Posts Tagged ‘Petey's Burgers’

On the most holiest of holidays, I traveled to South Carolina to celebrate Easter at Myrtle Beach. The weather was warm, the beach was vacant and the water was ice-cold. Of course burgers were in my vacation prospectus, the question was which one? I had spent several years vacationing with family and friends in South Carolina, and this question was answered rather easily, it was Hamburger Joe’s. Joe Brooks, aka Hamburger Joe, started his restaurant career 34 years ago with a locally well-known seafood restaurant called White Point. After several years of frying fish, simmering clam chowder and filling up tartar sauce bottles, Joe decided to re-direct his fast food expertise in the form of burgers. In 1989 he opened Hamburger Joes,which he openly and honestly told me, copied after a hole in the wall burger shack, in rural North Carolina. In The Carolina’s the burgers are served with mustard-chili-slaw, or all the way-with onions. After a brief mishap where Hurricane Hugo tore off the roof, Hamburger Joes thrived, serving it’s Carolina style of burgers to locals and tourists alike.Some believe the origin of this unique topping came from the West Virginians method of hot dog makings, as they drifted down to The Carolina’s looking for employment in the early 60’s, bringing with them their mustard-chili-slaw ideals.

Joe gets his hamburger blend from Iowa beef, some say the Pat LaFrieda of the South. He adopts the smashed style burger method, and uses sharp cheddar, pressing the burgers out to a perfect 4 oz size, enabling them to neatly fit on the bun. The chili is made from Filet, Short Rib and Rib Eye trimmings from his steakhouse Joe’s Grill, along with some other secret ingredients, make for a hearty beef chili. The slaw is light and chopped fine, with minimal mayonnaise, a recipe that has stuck with him for over 34 years. The menu is cheap and simple, with hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled “Carolina”style BBQ, and a fried bologna sandwich, that may change your beliefs in processed meat. The restaurant is like a country house, wood paneling, corrugated iron roof, fireplace, neon beer signs and dollar bills draped all over the walls and ceilings, which at last count was $8000.00.

Joes hires all female servers, which many have been in his employment for many years. Joe attributes his success to simple ingredients, and a clientele that’s always in a good mood- mainly he says “Because they’re on vacation”. I sat and watched generations of families gorge on their burgers, which seem to arrive rather quickly compared to the volume of people in the room. The assembly line of burgers, sandwiches and wings were moving fast and steady, as I snuck a peek over some guys heads, as they guzzled their pints of Natty Light. The crowd was typical South Carolina, Nascar shirt wearing gents,bikers,neon-cladded woman with teased hair, and overweight, but happy golfers on a restbit from their day on the greens, loudly bragging about their supposed hole in ones.

As my back was turned, my server delivered a bevy of pleasure to my table.I ordered a cheeseburger with mustard-chili-slaw, a hamburger with lettuce,tomato,pickles and onion,and a side of crispy well-done onion rings. The cheeseburger was first of the tee, tasting rich and hearty from the chili, crunchy and zesty from the slaw. The hamburger was decent with a char-grilled smashed burger flavor, that was reminiscent for me,of its Eastern counterparts Schnippers and Petey’s. The onion rings were scrumptious, going perfectly with salt, ketchup and Texas Pete. I would imagine people who are not used to the mustard-chili-slaw combo,maybe having a problem reading this right now, but just remember there are worst things that have been eaten-I mean who would have thought that oysters would taste good!


Hamburger Joes is a great place to go while in Myrtle Beach, friendly,quick service,will sure bring a smile on that sunburnt face of yours. Be sure during weekends and holidays to bring your patience, Joes has been slinging out hamburgers to Myrtle Beach locals and tourists for over 20 years and by the lines to get in,shows no sign of stopping. I enjoyed chatting with Joe Brooks, aka Hamburger Joe, to be in the presence of such a South Carolinian burger founder was a definite high light in my burger quest.

Hamburger Joe's on Urbanspoon


After a spiritual fix at my local Sunday service, it was time to get my other and more devilishly gluttonous fix for the day. I hopped the N train to 30th Ave in Queens, New York my destination was no other than controversially reviewed Petey’s Burgers. I exited the crowded train and crossed the street and entered the conveniently located In-Out Burger inspired burger spot, the menu was simple and affordable with tasty burger combo’s and creamy flavored shakes served counter style by a friendly knowledgeable staff. I ordered the Cheeseburger combo priced at $7.79 and an extra Cajun fire burger for a chaser, I glanced around at noticed happy locals gorging themselves while watching the previews of the NFL playoff games, no doubt hoping to line those stomachs for a heavy day of football related drinking and spectatorship. GO JETS!!

My burgers were friendly delivered to my table by one of the owners of Petey’s, Peter Karalekas. We sat and chatted about his history and un-relentless vision for his burger empire, he lamented about his days in California and was passionately drawn to create a neighborhood burger restaurant for his native New Yorkers. I sat amazed at the bountiful bed of crispy hand cut French fries before me, flanked by a paper wrapped cheeseburger that was oozing gorgeous American cheddar and Petey’s special sauce, and a spicy Cajun Fire burger creation, both of which were making my mouth water with desire and greed.

While on my quest for the best burger, in my opinion, there are several different types of burgers. There are your haute-couture type burgers, bistro burgers, alternative gourmet burgers, home-style diner burgers and your fast-food smashed burgers. If you go to Petey’s expecting anything else other than the latter, you’ll be disappointed. Petey’s is an excellent smashed style burger with a hellishly good taste and flavor that will have you wanting more. Despite the sometimes-controversial comparison to In and Out burger, I found Petey’s beef to be the superior quality that is grounded and supplied by La Frieda’s Butchery -a renowned favorite of Shake Shack and Spotted Pig burger architects.

For all you In and Out fans instead of going West, try going East over the river you won’t be disappointed!

Petey's Burger