What better way to celebrate the start of summer than with the opening of a burgers-only takeout spot right in the heart of North Baltimore?
Anisha Jagtap, I take it, couldn’t agree more. The chef and proprietor of Puffs and Pastries, an Avenue staple of more than three years, last weekend opened Baltimore Burger Bar. Her newest venture is a quick, takeout-focused burger shop that serves locally sourced beef and offers a set of toppings and sauces that can only be described as unique.
On a gosh-what-happened-to-spring steamy day this Memorial Day weekend, I had an opportunity to catch up with Jagtap, who was eager to talk about her new restaurant.
“I got bored,” she told me openly. While Jagtap admires the art involved in pastries, she’s always loved burgers. After years of observing the business activity on the Avenue—shops opening and closing, the recent popularity of food trucks—she decided that opening a burger shop would meet an unmet need, and keep her growing professionally.
“The Avenue needs a place where you can get a burger without being served on,” says Jagtap, referring to sit-down restaurants like Café Hon and Golden West, which both cook a mean burger.
The Baltimore Burger Bar, as a result, uses a different business model. Burgers are ready in minutes, served in tin foil and clock in at $8, with bacon and cheese costing slightly more. Patrons can enjoy their burgers on the tiny patio (adjacent to Ma Petite Shoe and Hanging on a Whim), or just take them to go. Fries and sides are also available; a meal, for $15, includes everything.
The toppings and sauces—unique, like I said—are where Baltimore Burger Bar really excels. The opening menu, which can be found here, included toppings like melon, mint and radish relish and tomato Thai basil salad. The sauce that caught my eye was the strawberry rhubarb ketchup, mostly because I recall the great things Jagtap accomplished with rhubarb in her Puffs and Pastries days.
My burger included all three of these add-ons, and despite my initial heartache over pairing flavors, they worked well together. Jagtap told me the toppings and sauces are planned to complement each other, and will rotate each week. You can even order an “everything” burger that includes all of that week’s offerings.
Of course, that means we’ve lost Puffs and Pastries. Heartbroken? Well, don’t worry yet. Jagtap still plans to sell baked goods, including cupcakes, at Baltimore Burger Bar. And, she’ll still take pastry orders that are unique and exciting. But something tells me her new venture will be keeping her quite busy.
Baltimore Burger Bar
830 W. 36th Street