Sure, foodies flock to the Sunshine State to nosh at the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, feast on fresh Florida seafood and traverse the Florida Keys Scenic Highway in search of the best key lime pie. But Florida is also home to a host of fine classic burger joints, places where the burgers are served with a side of historic and often quirky atmosphere.
VISIT FLORIDA has embarked on an exploration of the state's authentic (and sometimes eccentric) beef patty purveyors for an occasional series called "Flipping for Florida Burgers." Whether you're hankering for a simple, blue-collar patty or a burger with a bit more flair, you'll find something to suit your taste.
Here's a link to a survey of the first five installments in the series. Read on to find out about our latest char-grilled adventures!
Salute the Beefy Burgers at Col. Mustard's
The Bowden Burger at Col. Mustard's Phat Burgers in Jacksonville Beach features a 100-percent ground chuck patty with fried onions, bacon and cheddar cheese on a Kaiser roll. Photo by Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA
Col. Mustard's Phat Burgers in Jacksonville Beach boasts a Wall of Fame that challenges patrons to eat 1-1/2 to 3 pounds of burgers in 15 minutes or less. On the wall, patrons can peruse photos of champion burger-chompers like Cory, who consumed three patties in 11 minutes, 34 seconds, and Ashley, who downed four burger patties in just over 8 minutes.
No doubt, some diners are drawn to Col. Mustard's by the Wall of Fame challenge. But most come simply to savor the flavorful, fresh and beefy burgers served at the 50-seat eatery. The patties are made from a mix of 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat ground beef. The bun -- a challah twist Kaiser -- makes a perfect wrap for the patties.
Customer faves include the Bowden Burger, topped with sautéed onions, bacon and cheddar, and the Jaguar Special, featuring ham, Thousand Island dressing, sautéed onions, bacon and cheese. Col. Mustard's also offers three lighter, low-fat buffalo burgers. The chili served atop burgers, hot dogs and French fries is homemade, as is the coleslaw. Finish your meal with a handmade vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or Oreo milkshake, made with Blue Bell ice cream.
A second Col. Mustard's location with seating for 60 opened in Jacksonville in March.
Read more about Col. Mustard's by clicking on this link.
The signature burger at Col. Mustard's Phat Burgers in Jacksonville Beach is the Mustard's Special, which features a freshly made 100-percent ground chuck patty with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles, ketchup, mustard and cheese on a Kaiser roll. Photo by Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA
Find Burger Heaven at Lost Lagoon
The Big Taco Burger at Lost Lagoon Wings & Grill in New Smyrna Beach is topped with taco seasoning, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, avocado and tortilla chips and is served in a Kaiser bun. Photo by Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA
At 4 p.m. on a rainy Sunday, with no major televised sporting events playing on the screens mounted over the bar, the place is packed.
Young families, aviation buffs and retirees all come to the 180-seat restaurant for the burgers, wings and camaraderie. And you can't beat the view - mere yards away, planes take off and land at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport.
Though the bar is a draw for young and older singles and couples, families find much to enjoy as well, with cornhole boards out back and kids-eat-free offers Tuesdays through Thursdays. A large deck with picnic tables encourages pet owners to bring furry friends. Two video games greet guests entering the restaurant, and flat-screen TVs are sprinkled throughout.
The menu's 17 specialty burgers are made with 9-ounce Black Angus beef patties and are served on buttered and grilled Kaiser rolls from a bakery in Philadelphia. Among the gourmet burgers are the Black n Bleu Burger, stuffed with bleu cheese, and the Brunch Burger, topped with bacon, an egg and white American cheese. The Big Taco Burger features a patty seasoned with taco spices, shredded cheddar, salsa, avocado slices and a few tortilla chips. Make sure you ask for a side of Boom Boom Sauce, a cheese-based concoction made with poblano peppers.
Learn more about Lost Lagoon Wings & Grill by clicking on this link.
The Black n Bleu Burger at Lost Lagoon Wings & Grill in New Smyrna Beach features a 9-ounce Black Angus beef patty topped with bleu cheese and served on a buttery Kaiser roll. Photo by Scott Audette for VISIT FLORIDA
Hungry for more? Check back for more tales from the Florida burger trail!