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Yeah Burger dining review, Midtown

$-$$

$-$$

If you build a burger, we will come.

That seems to be the thought process behind Shaun Doty and Erik Maier’s Yeah Burger in West Midtown, a latecomer to Atlanta’s burger explosion. And if you stop in during peak lunch hours, it seems they were right.

A stacked beef burger (all photos by Becky Stein)

A stacked beef burger (all photos by Becky Stein)

All the pieces for a top-notch burger experience are in place: Culinary pedigree? Check. High quality, grass-fed beef? Check. Flavorful toppings? Check.

But as any good chef will tell you, ingredients are only half of the battle.

Guests order at the counter, take a number, and seat themselves, either on the spacious patio or in the dining room. The step-by-step menu allows for a lot of customization and, depending on your toppings, the price escalates quickly. You start with the patty ($5.99-$7.99) and build from there. Cheese adds $1, as do “premium toppings” such as a fried egg, bacon, and avocado.

For those watching their pocketbooks, I recommend making the most of the free toppings and sauces. Opting for bacon jam — caramelized pieces, glazed in molasses — instead of the slice of bacon saves $1 without compromising on flavor. Over the course of five visits, my bills ranged from $13.50 to $25, depending on my sides ($2.49) and if I opted for a $5.49 soft-serve milkshake.

Sides include burger-joint staples such as fries, onion rings, and the less standard fried pickles. While the fries lack crispiness and the pickles need seasoning, the thinly sliced onion rings do not disappoint. The roundly seasoned, never-soggy batter compliments and highlights the natural onion flavor. In his onion rings, Doty left no room for improvement.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

The beef patty, however, is another story.

The 1/3 pound of grass-fed beef comes as two thin griddle style patties, cooked to at least medium well. If you want your burger medium or medium rare, you are most likely out of luck. Unfortunately, cooking the leaner grass-fed beef past medium burns off what little fat is in the meat, taking with it all of the extra flavor and health advantages it holds over the grain-fed alternative.

Except for one slow afternoon where I talked my server into cooking it to medium, every burger arrived well done: Completely grey, mostly dry, and under seasoned. Fattier grain-fed beef is much more forgiving. But to cook thin grass-fed beef to well done without sacrificing moisture simply cannot be accomplished in a high volume, fast-paced kitchen.

A thicker bison pattie

A thicker bison pattie

The veggie burger, made with organic Sea Island red peas, doesn’t offer a much better alternative for the vegetarian crowd. The mushy patty screams for seasoning. The bison burger, however, brings a single thick slab. Juicier and more flavorful than the beef, this stands out as the strongest offering on the menu.

Thanks to the quality of the toppings, a good burger can still be found at Yeah!, despite the shortcomings of the meat. Stack enough flavor and moisture on top and you’ll leave satisfied. Topped with pepper jack, grilled onions, pickles, bacon jam, fried egg, and garlic aioli, the doneness becomes almost irrelevant.

Ultimately, the hardcore burger lovers out there may find that Yeah Burger feels a little phoned-in. Others may find it a worthwhile option in the neighborhood.

Yeah Burger
1168 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, 404-496-4393
1stars5
Food: Burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, and sides. Full bar. Gluten-free buns/fries/onion rings also available
Service: Friendly, but can be unaccommodating when crowded. Average of 10-15 minutes between ordering and delivery to the table
Best dishes: Bison burger with pepper jack, grilled onions, pickles, bacon jam, fried egg, and garlic aioli with a side of buttermilk onion rings
Vegetarian selections: Veggie burger, several salads, and most sides
Price range: $-$$
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Hours: 11a.m-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. (or later), Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday
Children: Yes
Parking: In lot, or in White Provisions parking deck nearby.
Reservations: No
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Moderate
Patio: Yes
Takeout: Yes
RatingsKey_3

53 comments Add your comment

Weak

October 29th, 2010
9:09 am

Glad he closed Shaun’s for this.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eli Zandman, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Yeah Burger dining review, Midtown http://bit.ly/9R5YUl [...]

[...] Children Corner : Yeah Burger dining review, Midtown [...]

1164mgc

October 29th, 2010
9:45 am

What’s with all the 1 star reviews?

Jon Watson

October 29th, 2010
9:51 am

@1164mgc – I honestly noticed the same thing right before I read your comment. Total coincidence…though John did run a 2 star review last friday. I have higher hopes for my next dining review spot though…

jimmy

October 29th, 2010
9:53 am

In agreement with pretty much every point in this review. Good work Jon.

Kirk

October 29th, 2010
9:55 am

@ 1164- It means they don’t have it together yet. I would rather the reviews be honest.I have to be aware of what I spend when I go out and I want to have a taste treat, not a waste of time. Thanks for the honesty in the reviews.

Steve

October 29th, 2010
9:58 am

Based on the ratings key, a 1 star review is really not that bad…just means the food is hit and miss.

The bacon jam at Yeah! is awesome. I agrree that the burger is a bit disappointing though. For the price your paying, I’d rather be heading next door to Flip for something a little more creative. Also, $1 for a slice of american cheese…really?

Frank

October 29th, 2010
10:08 am

People: Stop comparing AJC’s ratings to Yelp’s constant 5 star ratings. Arby’s must love Yelp’s 5 star reviews. At least AJC is trying to rate their reviews on par with NYC, LA, CHI and SF’s rating system.

This is a burger joint. Period. Nothing exciting after the first visit. Honeymoon is over. 1 star is well deserved.

Donkey200

October 29th, 2010
10:18 am

I’ll pass, thank you. Way too uppity for my pockets – Go Varsity!

Tiffany Janes

October 29th, 2010
10:33 am

Yeah! Burger serves gluten-free buns, fries and onion rings. Even the gluten-free onion rings can’t be improved upon – they are amazing! We went opening weekend at 3 pm and it was packed. My husband won’t go back due to the noise level in the place and the price. However, gluten-free beggars can’t be choosers and it’s pretty hard to find a burger with a gluten-free bun AND safe fries in Atlanta. I prefer the burgers at Farm Burger (also with a fabulous gluten-free bun), but they don’t have fries or onion rings. Luckily, the boiled peanuts made up for that and my husband enjoyed Farm Burger as much as I did so it’s our new burger joint in the ATL!

Jon Watson

October 29th, 2010
10:42 am

@Tiffany- I’d intended to mention the Gluten-free options at Yeah!, but ran out of room in the article…I know that is an important draw for those that are sensitive to Gluten.

@Steve – I have to agree with you there, on both counts…love the bacon jam, and I think that Flip is more reasonably priced. I got the Belly Melt at Flip for $7.50, which included multiple toppings, one of which was a slice of crispy pork belly. The beef burger at Yeah! STARTS at $7.99, and that is before you add anything to it.

ATLBadger

October 29th, 2010
10:54 am

So, let me get this right: $11.48 plus tax for an overcooked 1/3lb cheeseburger and soggy fries? With all the burger competition in this city, people actually wait in line for this?

babs

October 29th, 2010
10:54 am

Does anyone else in this town miss waiters? I thought the point of standing in line and seating yourself was to save money. It does not feel as though the savings are being passed along to the customer anymore.

[...] Jon Watson and I both come out with one-star reviews — his of Yeah Burger and mine of Sip Wine. I’ve noticed that some of the comments so far are on the seemingly low [...]

James

October 29th, 2010
11:18 am

Nice review, Jon.

And that’s an astute point about the health advantages (not to mention flavor advantages!) of grass fed beef being eradicated by cooking out the fat. The whole point of eating grass fed is so you can blissfully consume all that delicious hormone/antibiotic free animal fat. Kind of a waste, isn’t it?

joe

October 29th, 2010
11:22 am

Flip Burger, a stone’s throw down Howell Mill is much better and not as expensive.

reservoirDAWG

October 29th, 2010
11:25 am

Thanks for the review. This does not sound like my kind of place.

RNB

October 29th, 2010
11:26 am

While this is a burger place, I found their hotdog to be awesome! Seriously, probably one of the best hotdogs I’ve ever had! The only reason I’ll go back is for the hotdog since the burgers are always disappointing.

keep it simple

October 29th, 2010
11:37 am

come on, I visit YEAH!Burger at least 3 times a week since it’s opened & I thiink the public annomiously give them a bad rep. People love this place me for one. They have really cool people that work there that always remember the regulars. The vibe is absolutely inviting. The food is delious & the price is fine. We live n Atl where everything is expensive. People confuse the $ @ Yeah!buruger for how good the food is. You get what you pay for and @ this place you get a damn good Sandwich. YEAH!Burger

burgernut

October 29th, 2010
11:50 am

spend the same amount, or less, and go to grindhouse, vortex, flip, fatburger, 5 guys, etc, etc, etc,

[...] Celeste wrote an interesting post today Here’s a quick excerpt Tweets that mention The AJC reviews Yeah Burger | Food and More with John Kessler — Topsy.com. October 29th, 2010 9:33 am. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eli Zandman, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Yeah Burger dining … [...]

joy

October 29th, 2010
12:06 pm

I looove Yeah! Burger. Most of the people writing comments here talking about Varsity and Arby’s for real? Well you can keep going there to eat that awful food. You can save money now but you’ll be paying later when you need a Bypass.
I Think my $13.00 for a burger and a delicious shake is better spent here. Everything I have tried is great and I go about twice a week.
And Flip sucks!! by the way.

yetanotherburgerjoint

October 29th, 2010
12:08 pm

I’d say the review is on point. The burger was good – but not overly impressive. Too bad Shaun has not chosen to do the duck fat fries here – perhaps he’ll read this and re-introduce them. they are simply amazing. Gotta try the hotdog based on RNBs feedback. But for the money, I’m headed to Holeman and Finch for their 10pm /brunch burger…it’s probably the best, well thought out, well executed burger in town (sans Ann’s Snack Bar – but who can wait 3 hours to get a Ghetto burger!)

neel

October 29th, 2010
12:09 pm

I agree with Joy. Flip Burger sucks too.

JIMBOB (aka James Robert)

October 29th, 2010
12:11 pm

I still think that Boardwalk is the best deal for a grassfed burger.

Not too bad

October 29th, 2010
12:28 pm

I have to say that I was very fearful to go to Yeah Burger after readng this review last week, but I was quite surprised when I got a great meal at Yeah bruger…. I only have two issues One was the fact we waited in line (with children), for over 25 minutes (from the beginning of the steps to the register). After a while they started taking orders at the bar because the line was continuously out the door and down the steps. Issue number 2 is that they don’t have enough seating and with fall and winter upon us , they are going to need heaters to have patrons seat outside, because they only have 10 tables on the inside and we had a large party of 4 adults and 4 children and had to sit a two tables.

Other than that the food was great…. My burger was perfect and John I took your recommendation on the onion rings and had the half and half and it and I ended up buying another more onion rings because my husband ate too many of my rings, and the mojito was fabulous and everyone can’t make mojitos, but that one was great, I almost forgot it was alcohol.

So all in all your review, although through, it lacks true justice I would give them at least 3 stars for food, but I would leave the 1 star for the location.

Reggie

October 29th, 2010
12:32 pm

I read this review verbatim somewhere way before Oct.29. Your blog maybe? So is the AJC just purchasing old blog posts to publish? Cheap-o small time newspaper.

Burgerlover

October 29th, 2010
12:35 pm

I just can’t get over ONE CASHIER, ONE LINE. Even a fast food place as multiple cash registers for the busy time. The burgers are okay – I agree with the one star. But, I love the fries – I am a soggy fry lover. What can I say…

Jon Watson

October 29th, 2010
12:43 pm

Reggie-
This review was mistakenly published to Access Atlanta online (an AJC website) a week in advance, by the AJC staff. We had it removed as soon as it was brought to our attention last week because it was posted before the print edition came out. So, it was our review from the get-go, and I wrote it myself.

Bride of Puerquito

October 29th, 2010
12:50 pm

I think the AJC should review burger places only. On a regualr basis so we can track how their burger creations are progressing.

Jon Watson

October 29th, 2010
12:56 pm

@Bride of Puerquito – I definitely recognize that I’ve been a little burger heavy since I started. I’ll be giving burgers a break for a little while to focus on all of the other kinds of food on my beat. And I’ll try to mix it up more in the future ;-)

M. Johnson

October 29th, 2010
1:16 pm

If you want your burger medium or medium rare, you are most likely out of luck.

Why can’t I have a burger prepared the way I want it? I’m a fan of the bison burgers at Ted’s. They, too, are very lean and the staff suggests ordering it medium rare to rare. Sounds like I’ll stick with Ted’s. They also make awesome shakes.

Steph

October 29th, 2010
1:19 pm

I thought the turkey burger was good. Not dry at all. Haven’t had the Veggie burger and I don’t eat 4 legged animals so I can’t comment on that.

@Frank- you can’t compare Yelp ratings to AFC ratings since they stand for different things. A 4 star on AJC is “defines excellence in local dining”. a 4 star on Yelp stand for “I’m a fan”. I am a fan of a lot of places that don’t quite define excellence in local cuisine. To be honest Yelp shouldn’t have stars since you get a lot of orange heads who always put in 1 star of 5 stars because it was either the “BEST EXPIRIENCE EVER or the WORST!!!!”

Bride of Puerquito

October 29th, 2010
1:30 pm

Yelpers Suck.

Jon Watson

October 29th, 2010
1:33 pm

@Steph – Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try the turkey burger, so I’ll have to take you at your word on that one. Even though I went 5 times, I had to try the beef burger multiple times to make sure that the first overcooked one wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t.

Charleston Jacket

October 29th, 2010
1:50 pm

To neel and joy: you both must be nuts if you think flip sucks and yeah burger is great. Flip has better prices and far superior food. If you like getting nickle and dimed, that’s fine…it’s your money to waste.

Charleston Jacket

October 29th, 2010
1:52 pm

@Steph: soooo you eat other-than-4-legged animals? what’s wrong with you?

JenC1978

October 29th, 2010
2:29 pm

@I LOVE NY: Read Mara’s post about Doty and the nationwide burger trend, which OMG, started in NYC! I’m a Yankee too and encourage you to move back north if you hate the South so much.
@Jon: I was a devoted follower of Shaun’s, and decided after Yeah! opened that I would rather eat the same burger at Shaun’s because I could get the good fries and have my burger cooked medium rare; more money, yes, but worth it in my opinion. If you watch “Cud” Will Harris implores people to not cook his beef above medium, and yet the place that peddles his beef doesn’t adhere to his request. Disappointing all-around.

smc

October 29th, 2010
2:31 pm

I think Jon’s review is spot on and agree with the fans of Flip. I do think Yeah’s onion rings are better than those I had at Flip, however.

Hellbent

October 29th, 2010
5:08 pm

I’m sorry, but this is just too pretentious. Also, charging $.50 for “dipping sauces” for fries….GET REAL!! I’ll stay with 5 Guys thank you.

Jadzia

October 29th, 2010
6:20 pm

It seems like you are dancing around a very important point – a burger is primarily about the meat. If it isn’t up to par, then it isn’t up to par. And it appears that it is not a matter of happenstance execution, it is a matter of ingredients and a dictatorial vision of how it must be cooked. You and other reviews have hit on the fact that the patty is a big disappointment. It’s like nobody want to offend Shaun Doty by making it clear, you gave him a star.

I’m guessing during your NYC visits you’ve had a burger at Madison Sq Park at the Shake Shack. It is all about the meat, and then the cherry on top is when all the other parts go great with the meat! I was just at FLIP the other day and couldn’t believe they stopped carrying the chuck brisket mix that they originally had – inspired by the Shake Shack take on “its all about the flavor & how you cook the meat.” But even without my favorite meat mix for a burger, no one can say that Flip has a poorly cooked & poor tasting burger! I still enjoyed the heck out of my burger and the fact that the sides are great is the cherry on top!

FoodieBooty

October 29th, 2010
9:29 pm

Lame review Jon. I eat at Yeah! frequently and they are so much more than their beef burger. My favorite is the turkey burger which is the best in Atlanta in my opinion. What about their hot dogs, salads, ice cream and cocktails? Those don’t merrit reviewing? Boo for a one-sided, biased review. I at least feel like Yeah! is trying to do the right thing – I don’t get that at all when I go to FLIP.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steven Josovitz and Steve Josovitz, Live to Feast. Live to Feast said: AJC Review: Yeah! Burger- http://bit.ly/dxUC5x [...]

Edward

October 30th, 2010
10:45 am

Oh great, another overpriced, trendy-but-mediocre burger… just what we need. I’ve been to Yeah Burger. I can get a far better burger and fries for half the price at Vortex in L5P and not have to wait in line behind Buffy yapping on her mobile about how totally awesome her lip collagen injections turned out.

jc_atl

October 30th, 2010
11:15 am

Wow, a high end burger place that can’t even get the primary ingredient right. I ate at Farm Burger in Decatur and it was juicy and made me remember burgers cooked on a backyard grill as a child. It’s amazing that a culinary talent like Doty would sacrifice a wonderful namesake restaurant for a fad that’s already passe, and in the process not even do it well. Is it too late to turn the lights back on at Shaun’s?

johni

October 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

I was let down by the burger itself. I love the concept, but it didnt deliver. I can name several other burger joints of this price point that deliver a more consistant (and creative product).

Smirkin

October 30th, 2010
6:52 pm

@foodiebooty – I’m curious. What was biased about Jon’s review? It was a burger joint, and their burger sucked. That’s a big issue. Would you rave about a pizza joint that makes crappy pizzas but makes a good martini? Focusing on the dish that the restaurant based it’s entire concept on is pretty reasonable. That doesn’t make it one sided. It’s the most important thing they serve.

The turkey burger being good is nice, I guess, but who cares? It’s like turkey bacon- what’s the point?

Anonymous

October 31st, 2010
12:01 am

We’ve been there a couple of times….hoping it would be better each time we went…Nope.
I have been to Shaun’s a couple of times…always had a delicious dinner…sorry to see it close for Yeah (not really) Burger.
By the way…the seats at the Bar are REALLY uncomfortable to sit in.
Just sayin’….

Glenn campagna

October 31st, 2010
8:40 am

I have eaten at almost all of the aforementioned special burger joints, except Anns snack bar and by far the best is jct kitchen cooked to medium. Others tried include, vortex, yeah, flip, hole man and finch, Grind.., fat burger, 5 guys, houstons and others not worthy of mention.

I use to order my burgers med rare but have in the last year or so found that med is more my speed and can give a better exterior when cooked properly. The jct burger at medium is perfect.
Carmelized crunchy exterior with super juicy yet firm beefy interior with incredible burger flavor.
The bun is simple and soft but a flavorful one. I usually go with cheddar and it also comes with let , Tom and red onion. No bacon or egg needed to mess with the straight forward burger flavor. Just delicious. And they have good fries, but the burger is the star.