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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Now Open: Flip Burger Buckhead

Flip Buckhead

It seems so long ago that Richard Blais, Atlanta’s first Top Chef hometown hero, opened Flip Burger in West Midtown in 2008.

Though Atlanta had plenty of fantastic hamburger joints that had been in business for years before Flip opened their doors, Blais’ celebrity combined with his left-of-center cooking techniques and wildly creative burger selection stirred up a foodie frenzy. I might even go so far as to call it a “hoopla”.

Thus began the so-called Atlanta “burger wars”.

This Tuesday marked the grand opening of Flip’s 2nd Atlanta location, right in the heart of Buckhead. Taking over the vacant Blockbuster in the Tuxedo Festival shopping center on Roswell Rd., Blais’ and owner Barry Mills hope to duplicate the success they’ve seen across town, as well as at their 2nd location in Birmingham. And if the crowds lined up for the past two nights are any indication, I’d say they are on the right track.

If you’ve been to the original location, then you pretty much know what to expect here. The aesthetic remains the same, though the bar area is more separated from the dining room and the wood-paneled patio is completely covered. Regardless, as soon as you walk through the door, you know that you are in a Flip Burger.

I’ve eaten here on their first two nights open to the public…all in the name of journalism, of course. I can’t – or won’t—comment on the service, as that wouldn’t be fair when they have only been open for 48 hours. But if you already know that you like Flip Burger, you surely won’t be disappointed in the food.

While the vast majority of the menu is the same as the Midtown location, Blais (Creative Director) gives each of his executive chefs some autonomy. Granted, the menus at all of the Flips change frequently, so it’s tough to tell what is unique to the Buckhead location, and what happened to catch the chef’s eye at the market that day.

Unlike some restaurants in town, Flip downplays their dedication to local ingredients, and I respect that. Rather than make it into a marketing gimmick, they turn to locally sourced produce and meats for the right reasons: It tastes better. And I’m sure the whole “good for the local economy” thing plays a part too.

While many of their staples, like the deep fried Southern ($7.50) or the savory Butcher’s Cut ($7.50) remain unchanged, some have subtle tweaks like swapping out the fragrant gremolata mayo on the Ossobucco for the headier Marrow-naise. And there are some exciting newcomers to the menu, like the crunchy foie gras nuggets ($6) or the Belly Melt burger ($7), topped with onion, lettuce, tomato, house-made pickles, “FLIP” cheese, and a slice of crispy pork belly.

If for nothing else, the last few years of burger joints popping up like Starbucks’ in the mid-nineties has given me a new appreciation for Flip. Not because they are the “best” burgers in town, but because they are doing something unique, and that makes it worth the money in my eyes. I got out of there last night for $15, which bought me a burger topped with pork belly, a nut-n-honey milkshake (including ground Honey Nut Cheerios), and a side of fries. I’ve spent more than that on substantially less memorable burgers lately.

Yet I can’t help but wonder: Can Atlanta handle two Flip Burgers? Will the Buckhead/Sandy Springs/Brookhaven crowd now stop driving to Midtown for their Krispy Kreme milkshakes?

What do you think? Is there such a thing as too much Flip?

Jon-Watson-Tagline

-Jon Watson writes about Popular Eats for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Live To Feast

34 comments Add your comment

Steven

October 21st, 2010
10:51 am

looking forward to a easier location for me. It seems the lunch crowd should be crowded.

Rodney

October 21st, 2010
11:08 am

yep – right down the street from me now. I’m gonna have issues with being THAT close to the Southern burger. :)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic, LindsayCameron, Jeff Garrow, Live to Feast, John Kessler and others. John Kessler said: Now Open: Flip Burger Buckhead http://bit.ly/cjlviy [...]

g dawg

October 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

I can’t wait to eat at Flip. Richard is a heck of a nice guy and a really interesting chef. Bring on da burgers! I want Wendy from the Bert Show to join me too!!! What a hottie

Blackland

October 21st, 2010
12:54 pm

Well, where is the A5 burger? Is it too good for those of us in Buckhead? Service was horrible, yes it was opening night, but over an hour to cook some burgers? Cocktails sucked. Stay away for a while until they get their act together, or drive to Howell Mill Rd.

Thomas S.

October 21st, 2010
12:58 pm

I made the severe mistake of going opening night, thinking that having two other opening experiences would reduce the “jitters” at a third location. There were a few menu pricing errors and the temperatures on the burgers were very inconsistent across the table. I spoke with the manager and he admitted they were having a bad night and gave me his card. I appreciated that and look forward to heading back for a better experience.

I very much enjoy Flip for some good burgers/sandwiches, but my recommendation is to give this one a few weeks before going.

Theron Sapp

October 21st, 2010
1:04 pm

Jon, if they’re charging money, it’s fair to comment on the service.

Mike

October 21st, 2010
1:11 pm

I like Flip and am looking forward to the one at Buckhead, but I have to laugh at the inferences that the two locations are somehow far apart. I just looked the addresses up there is a major 5.6 mile drive to get from one to the other. I wonder if there will be any cannibalization as a result of their close proximity. Living in Buckehead, near the old one, but a little closer to the new one, we’ll probably start going to the new one.

The Westside location is barely Westside, just across I-75 from what is already considered Buckhead, which I know the I-75 is a line of demarcation between hip and unhip. The folks in the Westside location would breakdown crying if anyone tried to infer they weren’t in the heart of “Westside.” Plus those Westsiders wouldn’t appreciate your “West Midtown” moniker anymore than they would want to be thought of as “South Buckhead,” those folks are way too edgy to be associated with anything as lame as Midtown.

SuebeeQ

October 21st, 2010
1:13 pm

Went to the original Flip location on the Westside for the first time last week. KK milkshake….YUMMY!!

Bryan

October 21st, 2010
1:16 pm

If you like flip…TRY Farm burger in decatur.

DebDoes

October 21st, 2010
1:56 pm

Love Richard, Love Flip, glad to see he’s doing well. Didn’t know about the B’ham location, I’ll pass the word along to my ‘Bama friends. We’ll have to try the new place…long overdue.

Jon Watson

October 21st, 2010
2:11 pm

@Thomas S. – I think that you are spot on there, as far as the service goes. There are definitely kinks still to be worked out in the service, but I walked in the door expecting that, which helped alleviate the stress. That, and the beer.

@Theron Sapp – I agree…service is a very important part of the dining experience. And they did have issues on a few fronts (except for the food…on both nights, the food itself had no issues). However, it would be wholly misleading for me to point out all of the missteps on their opening night(s), especially in a public forum like this. I just consider it professional courtesy in their first week. Opening night service is rarely indicative of what you can expect once the staff finds their groove. Of course, sometimes restaurants come out of the gate on top of their game, and they get a gold star when that happens. But I find that it is unrealistic to not brace yourself for a few slip ups with a staff that new.

But if I get the same service a month from now? I won’t be as forgiving.

Jon Watson

October 21st, 2010
3:06 pm

@Blackland – At the very least, I can agree with you about the A5 burger. I doubt it is a function of being “too good” for Buckhead, especially considering the financial stereotypes that many hold about that part of town (where I also happen to live, btw). I was a little surprised it wasn’t on the menu…I’d think that it will eventually be added back on, as it is one of the “staples” that has remained pretty constant at the Howell mill location.

allen

October 21st, 2010
3:16 pm

Flip is over-priced. The burger was average and the wait at the howell mill location is way too long for it. Farm Burger in Decatur is much better quality and definately more food for your dollar. These “celebrity chefs” are not as good as tv and the media make them out to be.

Frank

October 21st, 2010
3:18 pm

Atlanta needs more Flip like it needs more Flying Biscuit

why do you people keep thinking this is Blais’ place? he has never owned anything in Atlanta and never will. he’s hardly ever in Atlanta anymore. Pancho cooking your $40 kobe burger in the back has more ownership than rB. does anyone even remember all the other failed restaurants with his name behind it? of course not.

Hannah

October 21st, 2010
3:34 pm

I’ve been to the original location multiple times, as recently as August, and I have never been impressed. The service is always horrible, but the food is never good, either. The sides are good, actually, I’ll give them that. But the actual burgers have never been good, and have even made me sick on a couple of occasions. I want to like it, but I just can’t.

JSD

October 21st, 2010
4:02 pm

$15 burgers!!! Yey!!!

Kimberly

October 21st, 2010
4:15 pm

Honestly I don’t know how food critics wake up every morning to the same tired drivel. YES the burgers cost more than $5!!! If you put Kobe beef between buns you can’t compare it to a Big Mac. Nor does putting something between two buns automatically diminish it’s integrity or worthiness. So save the overpriced posts – we know.

Burger Boyz

October 21st, 2010
4:16 pm

I’d pay $ 25 for a Flip Burger!! Excited about another location.

Tyler McWebb

October 21st, 2010
4:26 pm

Birmingham?? Haha, good luck with that.

RK

October 21st, 2010
5:30 pm

Why would you go to a place multiple times that you don’t like?

The Birmingham location has been opened for a while.

HD

October 21st, 2010
7:34 pm

@ blackland & Jon Watson – The A5 is made with japanese kobe. I read in the WSJ that there’s an import ban on it right now because of an isolated Hoof & Mouth Disease outbreak in Japan. It’s been like that for a couple of months and has been very difficult to source for restaurants.

RonC

October 21st, 2010
8:01 pm

I’m happy about the new location. It’s lots closer to my house. No, I won’t go to the Howell Mill location much now, but I’ll go to the new location much more than I went to the old one and I expect others in Buckhead will too. Should be a win for them.

Amanda

October 21st, 2010
9:49 pm

You may want to keep driving to the original location for another week. Tuxedo Festival is going to be an absolute zoo with the Halloween traffic at Party City and the Flip crowd.

Hannah

October 21st, 2010
10:28 pm

RK, like I said, I WANT to like it. But trust me, I will not go back.

Thomas S.

October 21st, 2010
10:50 pm

I went to the B’ham location about 6 months ago and the place was absolutely packed. I don’t see them closing down anytime soon. There is likely to be a problem of the Atlanta area becoming saturated with places like this though.

MS

October 22nd, 2010
12:00 pm

We are walking distance from the Flip in Midtown and my husband and I were ADDICTED, we’d end up going multiple times per week and not telling each other we’d already been there that day. We had to wean ourselves down to once a week and finally got our FLIP addiction under control but I still get a stomach pang everytime I drive by (EVERY DAY!). That place is AMAZING!

Rando

October 22nd, 2010
1:34 pm

Sure Atlanta can handle two FLIPs. I live on the Westside and every time I drive by the original it is PACKED.

Jon Watson

October 22nd, 2010
4:12 pm

@HD – I was aware of the ban on importing Miyazaki cattle into the Kobe region, so as to prevent the spread of the disease to the Kobe stock, but my understanding is that the outbreak never actually made it to Kobe. Where did you hear that there were bans on the importing of Kobe beef into the US?

JA613

October 22nd, 2010
6:16 pm

I like FLIP. Good food. Hard working staff, as I see it.

Try the new “Daiquiri Factory” on West Peachtree St. Just opened today close to GA Tech across from still new Hotel Palomar & Midtown Publix. Wide array of adult beverages are a nice topping off to great burger…or seafood. See for yourself.

ATLien

October 23rd, 2010
10:02 am

Yay! Hopefully, the Howell Mill location will easier to get into now.
And, stop comparing Flip to Farmburger. Both are fantastic but very different.

I

October 23rd, 2010
5:14 pm

You Atlantans and your burgers lol, what a bunch of Rednecks………

Big Earl

October 24th, 2010
8:19 pm

not as good as the bacon & cheddar burger @ Longhorn

m shelton

October 27th, 2010
2:32 pm

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