A Tale of Two Burgers

A good burger is a beautiful thing… and surprisingly hard to come by in our experience. Plus we want to sit down in a relatively quiet setting, get waited on and enjoy a beer or glass of wine with our burger. One place we gravitate to (and admittedly have become kind of stuck on) is The Nugget. There are three Nuggets in Greater Santa Barbara. The original in Summerland, Goleta on Camino Real, and downtown on Victoria Street. The Victoria Street location is our favorite. It used to be Epiphany (formerly owned by Kevin Costner) and it has a nice atmosphere. We have our favorite table. So yesterday, craving a burger and having taken a nice long walk in IV (more about that at some other time) we parked in the lot behind the Old Vic Theater and walked to the front door: it was locked. What! No burger! Turns out they have changed their hours and are no longer open for lunch during the week. Now what do we do? Where can we go to get a) a good burger, b) a beverage c) a relatively quiet location.

We ruled out Santa Barbara Brewing Company. While their burgers are good and they obviously have great beverages, they are too loud and raucous for us. Thinking about it some more we decided to try Holdren’s. Known for their great steaks and New York bistro-style atmosphere, Holdren’s is our go-to place when we want a nice sirloin or porterhouse, but what about their burgers? Could they hold a candle to the great burgers obtainable at “La Nugget” (pronounced in the French way as we like to call it). We would see.

Arriving at about 12:30 we were please do see they were doing a brisk lunchtime business but several of their cozy booths were open and we grabbed one. The lunch menu features a “cheesburger, fries or salad, and a beer” for $16. Not bad. We both ordered the special, Laura with grilled onions, Jody with Swiss cheese. What came to the table was appealing, attractively plated, and beautifully cooked. The ground beef was very high-quality and lent a nice beefy flavor. All in all a good value and a very pleasant meal for lunch; just what we were looking for.

Will we start going there instead of “La Nugget”? Probably not, we are kind of stuck on The Nugget but since we usually only eat out at lunch or breakfast, I can see us frequenting Holdren’s for burgers more often now.

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