Lightly griddled English muffins cradle juicy beef patties and yummy toppings in the "Original" at The Abbey Eat + Drink.


I love burgers.

And I love ordering them out - not because I have the picky palate of a 10-year-old, but because restaurants do burgers better than I can at home. They have the kind of connections to buy fluffy artisan buns available only at a little bakery in Madagascar and exotic toppings you can't find in the ketchup aisle at Safeway.

I've scarfed plain-Jane burgers and versions studded with foie gras, topped with cheese curds and smothered in peanut butter. Not all at the same time, of course. They were all good.

My call for the best burger: the "Original" Abbey burger.

There's none better.

You'll find it at The Abbey Eat + Drink, 6960 E. Sunrise Drive, for $14 and it comes with a mountain of bronzed, crispy fries. It's got those quotes around "original" because the burger - two patties, which makes for easier eatin' - was on the menu when the restaurant opened 2 1/2 years ago, then it got yanked. Owner Brian Metzger, who also owns Jax Kitchen, said it dropped off the menu when the burger's signature condiment, bacon jam, started popping up at different eateries last year. Abbey customers clamored for its return.

"People have said this is the best burger we've done," Metzger said.

The "Original" Abbey burger triumphantly returned March 6. Hallelujah.

Are you sitting down? OK, then I'll lay it on ya: soft, bready, lightly griddled English muffins cradling those juicy beef patties, sweet caramelized onions, gooey white cheddar cheese, a creamy but not overpowering garlic aioli and the pièce de résistence - a slathering of bacon jam sinking into all the muffin's nooks and crannies and bestowing the perfect smoky-sweet-bacony goodness to the rich beef.

Yup, it's as good as it sounds. Better even. This, red-meat lovers, is burg-vana.

And the sign of a truly great hamburger: Just writing about it makes the drool flow and the obsessive craving start. Need ..."Original" ... Abbey ... burger ... now ...

Kristen Cook