When you want a break from the options in the food court and don’t want fast food, where do you go?
We compared two restaurants within ten minutes of the college to see which had the most quality food and fastest online service for students taking a quick lunch between classes. We decided to order non-beef burgers to further decide which option is best for students who don’t love red meat.
Here’s what we found.
Tanner’s Bar and Grill
If greasy fast-food beef burgers aren’t your thing, Tanner’s might just be your new favorite lunch spot.
Admittedly, this “burger” was a bit strange. A single patty cut in half sat between a similarly sliced piece of naan bread, which is essentially a non-vegan version of pita bread. Guacamole and hummus were spread on the top bun, along with lettuce and sliced tomato.
If I’m being honest, I hate avocados. I don’t really like bread alternatives, either. Tomatoes aren’t my thing and I always put chunks of lettuce off to the side. If anyone would hate this sandwich, it would be me.
And yet, I loved it.
Far from being a hassle, the sliced patty stayed perfectly on the bun because of the naan bread’s shape. The bread itself was soft and thin enough that it didn’t overwhelm the texture of the sandwich. The avocado kept the bread from getting too dry. The vegetarian patty didn’t taste exactly like a beef burger, but it was delicious even when all of the toppings were removed.
The sandwich was served with fries, which happened to be equally as unique. The dark orange batter was crispy and tasty, and although the fries lacked seasoning I appreciated the home-style flair they added to the meal.
On the other hand, Barley’s fries were typical — the same kind you’d find at Applebee’s, Chili’s or any other cookie-cutter “bar and grill” restaurant. Barley’s was out of their veggie burger, a fact we didn’t know until we arrived since their 119th street location doesn’t offer online ordering. Instead, trying to keep in the vein of beef alternatives, we ordered a turkey burger. It had a great beef-like flavor, but was utterly simple and predictable. Nothing about this meal had any wow-factor or defining details.
The Tanner’s on College Boulevard has its own site, with an info bar on the side of the page offering easy access to the location’s phone number, hours of operation and online ordering service. It was beyond easy to place an order and the food was ready in under 20 minutes, which meant our waiting time was cut in half considering the drive there. The restaurants are an equal distance from the college, but we had to wait a full 15 minutes in Barley’s waiting area while our food was prepared.
From the easily accessible and student-friendly online ordering service to the uniquely tasty veggie burger, Tanner’s was the better restaurant. For a non-beef burger that won’t make you late to class, Tanner’s is the way to go.
Story by Samantha Joslin
Barley’s Kitchen and Tap
Our first destination for this installment of Food Wars was Barley’s Kitchen & Tap.
Originally our plan was to order ahead using their website, however our attempt was unsuccessful as they do not have that feature online, although orders placed over the phone and deliveries via the Doordash app are viable options for ordering ahead.
Initially we planned to try both restaurants’ vegetarian burger option. Upon requesting their ‘Black Bean Vegetarian Burger,’ we were faced with some disappointing news: they were sold out. We later found out that their veggie burger constantly varies in popularity and it’s difficult for the restaurant to predict how many they’ll need.
So, we ordered the next best thing: a turkey burger. As someone who avoids eating red meat, I typically have high expectations when it comes to non-traditional styles of burgers. The burger proved to be well worth the short wait in the Barley’s lobby, which was made even better when the hostess offered us free chocolate chip cookies.
What made this burger stand out from typical turkey burgers was the addition of goat cheese. Personally, I love goat cheese and I think no matter what it is added to, it elevates the dish. The creaminess of the cheese combined with the crunch from the fresh onions, tomato, lettuce and pickles made for the perfect bite. Each one of the toppings provided an experience that isn’t seen in many other restaurants. The burger came deconstructed allowing for the customer to add or remove whatever toppings they desire. For our purposes we tried it with everything on it, and it was delicious. The patty tasted just like a regular beef burger.
And now for my favorite part: the fries. Perfectly seasoned and the right amount of crisp, these fries were amazing. Every bite made me want to reach for more, and I found myself devouring what I usually consider to be a mere filler food. On the other hand, the fries at Tanner’s were, to be blunt, awful. The shoestring styled fries lacked any type of seasoning and had a weird texture. Even fast food fries tasted better compared to the ones offered at Tanner’s.
Although Barley’s doesn’t have an online ordering feature, that didn’t sway my opinion on how good the food was. Every aspect of the meal exceeded my expectations that I had going in. While I enjoyed Tanner’s take on a veggie burger it wasn’t anything special. I did enjoy their bun as it was a flatbread style instead of a typical hamburger bun, but that’s pretty much the only thing I liked.
Barley’s Kitchen & Tap has a great menu with a variety of food and drink options available. Call ahead to see if their vegetarian burger is available, but if you don’t mind eating meat, the turkey burger is a fantastic choice.
Story by Alieu Jagne