on my journey so far, and I would highly recommend Hop + Grind to anyone in the area looking for good food, and especially good burgers.
How the scoring system works:
There are four categories I grade a good burger on: its size, its flavor, how original/unique it is, and the overall mood of the restaurant. Each of these is graded on a 10-point scale, then weighed individually to create an overall rating out of 100. Flavor has a weighting of 4, originality has a weighting of 3, size has a weighting of 2, and restaurant ambiance has a weighting of 1.
Restaurant Ambiance: 10/10
In a word: “Hop and grind on over for top-quality burgers!”