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Grindhouse Killer Burgers restaurant review, Atlanta



As the Atlanta burger craze picked up steam, a small counter in the corner of the Sweet Auburn Curb Market opened in the fall of 2009 to nearly universal fanfare. Owner Alex Brounstein’s Grindhouse Killer Burgers immediately hooked aficionados with their no-nonsense burgers and shakes.

Review by Jon Watson

Review by Jon Watson

So, when Brounstein took over an old car wash on Piedmont Avenue to construct a full-service location, fans rejoiced. Unfortunately, months of construction delays pushed the opening back to April, and from the looks of the packed patio and long lines, the opening couldn’t have come soon enough.

Grindhouse’s kitschy aesthetic, complete with retro sci-fi toy robots and a rotating selection of ’70s cult flicks projected onto the wall that would keep Quentin Tarantino glued to his seat, remains intact. And while most of the menu remains the same, some changes have been made.

Of the new additions, the boozy milkshakes ($8.50) take top prize. Their soft-serve shakes get a kick of the hard stuff and a few get a roundhouse kick of booze that would knock Chuck Norris’ beard into next week.

The Booty Shake, a minty shake with a bourbon mixer, is the booziest of the bunch, followed closely by the Monkey Wrench, a malted rum-spiked chocolate, banana and peanut butter concoction. For those that don’t want to breathe fire with each sip, stick to the milder El Duderino, made with vanilla ice cream, vanilla vodka, and Kahlua.

Dixie-style burger (photo by Becky Stein)

Dixie-style burger (photos by Becky Stein)

Unless you customize your own toppings, I highly recommend going for the double patty ($2.50 extra) in nearly all circumstances. Most of the pre-set burger styles add up to such a stack of fixings that the beefy flavor of a single patty can get lost in the mix. When in doubt, double up.

Fans of the original location can still find Grindhouse’s Apache burger ($6.25/$8.75) on the menu, and it remains the best of the bunch. The roasted New Mexico green chiles and pepperjack cheese add a kick of spice without scorching the tongue, and the sweet grilled onions round the Apache out nicely.

Sweet potato kettle chips

Sweet potato kettle chips

Despite being cooked to medium at the rarest, the high-fat content in the griddle-style patties cascades juiciness with each bite, though this is sometimes the burger’s undoing. The soft potato buns normally hold up against the stacks of toppings, but the moisture is their Achilles heel. Once a little grease hits the bottom bun, these go from fluffy to mush in seconds. However, if the mush is tasty enough, I can look past it.

The best example of this mushy exemption is the Hillbilly burger ($5.50/$7.99), topped with pimento cheese, onion, jalapenos, and their competition-style beef chili. As I peel back the wax paper around my burger, I see that the chili has all but soaked through the bottom bun, making this an unwieldy burger at best. But once my bib is in place, the flavorful chili and heat from the jalapenos make for one of the tastiest burgers on the menu.

The non-beef eaters in the bunch have the choice of a turkey or veggie patty as well, though beef remains their forte. Unlike most bland turkey substitutes, the mix of cilantro and onion in the grind surprises with flavor. Similarly, the veggie patties, a well-seasoned mix of beans and quinoa, offer a lot of flavor, but lack in texture. Differentiating between the soft buns and the patty is nearly impossible.

Not all of the new additions are winners, though. The nearly flavorless fried green tomatoes ($5.50) work as a starter when buried under Carolina cole slaw and pimento cheese. As a topping on the Dixie burger ($6.50/$8.99) along with pimento cheese and cole slaw, the tomato fails to bring anything to the party.

During my five visits, I didn’t experience the service issues that many have reported, but I observed them. From my regular seat at the bar, where service is attentive and the delivery time impressively quick, I often witnessed an unmoving disgruntled line out the door and a completely empty dining room behind me, so expect a wait during peak hours.

Though some kinks still need working out, the bigger, better Grindhouse is a great destination for neighborhood burger fans to get their fix.

1842 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-254-2273
Food: Burgers and shakes
Service: Prompt when not overwhelmed, off-peak hours are best
Best dishes: Apache burger and El Duderino milk shake
Vegetarian selections: Veggie burger and a few salads
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover
Hours: 11 a.m.-late daily.
Children: Welcome
Parking: Cumbersome; at peak hours expect to park on the neighborhood street behind the restaurant
Reservations: No
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Moderate to loud
Patio: Large outdoor patio
Takeout: Yes

41 comments Add your comment


June 16th, 2011
7:54 am

I love the Apache burger, but wish very much they would ditch those inferior crinklecut french fries and make real fries to go with the really great burgers.


June 16th, 2011
9:47 am

Isn’t this like the 15th report we’ve had on this place?

Or all are of these burger places blurring together into one greasy pastiche?


June 16th, 2011
10:08 am

I always get a single here. I feel like if you get a double then then the meat dominates all the toppings. The Hillbilly burger is my favorite of the new combinations. I’ve never really had a problem with bread getting soggy either – maybe I’m eating too fast!

Overall, Grindhouse is one of my top 5 five burgers in town

Foodie wish

June 16th, 2011
10:31 am

they need to improve their fries…for the price, I want a larger serving or at least hand made ones.

Love the Dixie, but agree the fried tomato really does nothing…..

also, would it kill you to warm a bun????? all looks good and then, WAM, cold bread.

always sit at the bar, service is great and the staff is entertaining


June 16th, 2011
12:14 pm

Why order the fries when you’ve got onion rings that look like that?


June 16th, 2011
1:22 pm

Went there for the first time last week. Hard decision. Went with the double Hillbilly, just couldn’t resist the pimento cheese, chili, onions and jalapenos. I could not have been happier. And the onion rings were tops. Maybe the apache next time.


June 16th, 2011
3:47 pm

Soooooo sick of BURGERS. No wonder all you Southerners are fat as pigs…or, should I say cows???

Tyson's Dad

June 16th, 2011
3:51 pm

I thought it sucked. I went there specifically to have a shake w/ a “punch”. Almost $20.00 later, I was disappointed. I could have gone to McDonalds. Service not very friendly either. I will try it again, but I have to admit, they have one strike. (sad face).


June 16th, 2011
3:57 pm

I just ate there today @ the Sweet Auburn location. Underwhelming. Had the single Grindhouse. What the heck?! HUGE piece of lettce drowned in a Big Mac type sauce, mushy crinkle cut fries… no thanks. I forced myself to eat about 3/4 of it & 1/2 the fries. Came back to my office building and bought a salad.


June 16th, 2011
3:57 pm

O-Ver – RATED! clap/clap…clap/clap/clap..

Just another greasy burger joint. Honestly, no different than 5 Guys, In n Out, etc., etc.

My suggestion is to go to Whole Foods, buy some high-quality meat, cheese and buns then go home and grill your own.


June 16th, 2011
3:57 pm

^^^sorry, meant “lettuce”.

Debbie Downer

June 16th, 2011
3:59 pm

When will this burger fad die? Good lord, it’s worse than the whole cupcake craze.


June 16th, 2011
4:06 pm

I must say I want to jump on the overrated bandwagon since grindhouse is apparently so hip, but a single grindhouse burger is absolutely delectable.


June 16th, 2011
4:12 pm

While I’ve never been to their new location the Sweet Auburn location has never failed to impress. Skip the fries in favor of the onion rings. And since I don’t eat meat the veggie burger is hands down the best in ATL, and while it doesn’t have the consistency of a beef burger (veggie burgers never will unless they come in a box made in a lab) it has a great flavor. For me it’s the single veggie, with blue cheese spread (damn good), lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and a side of onion rings. Man I’m going to have to walk down there soon. This 90 degree plus weather makes that walk so much harder during the lunch hour.


June 16th, 2011
4:13 pm

Has Crumpy been there? Means nothing to me until I read a Crumpy review.


June 16th, 2011
4:28 pm


Now THAT was hilarious!


June 16th, 2011
4:41 pm

The glowing review shocked me. Did this fellow eat there? It’s – at best – OK, about McDonald class burger. I don’t know and won’t speculate. But I am still scratching my head trying to figure out the kind words for what is a mediocre hamburger.

Harry's Dad

June 16th, 2011
4:41 pm

We ate there a couple of weeks ago and had awful service. One of our burgers didn’t have all the toppings ordered and we had to flag down another server since our server went missing. Our original server brought the missing toppings out, but left again for about 20 minutes. At one point, I had to get up to refill our own drinks. It looked like the service issue was limited to our server since we noticed the other servers appeared at their tables more often. Burger was decent, but I definitely agree that you should go with the double.


June 16th, 2011
4:44 pm

Go home yankee boy!


June 16th, 2011
4:53 pm

Five Guys burgers in a cool atmosphere. The fries look and taste like they came straight from a bag (Orida?).


June 16th, 2011
4:54 pm

The onion rings were not good. They did not have any flavor and the batter tasted like what I would imagine spackle would taste like. The burger was not as good as 5 Guys (but it sure cost more). The rude barstaff was free :)

Barry Lavigne

June 16th, 2011
4:57 pm

You fools gotta check out “Wellingtons” in Cabbagetown. Talk about some gangster, killer burgers.


June 16th, 2011
4:59 pm

I think Grindhouse makes a good greasy burger. Have not been to the new location, but been to the Sweet Auburn one a few times. Its greasy goodness. I couldn’t go more often than I do (2-3 times a year) as I would be 300 pounds. But holy cow is it good. Burgers are different for different people. These are greasy. Flip is funky and fancy. H&F is fancy with awesome bread. Farm Burger is fancy. 5 Guys is greasy and fast. Ann’s is greasy with character. Yeah Burger is solid with boring ambience. Vortex is alternative and greasy. All depends on what you are loking for. For a good, greasy, satisfying burger, fries/rings and shake, definitely check out Grindhouse. Buy some produce at the market while you are at it! Or a whole pig.

Elliot Garcia

June 16th, 2011
5:00 pm

not a big fan of the burgers…anywhere


June 16th, 2011
5:09 pm

I wasn’t impressed with Grindhouse and I love burgers. I still prefer The Counter, Vortex and Five Guys over this place.


June 16th, 2011
5:24 pm

I was so disappointed. the service SUCKED, I mean, like, the kids were all looking at the projections and themselves, am i cute, how’s my profile, while customers waited out in the raw. Speaking of raw, that’s how my apache burger was. There is nothing at all to recommend this place, unless you just MUST see and be seen while being seen along this forgettable stretch of Piedmont. like I said, sooooo disappointed.


June 16th, 2011
5:37 pm

“…cooked to medium at the rarest” Thanks for the heads-up, no sense in me wasting my time there.


June 16th, 2011
5:55 pm

This place is awful. The owner is a REAL jerk also. Please save your money and go somewhere else too.


June 16th, 2011
6:27 pm

Grindhouse Burgers on Piedmont is OK but nothing special about the burgers. I have eaten there several times and I will give it 2 1/2 stars.
I have been back in Atlanta for 3 years after moving to Charlotte for a few years. Charlotte has a place called Penguin Drive In…not an actual drive in but the best burgers you will ever eaten outside the ones you make on your own grille. Very small but cool place. Boy I miss it!

Chi Town

June 16th, 2011
7:00 pm

If it’s not Crumpy approved.. it’s garbage.


June 16th, 2011
10:47 pm

I am joining the choir singing for better fries. when the star of ur show is so good, you also need a good supporting cast.


June 17th, 2011
10:45 am

Three of us recently dined there and will not return. Not only was the service slow the order for one of us was totally messed up. I had the veggie burger which was very good, fries were soggy and luke warm. The beef burger looked like a fast food burger that is kept luke warm in a water bath. Very unappealing looking. Someone did come to our table and gave 2 free burger cards for the awful service. I give this place a 1 star


June 17th, 2011
11:11 am

The burgers are what you go there for. But the rest is a problem. They need to come up with better fries before they lose everyone (who ever liked soft, mushy crinkle cuts anyway?) Unfortunately, the onion rings are not a good substitute. They are soft, not crispy and the seasoning they use on these makes it worse. Salads are like an unhappy obligation, not great either, so light eaters will have a problem there.


June 18th, 2011
11:42 am

I love the burgers, but the side dishes, especially the fries and onion rings, need some serious work. And I would have to agree on the service, or lack thereof. The manager or owner really needs to kick some a$$ on the wait staff. The lack of concern that the wait staff has on providing even mediocre service for a meal that will end up costing $20 for a burger, fries and milkshake is not conducive to repeat business. That this problem continues even with the obvious complaints says that management is also afflicted with a lack of concern.

Wimbledon resident

June 18th, 2011
11:46 am

In reference to what the AJC posted as parking options is not what “should” be happening. Grindhouse has all of the parking across the street at Beddown and the Two Minit Carwash parking next door after hours for the patrons to use. Parking on Wimbledon Rd. has become a complete nuisance for us who live on the road and also patrons end up trashing yards, stepping on flower beds and it leaves no room for us who have no off street parking. Also, it takes two seconds to walk across Piedmont vs. parking half way down Wimbledon and walking all the way up the street.


June 19th, 2011
12:59 pm

Looks like a great place!!! It would seem that the “front of the house” manager needs to be replaced or re-trained. Few things make customers more mad than an empty dining room and a waiting line for tables. If poor service starts at the front door you have little or no chance of getting those folks back to your resturant!

Nom Nom Nom

June 20th, 2011
2:32 pm

MMMMMMMMM yawn. More burger talk? I’m going back to sleep. Wake me where someone is not talking about burgers or tacos.


June 20th, 2011
4:49 pm

Went to Grindhouse last night after reading your review. They were out of kettle chips AND their milkshake machine was broken. I was really looking forward to one of their shakes. Burgers were similar to your description and I found that the burgers and toppings were definitely prone to slipping off the bun. Hot dogs were pretty good too with chili and Carolina cole slaw. Pimento cheese bites for an app were actually really good. Onion rings were not fresh and nowhere near as good as the ones at Flip Burger, but for the price it was pretty good and I would go back.

Mommy Michelle

June 20th, 2011
8:54 pm

Oh my . . . I love the Grindhouse. I think thier burgers are absolutley frickin’ fabulous. The onion rings do need work though . . . possibly beer battered, or more sugar, but overall we have always had a great experience at the Piedmont location – - Mama’s a big Fan!


June 21st, 2011
10:49 am

More sugar???? Sugar on an onion ring???? No wonder people in the south are wider than they are tall.


June 21st, 2011
5:07 pm

Edward…………I guess you didn’t know, McDonalds also puts sugar on their fries. It is not a Southern thing big guy! Many, many chains do the same for all fried foods.