When Hunter’s Inn was first opened on 26th Street in 1952, I’m willing to bet that not many people knew it would still be a favorite local hangout in 2014. I received several recommendations for the burgers at Hunter’s, so last Tuesday night, I was joined by a friend, Ryan Atzert, to sample a few of their burgers. We walked through the bar room and grabbed a table in the back dining room. There aren’t any servers in the traditional sense, so I grabbed two menus and we looked over the burger page. The first thing we noticed was how the most expensive burger was only $3.25. We both decided that we would order two different burgers so that we could try a variety. Once we had decided, I walked over to the kitchen window where the cook took down our order and got us some drinks. Ryan ordered the Leone burger and the Six Napkin burger and I went with the Sirleone burger and the Four Napkin burger. We ordered all of the burgers as they were described on the menu, we didn’t omit or ask for any additional toppings.
The burgers were delivered to our table in about ten minutes and the cook explained each to us. All of their burgers are made with fresh ground chuck except for the SirLeone sirloin patty which comes in pre-formed. The first burger I tried was the Leone burger, the owner’s namesake sandwich. This is a meatier version of their standard burger with no frills. The fresh burger sat on top of lettuce, a thick slice of tomato, a layer of pickles, some ketchup, and it was topped with a slice of cheddar cheese. The burger itself was super tender and had a great beefy flavor. The seasoning was light enough that the meat was still the star. The bun was a softer style roll. It was a nice change of pace to order a “regular” burger and this was a tasty one to start with.
Next was the aforementioned SirLeone burger. This big, 1/3 pound ground sirloin patty is cooked in a bath of red wine with sautéed mushrooms and onions, and then topped with Swiss cheese. Right off the bat, I noticed that the burger wasn’t as tender as the first one, this was more firm. The flavor of the red wine really came through, but the burger was on the tough side. I really loved the onions on the burger, but could have done without quite so many mushrooms. The cheese acted as both a binder to the burger as well as the bun so it was a bit of a mess. I would love to try this burger again and see if I could have it with the patty from the regular Leone burger instead.
Next was the Four Napkin burger. The same delicious burger as the first was topped with thick sliced ham, a slice each of Swiss and American cheese, all on a bed of onions, tomato, and pickles. The bottom bun had a light coating of mayonnaise. The ham added a little extra salty and sweet goodness. The mayo on one side countered by the gooey cheese on the other made for a great, rich combination. The tomato, which I have recently learned to enjoy on a sandwich, added some acidity while the pickles and onions added a terrific crunch. I didn’t think this was as messy as the SirLeone burger, but a couple of napkins were used.
Finally was the Six Napkin burger. This burger stood taller than the rest. Another one of the thick and juicy burgers was served “Pittsburgh-style” on top of French fries, lettuce, coleslaw, and a coating of hot sauce. The burger had a slice of cheddar cheese on top. This was easily my favorite burger of the four. The creaminess of the slaw mixed with the steaming hot fries added wonderful contrast. The hot sauce gave everything a slightly tangy bite which I loved. The burger was every bit as tender and flavorful as the others. The coleslaw tended to drip out of the side and made me understand why it is called the six napkin burger.
Yes, we both ate two burgers, but neither of us felt uncomfortably stuffed. The only drawback I saw with Hunter’s is that they still allow smoking inside, so if that is an issue for you, they do offer food to go. Thank you to the cook for the friendly and quick service, as well as the fantastic food. I can’t wait for my next visit. They are open for lunch and dinner every day except for Sundays and the phone number for info is 814-453-6780.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food