When you’re shown to your table at Burgers & Blues, everything seems fine. The walls are covered with blues memorabilia, there are tvs and projectors showing perpetual reruns of sportscenter, and there’s The Whammy Challenge, a contest to eat 3 -1lb patties with the trimmings, a large basket of fries and a root beer float; it all makes for a kitschy yet inviting atmosphere. However things turn awry when you look at the menu. There, beneath the proclamation of “Al Stamps’ Famous Burgers” are the lines “We Give You Choices!!!” ~ ground beef or ground turkey ~ white or wheat bun. Again nothing particularly wrong but underneath that, in parenthesis, nearly lost in the wall of text showing the burger options, are the horrifying words “all burgers cooked well done”.
Although this may seem like an affront to good beef and an insult to a cow that laid down its life, there is some hope but let me clarify. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with a well-done burger. Some places, such as 5 Guys, serve their burgers this temperature and they can be a fair albeit occasionally greasy representation of the breed. However, in that 40-degree range between rare and well done, there’s little room for error on the upper end of the spectrum. Sad to say, I didn't have much faith when I sat down to see what Burgers & Blues had to offer.
Knowing from past experiences that the 1lb monsters sold at Cool Al’s have a tendency to fall apart, I started my time at Burgers & Blues with two four ounce burgers, the peanut butter lovers and the pimento cheese burger.
Sadly, that was not the case as this was just a bland, desiccated burger topped with even blander pimento cheese. If there was one highpoint to this burger, it did make me think how awesome a Parlor Market pimento cheeseburger would be.
Not much to see here, but if you want a peanut butter burger, you’re better off going to Mugshots.
Knowing that the well-done monstrosities at Burgers & Blues needed all the help they could get, the next time at I stopped by I made sure to look for burgers that could endure that high level of heat. That of course means the introduction of the patty melt.
With the beef fairly obscured by salty Swiss cheese and meltingly tender onions, the only missing ingredient was pepper.
Topping this burger is an odd chili. There’s not much in the way of spice but plenty of onions, bell peppers, and tomato and while the chili is a little acrid on its own, when combined with the burger and cheddar cheese, it makes for a decent chili cheese burger.
With this second time at Burgers & Blues, I tried to get to the bottom of this well-done fiasco. When I asked my waiter, he returned to the kitchen to get the final word, and the response? Apparently, it’s a liability issue. I’ve heard that line in regards to nationwide chains, but it seems like Burgers & Blues either lacks faith in their cooks or their ingredients.
Even with this faith sapping response from the kitchen, I trudged back to Burgers & Blues for one last shot at burger bliss. This third and final attempt came in the form of the Lea & Perrins Burger.
The flavor of overcooked beef was still there but it had been joined by the familiar tamarind twang of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I know that Lea & Perrins can help a subpar burger but this was juicier than I could have imagined and the feta played a nice foil to the distinct flavors of the Worcestershire sauce. Sadly, at this point you’re blurring the lines between a burger and meatloaf. I like to see a burger that can stand on its own virtues not be propped up with a marinade.
I suppose this truth is I don’t really understand the fascination with Al Stamps’ burgers. At Cool Al’s, the wait is long for a crumbly burger that never fully delivers. At Burgers & Blues, the wait may be shorter but the burgers aren’t worth the effort. Yes, there are ways to find a decent sandwich, e.g. the patty melt, but when your basic, namesake burgers bear a closer resemblance to a hockey puck than something you’d want to eat, it’s time to find a better burger.
Burgers & Blues Address & Information
1060 E. County Line Rd, Suite 22, Ridgeland, MS 39157 // 601.899.0038 // Burgers & Blues Website // Burgers & Blues Menu