Every journey begins somewhere, and yesterday — the first day of my Search for the Holy Grail of Hamburgers in the ‘Noke — I wanted to start somewhere just a few steps off the beaten path.
Which is why, when a friend hinted that the Green Goat’s Cow Catcher might make a good dark-horse candidate, I decided to give it a go. And look how happy I am:
If you’ve never been to the Green Goat at the edge of Wasena Park, the vibe is light, happy and casual. The restaurant is housed in a repurposed railroad building just off the Roanoke River Greenway, which makes it a natural choice for simple trail food after a bike ride or jog. Pretty much everything about this spot — the cheery local paintings, industrial-style metal chairs and plentiful outdoor deck seating — makes it obvious that this is an unstuffy establishment where you can grub in laid-back fashion. Customer favorites include the Korean Tacos, as well as a bourbon-spiked milkshake and seasonally infused moonshine.
So now. Enter the Cow Catcher.
When you glance at the menu, this sandwich doesn’t look like anything special: a quarter-pound burger, as the menu says, “topped your way with 1 cheese and 3 toppings and cooked to order on a brioche roll.”
Priced at $9, it’s pretty standard.
The magic of this one, though, is the toppings. We’re not just talking lettuce, tomato and mayo here. The three toppings of your choice come from the pizza menu … which means you have a lot to choose from. Want apples, cheddar, bacon and onion on your burger? Do it. Feeling like a Hawaiian Special with pork, pineapple, ricotta and spinach? By all means, you go girl.
Heck, if I’m reading the menu right, you could technically top your burger with ham, pepperoni and Italian sausage if you felt like it. I’m not sure how that would go over with your server (or your stomach), but … A hungry guy can try. 😉
As for me, I chose cheddar, spinach, sundried tomato … and of course, bacon. My sandwich arrived loaded with toppings, looking big and bad and beautiful for a humble quarter-pounder:
And while I don’t think I’ve found the Holy Grail of Hamburgers yet, my customized creation was still a happiness-inducing hamburger because — let’s face it– the best burger is sometimes just the one you’re in the mood for.
In a nutshell, the Cow Catcher might be a good choice for:
- Joggers and cyclists who feel like eating their burger in an unpretentious environment, while rocking their Spandex in style.
- People who monogram their shirts and custom-design their Nikes.
- People who order a burger like this: “Hold the onions, hold the mayo, add barbecue sauce, peppers, mustard on the side … And also, can you please, *please* make sure my fries don’t touch the bun??” ((No judgement… You know who you are.))
On the other hand, the Cow Catcher might *not* be for you if:
- You’re one one of those people who prefers a well-griddled, ultra-buttery bun.
- You need a burger that weighs at least 8 ounces.
- You have trouble making decisions.