King of all burgers found in St. Petersburg, FL
|This modest looking burger joint in St. Pete, Fla. has an amazing menu.|
With apologies to Jimmy Buffett, I had my cheeseburger in paradise in St. Petersburg, Fla. at a little spot called Engine No. 9.
It was paradise mainly because it was a warm blue-sky day and I’d come from Northeast Ohio where this winter probably holds the record for most days with single digit temperatures. It was chilly that day by Florida standards, my daughter told me, but the 60s felt fine to me. We’d just finished a visit to the Dali Museum and it was time for lunch.
“Engine No. 9 got the Best of the Bay best burger award,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to go there. So how about burgers?
Setting our GPS for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Street, we quickly spotted the place. It was storefront and looked small, but was painted bright red, true to its fire department theme.
We stepped into a darkened bar, quickly realizing the place was narrow but deep. A hostess took us to a table in a bright space in back, beyond the bar, which touted its 60 beers and wines. A small tabletop juke box was attached to the wall and I flashed back to the burger joints of my girlhood.
One look at the menu and I realized why the place has become locally famous around Tampa Bay. Not only were 25 burgers listed, but it included hot dogs, several salads, along with pasta, salmon and short ribs entrees. Nearly a dozen starters and sides showed that diners could create a meal to fit any appetite. Unusual tasties included fried dill pickle spears and blue fin tuna sashimi.
|The Chubby Duck has foie gras, duck cracklings and brie. Tater Tots were my side.|
Always the duck lover, I immediately glommed onto the Chubby Duck, a burger accented by caramelized onions, pancetta, brie, foie gras and duck cracklings and priced at $13.95 , near the top of the price range. (I knew that cracklings are duck skin browned until it’s crisp and my mouth was already watering.) The brie helped it classify as a cheeseburger. It tasted as good as it sounded, although I didn’t come close to consuming all of it.
All burgers start with eight ounches of prime Black Angus Beef, so I knew I wouldn’t be having dinner that night.
Other tempting burger choices included Alice in Pain, with siracha hot chili sauce, roasted red pepper, grilled pineapple and sweet chili paste and Maria Laveau with crawfish tails, andouille sausage, muenster cheese, green onions and creole sauce.
Topping the price chart at $14.95 was a short rib brisket patty blend accented by muenster cheese, bacon, beer battered chicken, crispy potato pancake and creole mustard smothered with gravy.
We agreed that they were undoubtedly the best burgers we ever tasted, even if the total cost was more like what we’d expect to pay for dinner.
Engine No. 9 is open from noon to midnight seven days a week. Visit its website at www.No9burgers.com for a look at the complete menu.
Or, better yet, go there: 56 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg, FL.
And be sure to catch my story about the Dali Museum April 13 in Travel. It's quite a place!