Joseph O'Brien 5 p.m., July 30
Bunz: Burgers and Shakes in Hotel Circle
The Days Hotel (not Days Inn!) may not the be most exclusive location in town, but Bunz is a credible effort at putting a legit burger shop in an unexpected place like that. Brandon Hernandez gave the background on the burger restaurant when it was just a rumor. In short, chef/owner Jeff Grossman of Terra American Bistro is the driving force behind the Hotel Circle hamburger joint.
The interior of Bunz belies its history. Something about the layout of the dining area screams "Dennys!" Regardless, the current project with the space has made good use of the sunny patio and decorated the inside in a way that brings it solidly into the 21st century.
The menu is pretty much limited to burgers, fries, dogs, salads, ice cream, and shakes. Simplicity like that can be lovely, although there are plenty of variations on the available items. Burgers are the main focus, with special builds like the "three li'l pigs" that has bacon, ham, and pulled pork on top for $9.95. An "all American classic" burger overflowed its whole wheat bun and came with an excellent blend of sauces, seasonings, and toppings. The sandwich has been composed very nicely, with no one aspect overpowering the others, and the meat was of very high quality and rich in flavor.
Garlic fries, which could be added for $1 and were super garlicky, were also excellent. The burger itself was a bit smaller than the citywide average, but it felt like a great deal being approximately half the cost of a similar burger at some of the places just up the hill from Bunz.
A chocolate shake, practically required with a burger on a sunny patio, was a little pricey at $4.45 but proved to be the right decision and a justifiable expense in the wake of the reasonably priced burger.
Also on the menu, a "concrete" looked like an enormous Dairy Queen Blizzard made out of hard ice cream instead of soft serve. Not for washing down a burger, but promising if enjoyed as a solo treat.
Anyone who doesn't want an ice cream drink is welcome to partake of a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine; all of which are priced between five and six dollars, give or take a few bits.
Service was a small sticking point, not out of unfriendliness as the servers were chipper enough, but considering the restaurant was very quiet the staff could have been much more attentive.
Bunz is open for breakfast from 6:30-11, except for Sundays when the doors open at 7:00 in the morning and the cooks grab an extra half hour of sleep. Lunch and dinner are served from 11-10 every day.
475 Hotel Circle South