Having moved back to the Triangle only a few months back, I was intrigued when one of my friends mentioned that some really phenomenal Durham-based chefs decided to buy a lunch truck and drive around Durham serving old-school diner burgers. Knowing my predilection for finding great eats at lunch carts and taco stands, they knew I would be all for chasing down the burger truck and seeing what they've got to offer.
But, then...the truck was taken out of service due to a traffic accident, resulting in no burgers for us.
Until last night, when OnlyBurger re-launched their lunch truck at Wine Authorities' "Burger Speakasy." Now, cutsie event name aside, the line was long and somewhat slow...but there was an enomatic machine keeping me happily supplied with wine as I queued to the back door of the shop to order our food. We ordered two doubles with cheese and bacon with everything (no mayo), a double cheeseburger, and two single cheeseburgers. This was a large order, but we were compensating for the fact that they ran out of fries before we got there. Having no place to sit and eat our burgers, we bought a couple of bottles of wine and headed back to my friends' place to eat, about a 10 minute drive.
Now, these are diner-style burgers - dense and greasy with a soft, butter toasted bun and all the fixins. By the time we unwrapped them, the cheese had melted into both the burger patties, bacon, and onions, resulting in a single mass of, IMHO, heavenly burgerdom. The patties were seasoned well, cooked to perfection (sort of crusty on the outside and a little bit of pink on the inside), and really flavorful. We could tell they use high quality ground meat, and the patties were quite thick, so you get a lot of it. There was sufficient bacon and it was crisp and wonderful. Each patty had it's own slice of American cheese, creating those little bundles of melted cheese to pick off the foil wrapper, yet leaving plenty for the burger itself. The pickles on the burger were flavorful and thinly sliced, which meant I could bite through them and have some pickle with every bite, as opposed to pulling the entire slice out on my first taste. The only flaw - I hate iceberg lettuce and there was a lot of it on there, but next time I'll order it without.
As we sat having our dinner, we discussed the general quality of the burgers in relation to other burger joints in the area (Five Guys, Char-grill, Cookout, any restaurant burger). I am a Five Guys fan, and think these burgers are closer in style to that, but executed at a higher level. Overall, the quality and flavor of the OnlyBurger burgers are higher (they are also, however, more expensive) than other places, but don't expect a "gourmet" experience - it's fun, classic, well-prepared American fare. And I can't wait to go back and try another burger and their fries.
You can find out where their truck is daily by going to their website: http://www.durhamcatering.com/onlyburger or signing up for their "tweets" on Twitter. You can also call your order in ahead of time, if you dont' have time to wait - which I think is a nice service as well. Oh, and they take cash AND credit card.