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10.12.2016 - A&B Burgers: From Brunch To A New Fall Menu
The Passionate Foodie - Richard Auffrey
"From Sticky Buns to Sticky Wings....
During the last couple months, there have been some changes at A&B Burgers, from the beginning of their Sunday Brunch to the start of their new Fall Menu. I've raved about A&B Burgers before, from my initial review of A&B Burgers to my more recent review of their Cajun Dinner. What are my thoughts on their recent changes?
Let's begin with Brunch. Their new Brunch menu includes about 8 Starters, priced $4-$15, and includes items such as a Smoked Salmon Platter ($11) and Roasted Cauliflower ($8). There are also about 10 Entrees, priced $9-$16, including choices such as Chicken & Waffles ($15), Cajun Style Andouille Shrimp & Grits ($12), French Toast ($10), and Huevos Rancheros ($10). Overall, the menu offers plenty of choices at reasonable prices, whether you are craving a breakfast option or something closer to a lunch choice. In addition, they serve a number of Brunch Cocktails, priced $10-$12.
For Starters, I'd highly recommend the Sticky Bun ($4), a warm brioche sticky bun topped with a honey pecan glaze. A large, soft and gooey bun with lots of cinnamon flavor, crunchy pecans, and a sweet and tasty glaze. It's big enough to share and is a great, and sweet, way to start off your brunch. The A&B team is highly skilled at creating delicious pastries and this won't disappoint.
The Pork Belly Bacon & Eggs ($10) has two eggs (cooked as you like them), seared confit pork belly, toast and a hash brown pancake. Our dish arrived without the hash brown and we failed to realize its omission until after we returned home. The over easy eggs were cooked perfectly, with a gooey yolk and the whites fully cooked. And the sizeable pieces of pork belly were also perfectly cooked, with a crisp exterior and silky, salty meat and fat.
There was a choice of Sourdough or Brioche toast, and you'll see the large slices of sourdough above. Again, toasted just right, and an excellent accompaniment to the eggs, with plenty of toast to sop up the yolk.
Their take on Southern Biscuits & Gravy ($11) offers a large, homemade herb biscuit with old fashioned pork sausage gravy. This is a great choice for comfort food as the weather gets chillier. The large biscuit was fluffy and soft, with a crunchier top, and was covered in flavorful gravy with ample pieces of spicy sausage within it. A very satisfying dish.
Onto the new Fall Menu, which has plenty of old favorites, like the Smoked Gouda and Sweet Sopressata Mac n' Cheese (pictured above), as well as new dishes such as the Maple Bacon Burger, Turkey Gobbler Burger, and Pumpkin Black Bean Burger. I will note that I tried the Side of Fried Pickles again and they were much better than the last time I tasted them. The coating of the pickles was crisp and not soggy like on a previous visit.
The Korean Sticky BBQ Wings ($10) are ginger and garlic braised wings in a house made Korean BBQ sauce. With a crisp and crunchy fried coating, these wings were meaty and flavorful, with a nice blend of spices, a hint of heat, some pleasant sweetness and lots of messy stickiness. I've enjoyed their other wing dishes, like the Louisiana Fried Chicken, and this dish is equally as delicious. Great bar food and perfect for watching the Patriots on a Sunday afternoon.
Speaking of comfort food, the Shepard's Pie Burger ($14) is a spin on traditional Shepherd's Pie, consisting of a burger, topped by mashed potatoes, grilled corn and with gravy on the side. I like the fact the gravy was on the side as you can then decide how much gravy to use, and whether you will be able to hold this burger in your hands, or it will be so messy you have to eat it with a fork and knife. The burger was the same high quality as usual, and the creamy potatoes and corn worked well with the beef, adding some texture to the sandwich. It was a combo that worked very well and I'd definitely order this burger again. I may even try to make it home.
The new Dessert Menu has three options, including Pumpkin Icebox Trifle, plus you can get Milkshakes, including some Adult versions, such as Chocolate Salted Bourbon.
Above, what looks like a strange little burger, is Kat's Burger ($9), a house-made cinnamon ice cream sandwich topped with candied bacon and cranberry sauce (though we asked for it without the cranberry). This clever dessert is visually stunning and tasty as well, with a nice cake "bun", great candied bacon, and creamy ice cream with lots of cinnamon flavors. It is sized for a single person and isn't a dish made to share.
My favorite of the two desserts was the Apple Dumplings ($8), two good-sized, puff pastries filled with cinnamon apples and with house-made whipped cream and vanilla syrup. The flaky pastries were light and buttery, almost like a superb croissant, and the apples were cooked just right and the filling was spiced well, without being overpowering or unbalanced. Though I was fairly full after lunch, I couldn't resist this dish, each mouthful bringing plenty of pleasure. And this dish is easily large enough to share with someone else.
A&B Burgers is about more than just delicious burgers. So why not check out some of their other options as well?"
9.8.2016 - Hottest Brunches in Boston
9.6.2016 - The Passionate Foodie
FOOD BLOGGER - RICHARD AuFFReY
"A&B Burgers in Beverly makes a killer burger but the restaurant is about far more than just burgers. Check out my prior review for more information about the restaurant, its burgers, and some of its other offerings from Chicken & Waffles to Churros.
Recently, A&B Burgers instituted a monthly Dinner Series, where Chef Kwasi Kwaa and his team showcase a different type of cuisine. Prior events have included Ghanaian Street Food and a Trip Through Asia. Most recently, the Dinner Series made a trip south, to Louisiana, presenting a four-course Cajun Dinner, and I attended the event as a media guest. To ensure freshness, the restaurant flew up the alligator and crawfish the day before the event.
The dinner was held at communal tables, making it very much a fun and social event. In addition to the food, you could also opt for beverage pairings, four Louisiana cocktails that were chosen to pair with the various courses. Or you could just choose whatever else you might like to drink. I went for the cocktail pairings, to get the full experience and because the cocktails sounded intriguing. In addition, I was curious as to how well the pairings would work.
Overall, the dinner was a success, with plenty of tasty food and cocktails. Chef Kwaa showcased his ample culinary skills and I think he did Louisiana proud. The other diners around me were impressed with the dinner as well, including a couple who had never been to A&B Burgers before but now planned to return soon to try the rest of the menu."
Read the full article at: http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/2016/09/a-burgers-cajun-dinner-from-gator-to.html
7.25.2016 - BOSTON'S BOOZY MILKSHAKE GUIDE 2016
Published by Eater Magazine
2016 BONS WINNERS - BEST OF THE NORTH SHORE
Editors Choice & Viewers Choice
Dining Playbook 5.19.2016
9 New Reasons to Hit the Suburbs - 4.21.16
By Scott Kearnan | April 21, 2016
A&B Burgers. When on the North Shore, satisfy burger cravings at this gourmet patty joint in Beverly, which relocated here after an initial year-long stint in Salem. The new gastropub-style location is much bigger — about 120 seats, with a big wall of roll-up garage doors for breezy street-side dining — and there's a big bar for guzzling craft beers and boozy "adult milkshakes." But the stars of the show remain the dozen burger permutations, which range from the burrata and fig jam-topped "Sweet and Salty" to spicy crab cake burgers and tzatziki-spiked, Greek-style turkey burgers. Plus: expanded entree offerings, including chicken & waffles with tequila maple syrup. 206 Cabot St., Beverly; 978-993-7394
Boston Globe - 2.24.2016
(click image to be directed to bostonglobe.com)
By Sheryl Julian GLOBE CORRESPONDENT FEBRUARY 23, 2016
On a night so cold you have to worry about frostbite, would-be patrons at A&B Burgers in Beverly are waiting 45 minutes for a table. The place has more than 120 seats, a big bar, a long high-topped communal table, and wide garage doors in front. A&B had a year-and-a-half run in the Old Salem Jail (poor parking and no street visibility) and has been in the former Bell Market building in Beverly since early January.
The menu has 11 burgers, including beef, turkey, and crab-cake patties, many remarkable. All come with long, slender sea-salt fries — which are excellent when they’re hot, and crisp even when they’re not (they have a light potato-starch coating) — or sweet-potato fries (with a brown-sugar coating), which somehow always arrive hot. Both have the kind of addictive quality that McDonald’s fries had in their glory days, when potatoes were fried in beef tallow.
A&B’s regular fries are made from potatoes grown in Maine, cut off premises, and cooked in canola oil, says co-owner Thomas Holland, 45, a former general manager of Back Bay’s Sonsie and former Michael Schlow partner in Tico. Holland was also director of operations for Alta Strada at MGM Foxwoods. That might explain the smooth operation at A&B, named for Holland’s sons, Alex, 3, and Benjamin, 6. From the door to the bar, the staff seems to be well trained. And even when there are glitches — a bartender cannot locate a spoon, or a lunch table is ignored for 15 minutes in a half-full dining room — you go away feeling well looked after.
Burgers are a cross between precious upscale patties made by chefs who want to prove they can do burgers as well as, say, cassoulet, and those at joints pushing out these classic favorites as quickly as they can. A&B’s hormone-free Angus beef, from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine, is griddled but never pressed. Think of them as slow burgers, and you do wait for a 7½-ounce patty that consistently arrives caramelized outside, juicy inside, cooked to the doneness you requested. It’s more than an inch thick, on a lightly toasted brioche bun from Malden’s Piantedosi Baking Co. The A burger ($11) has American cheese, arugula, and house sauce; the B burger ($12) adds bacon; the sweet and salty ($13) tucks in burrata cheese, fig jam, and bacon. The Greek turkey burger ($11) is surprisingly juicy; feta cheese and tzatziki sauce are in the stack. The jumbo crab cake burger ($15) is a filler-filled crab cake with mustard aioli and salad vegetables. One graceless moment: DIY doggie bags. You’re handed a container to take something home.
On the salad menu, one with candied butternut squash, pine nuts, and goat cheese ($10) has a wonderful Dijon vinaigrette. The Southwestern ($11) combines chopped romaine, bacon, grilled corn, blue cheese, and avocado with ranch dressing. The Caesar’s romaine ($8) is also chopped (enough chopping!), with large croutons and an anchovy if you look hard. The delicious dressing deserves better.
Pan-roasted Brussels sprouts ($9) with bacon and a sherry reduction have all the right flavors, but the sprouts are hard. Delightfully chewy, moist veal meatballs ($9) in a bright but intense, chunky pomodoro sauce are delicious.
Lunch offers sandwiches, such as fried eggplant ($10), crisp rounds in a dull presentation, and Moody’s Delicatessen pastrami with Tabasco slaw on toasted marble rye ($12), one of the best items on the menu. Entrees like grilled salmon ($23), pan-roasted chicken breast ($18), and chicken and waffles ($15) seem superfluous, but Holland says he’s offering what customers want.
Stellar milkshakes ($5 regular, $10 with alcohol) are thick with Treadwell’s ice cream from Peabody. One frosty night a chocolate, sea salt, bourbon shake is a perfect dessert. But the regular chocolate after lunch one day is just as irresistible.
Amy Butler Constant, 27, is co-owner with Holland. The two met when she was in the marketing program at Johnson & Wales and he hired her as a waitress at a restaurant he was running.
They opened a big, roomy urban barn with exposed pipes and modern lighting, offering a menu of well-raised, well-made burgers. It’s always a delight when the place meets the plan.
206 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-993-7394, www.anbburgers.com. All major credit cards. Wheelchair accessible.
Prices Small plates and salads $3-$13. Entrees $18-$28 (most under $20). Burgers $9-$13. Milkshakes (nonalcoholic and adult) $5 and $10.
Hours Sun-Thu 11:30-1 a.m. (full menu until 10 p.m., burgers until midnight).
Liquor Full bar
What to order Veal meatballs, butternut squash salad, Southwestern salad, pastrami sandwich (on lunch menu), A burger, B burger, Greek turkey burger, sweet and salty burger.
Salem News 1.10.2016
(click image to be directed to salemnews.com)
By: Arianna MacNeill Staff Writer Jan 10, 2016
BEVERLY — The burgers are being grilled, the beer poured and, in the spring, the garage door windows will be going up. The long-awaited, downtown opening of A&B Burgers has arrived.
The restaurant opened officially on Friday night, but customers were dropping in through the week wanting to order takeout or hoping to enjoy a meal.
A&B fills a long-vacant property in the heart of the downtown, at the former Bell Market on Cabot Street.
It also marks a milestone A&B Burgers’ owners, Thomas Holland and Amy Constant, who said moving the business to downtown Beverly was their goal after spending two years leasing restaurant space in the former Salem Jail.
Holland cited Beverly’s beaches, theaters, and downtown businesses as elements that make it an attractive location.
Since signing the lease last July and beginning renovations soon after, Holland, Constant and their team have revitalized the space, which most recently housed a makeshift skate park with graffiti lining the walls.
Those days are long gone.
With roughly 140 seats and garage-door windows that roll up during warm weather, the dining room and bar have a rustic-chic vibe, with exposed wood and a U-shaped bar with poured-concrete counters.
A communal table in the center of the room — 16 seats total — helps to separate the bar from the front dining area. This was a deliberate move to help families enjoying a meal feel comfortable in the same space as adults sipping a drink.
“It’s not pretentious,” Holland said. “You don’t need a suit coat, but if you show up in one, you’ll feel comfortable.”
The space is vastly different from the one when A&B first opened in Salem in December 2013. The original concept was more of a “shake shack,” Holland said, with customers lining up to order their food. The restaurant was eventually shut down for three days, he said, so they could redesign when patrons said they wanted to be able to sit down and “enjoy your hospitality more.”
The menu is a mix of casual plus fine-dining cuisine.
Between 12 to 14 burgers fill a section of the menu; all are throwbacks to A&B’s original offerings when it first opened in Salem, with the exception of the oyster burger, Holland said.
“There’s always the ‘build your own,’” Constant said. “If there’s something on there you miss, you can most likely build it.”
The new menu also includes steaks, salmon, fried chicken and waffles, according to Keith Seeber, A&B’s executive chef.
Guests can see how their food is being made; a picture window on the back wall provides a view to the kitchen, where chefs in aprons appear hard at work.
“Keith (Seeber, executive chef) and his team are on stage at all times,” Holland said. “There’s no cheating.”
Allowing a view into the kitchen, plus providing options such as a build-your-own-burger, are part of A&B’s brand.
“That’s who we are,” Holland said.
Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-338-2527 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SN_AMacNeill.
Wicked Local 9.11.2015
By Ethan Hartley / firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Holland, co-owner of A&B Burgers, was watching customers line up consistently throughout the day at a local shake shack when he had an epiphany. He texted a simple phrase to his partner, Amy Butler: “Burgers.”
Shortly thereafter, A&B Burgers was born and became rooted near the water on St. Peter Street in Salem. Offering high-quality burgers with a wide variety of customization, A&B quickly became a customer and critical success – so much so that they outgrew the original location, which is now closed.
Holland, an entrepreneurial restaurateur, now stands smiling in the shell of A&B Burgers new location at 206 Cabot St., the old Bell Market building. The smell of freshly cut wood and temporary industrial lighting fills the 4,200-square-feet first floor of the restaurant.
Optimistically, the restaurant is slated to open on Oct. 7. However, the culinary veteran has seen and done too much in the industry to be held to a strict timeline.
“This is the ninth restaurant I’ve built or helped open and it just never goes totally according to plan,” he said.
On the surface, Holland and Butler’s vision for A&B Burgers in Beverly is simple. They want to offer a beautiful dining establishment that is as friendly to adults as it is to children and that handles the lunch rush just as attentively as the dinner rush – a restaurant that seamlessly blends comfortable, familiar food with an upscale attention to quality.
“Our vision is to make this an exciting destination that brings people down to this area,” said Holland.
As rudimentary as that idea may seem, Holland said he knows from a lifetime of experience in the hospitality business that the devil, and ultimately success, is in the details.
First, of course, is the food. A&B is already established as a maker of superior, all-natural and locally sourced burgers. From a hangover cure loaded with bacon and eggs to a vegetarian-friendly black bean and pumpkin burger, when the carnal craving for a burger hits, Holland knows A&B can satisfy.
However, Holland also knows that not everyone is always just in the mood for a burger, and plans to have a weekly rotating chef special that could be locally sourced fish one week or a savory pasta dish the next. The menu isn’t set in stone yet, but the burgers will be the cornerstone.
Then there’s the restaurant layout. The city-approved plans would allot for 159 seats in the restaurant, but Holland said they are only planning for 129. This is for a reason.
“We want to have a place that transitions well, that transitions like this neighborhood does,” said Holland. “We wanted to create enough places to cater to all different kinds of people.”