Wizard Needs Food Badly: Burgers For Two At Urban Stack

Monday, May 23, 2016 - by Paquita Maria Sanchez

It was Saturday night and we were feeling like burgers and shakes, so Lionel and I decided it was time to try out Urban Stack.

There seems to be a lot of competition in Chattanooga when it comes to making the best burger in town, and Urban Stack has a pretty large group of supporters. More than one friend has insisted to me that this downtown joint’s beef and buns cannot be beat.

We arrived about 7 and had to park a ways down the street since the place was packed. If we’d wanted to eat outside, we still could have gotten a table immediately, but we chose to wait for a booth. About ten minutes later, we were seated against the back wall and ordered our drinks.

The restaurant has a unique atmosphere, with modern, industrial-looking beams and rafters, cement flooring, and brick walls. It’s owned by the same people who own Taco Mamacita, Community Pie, and Milk and Honey.

Urban Stack boasts a large drink menu, so Lionel ordered a Gotta Get Up To Get Down milk stout ($6.50 pint, $8.00 mug), which he loved. Most of the appetizers seemed a bit expensive, between $8 to $10, but we shared an order of fried chickpeas ($3.50) and didn’t regret it. They were perfectly crispy and spiced.

Though I was particularly tempted by a few of their more unusual burgers, like the spiced turkey burger with tomato-pepper relish and blackberry mayo ($8.99); the Greek-spiced ground lamb with cucumber, tapenade, and feta cheese ($11.99); or the fried green tomato burger ($9.99), I thought it was best to go basic for a first try.

I got The Big Cheese, which was topped with chipotle ketchup, balsamic onions, lettuce, tomatoes, house sauce, and Sweet Water Valley Farm Fiesta cheese ($6.99). Lionel went with The Steakhouse, which had U.S. barbecue sauce, bacon, atomic horsey sauce, crispy onion, cheddar cheese, and green onion ($8.50). We also each got a side of house-cut fries ($3.00), which we were disappointed to learn did not come with the meal.

It didn’t take long for the food to arrive, and we both dug in. The buns were great, something I consider important, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that pickles came on the side and were homemade. I also absolutely loved the chipotle ketchup. It went great with the fries, which were nice and crispy, and not too salty.

Lionel really enjoyed his food, too.

“You know, it’s kinda nice to have a gourmet burger that doesn’t completely fall apart when you eat it,” he said.

I agreed, though the way I add ketchup and mayonnaise makes any burger a mess for me.

After we were finished, we split a hand-spun S’mores shake ($6.00). I was a bit surprised at the size. Not that I needed more food, I was already verging on stuffed, but I’m used to hand-spun shakes at that price to come out in a fairly large glass with the extra shake in a stainless steel mixing cup on the side. That was not the case at Urban Stack.

Lionel couldn’t help but reference Pulp Fiction and the character Vincent Vega’s surprise at Mia Wallace ordering a $5 shake. When Vincent finally tastes it, he exclaims that it’s good with some colorful language, but maybe not worth $5.

I suppose that’s how we felt. I’m used to shakes costing $5 or more these days, but I suppose, especially in a restaurant, I expect a bit more bang for my buck.

Speaking of other things I expected, though our server was friendly, we didn’t see her quite as much as we would have liked. We had to wait a while to ask her for condiments after our food was brought out, had to wait a while to order dessert, and had to wait a while once more when we wanted to pay for the meal.

I’d give the waitress some slack, since the place was busy when we first arrived, and a large party had just come in, but by the time we were getting ready to leave, most of the tables around us were empty and the pace of the service was exactly the same. We wound up ordering our dessert with another waitress who was cleaning some tables.

Overall, we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere, and we plan to go back and try Urban Stack’s more unusual items, but I wouldn’t say they won my vote for Chattanooga’s best burger, or shake, for that matter. So we’ll be venturing on till we find it.

Location: 12 W 13th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Hours: Sun – Th 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

            F – Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.


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