(Editor’s Note: The verdict is in for the Best Burger in Tucson.) Last week Neighbor Roy & I continued our quest to find the best burger in Tucson. So far, we’ve reviewed Monkey Burger Downtown, and the new Diablo Burger in the Rialto building across from Hotel Congress. On both occasions, we had an overall delightful experience, but did note that both had their strengths & weaknesses. We also reviewed Fleming’s $6 Happy Hour burger.
Last year (2012) Southern Arizona Guide ranked Zinburger Number One. But now Zin has a lot of new competition, and some of the old, established burger joints have upped their game.
So many people told us that Lindy’s on 4th Avenue has the best burgers that we had to include it in our samplings. We were not disappointed.
We arrived at Lindy’s before the lunch crowd could climb out from behind their desks. The first thing we noticed was that Lindy’s fits right into the funky, quirky, slightly gritty 4th Ave. neighborhood. The interior is small and has the feel of an old downtown dive bar that’s been there since dirt was invented. Yet some of the art on the walls was “modern”; or at least “interesting”.
A pleasant, tattooed, but otherwise anonymous young waitress took our drink order and answered a couple of questions. I inquired if Mr. Lindy was present. “If Lindy was at the grille, you’d know it,” she said. She then pointed out his substantial image in several framed newspaper & magazine features on the walls. “When he’s here the place is louder and somewhat more vulgar.” How charming!
I thought the place was already deafeningly loud. Since Roy & I were, so far, the only patrons, I asked her if she could turn down the “music” so my dining companion & I could carry on a conversation. Mercifully, she complied without hesitation.
Lindy’s menu includes a variety of sandwiches, such as several different Cheese Steaks. They do serve Mac & Cheese & a variety of sides: Fries, Tots, & Onion Rings; all available plain; or with your choice of coatings … gravy, cheesy, chili cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, bacon bits, &/or chives for a few shillings more.
However, clearly burgers are Lindy’s passion & purpose in life. A word of warning: Lindy’s burgers are not for the faint of heart. For example, there’s the Donkey Punch: diced green chilies, jalapenos, habaneros, pepper jack & guacamole. This Donkey comes with a warning label: “Caution: HOT! This one really kicks you in the ass.”
There’s the Dirty Sanchez; the Blue Suede Cow; & the Fat Bastard … just to mention a few. And you can order any or all as a single ($7), double ($9), or triple ($11). Each patty is one-third pound, which is plenty for most folks. But if you’re game, you can attack the “AZ Hooligan: 5-1/3 lb. patties of glorious meat with Cheddar & Swiss, lettuce, tomato, & onions, topped with Lindy’s sauce” for a mere $15.
And then there’s the coup de grace, the OMFG behemoth: Nine (yes, 9) 1/3 lb. patties, with the usual Cheddar & Swiss, tomato, lettuce, onion, & Lindy’s sauce ($25).
I understand that if you eat the whole thing in 20 minutes or less, it’s on the house. If I ate the whole OMFG, I’d need a tombstone. Nevertheless, a few hearty souls have actually managed the feat and lived to tell about it.
Roy ordered the Shroomin Cow ($7): mushrooms, Swiss, Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion & Lindy’s sauce; with a side of onion rings ($3).
I ordered my standard for the purpose of fair comparison: Cheddar cheese, sautéed mushrooms, with Lindy’s sauce, but with mayo on the side just in case. I also ordered a side of Plain Jane Fries ($2).
Would You Like Peanut Butter On Your Burger?
For a measly $0.75 more, we could have had any of 21 other toppings & sauces from wasabi aioli & teriyaki to guacamole, habanero, & sauerkraut. How ’bout peanut butter? The possible burger combinations at Lindy’s are nearly limitless. We could dine here a hundred times and never have the same burger experience twice.
Honey Buns, Cheesy Buns
Lindy also has some optional buns: including a honey bun (glazed cinnamon roll) & a grilled cheese bun ($2 extra). We both ordered ours with a standard potato bun, although that grilled cheese bun was tempting. Maybe next time.
Lean Ground Beef
Roy & I agreed, Lindy’s serves up a tasty, juicy burger. Ours were cooked just as we had ordered: medium. The plain potato bun was fresh and added to the experience, as did the fresh tomato & lettuce, as well as the mysterious Lindy’s sauce.
Just FYI. No one will accuse Lindy’s of using “lean” ground beef in their burgers. It was, to be honest, somewhat greasy. But we allowed that some folks like their burgers that way, particularly young adult males (which are Lindy’s primary customers).
We suspected that the onion rings had been dumped out of a frozen bag & into the fryer only a few moments earlier. Nevertheless, they were served hot and the batter was light & crispy, not oily. The fries were crisp & salty: very good. Lindy’s also offers a side of potato salad, which I love, and will order with my next Lindy.
As to the mysterious Lindy’s sauce, the base is mayo, but he’s added flakes of paprika, red pepper, and … who knows what else. In short, it was mayo with a pleasant kick. Next time I won’t feel the need to order my usual side of plain mayo.
Also, we noticed Lindy’s has a full bar. It’s not a big bar, but they do serve a Deschutes Brewery craft beer from Central Oregon that I enjoy whenever I vacation in the Northwest. That’s on my “next visit” list as well.
Stuffed, Roy & I left Lindy’s on 4th feeling that we had just enjoyed a glorious burger meal. Clearly Lindy’s has raised the lowly burger to a high art form. Was Lindy’s the best burger in Tucson? Roy & I are still debating. What we do agree on is that, so far, Lindy’s burgers are the best for the money. I mean a great burger starting at only $7. AND … Lindy’s tap & well drinks are considerably less expensive than Fleming’s.
A couple of quibbles. #1. When we arrived, we were the only patrons. As the time approached noon o’clock, the place was filling up fast with rowdy frat-boys. Which meant it was becoming painfully noisy. Moreover, what passes for “music” at Lindy’s had returned at full volume. We escaped just in time.
#2. I mistakenly tried to wash my hands at Lindy’s after such a delicious, yet juicy, messy burger. So I walked past the bar, past the grille, and found the washroom. It was not an experience I would recommend.
For our dining recommendations, check out our SouthernArizonaGuide.com List of the Best Restaurants in Tucson & Southern Arizona by cuisine.
Lindy’s on 4th Avenue
431 N 4th Ave, Tucson
Spring 2013. It’s been a while since I ventured down to 4th Avenue. Because of the (eventual) arrival of our Modern Streetcar, the place has been a construction nightmare. Nevertheless, I was anxious to see the progress.
On this early May day I was scheduled to meet my friend Jeffrey for lunch. My criteria for the choice of restaurant were fourfold. (1) It had to be near downtown where Jeff works. (2) It had to be one I had not yet reviewed. (3) It had to have received generally positive reviews over a long period of time because I hate writing negative reviews. (When I go into a restaurant to do a review, I expect a good dining experience because I’ve done my homework.) And (4) it had to be open for lunch. Delectables seemed to meet my demanding criteria.
I had never been to Delectables and was most pleased to see such a large patio for outdoor dining. A sign indicated that on Friday & Saturday nights they have live entertainment. Once inside, I was equally delighted. The place is much larger than it appears from the street and exhibits a warm, inviting interior space. The large windows in front along the sidewalk seem ideal for people watching, which I understand is the sport-of-choice along 4th Avenue.
I was seated by “MOM”. She took my drink order and said she’d be right back. I mean, I assumed “MOM” is her name because the word was tattooed large and in living color on her partially exposed chest.
Soon, Jeff joined me at my window table. It turns out that he knew the man and woman seated at the table nearest ours. This is not unusual. Jeff knows just about everyone who is anyone in Tucson. We all had a pleasant semi-business conversation for several minutes before returning to the business at hand: lunch.
“MOM” returned to take our order. Jeff ordered “Tucson’s Best Chef” salad ($10). I ordered the “Corned Beef Reuben on Rye” with a side of potato salad ($9).
Jeff & I have enjoyed lunch together every month or two for many years and always have a lot of catching up to do. We continued chatting amicably through lunch, talking mostly about work and family. Eventually I remembered that I was here to do a dining review and asked Jeff his opinion of his meal. “Excellent! Best chef salad in Tucson.” High praise indeed.
My Reuben was also excellent, as was the potato salad. To the extent I have a quibble, the scoop of potato salad was a bit miserly. If there had been two scoops I would have devoured both.
Delectables has an extensive menu, including vegan & gluten-free, and a full bar. In a refrigerated windowed display case they also exhibit a variety of desserts. Jeff & I decided to split a berry & pear tart, but could have had anything from a chocolate éclair to a crème brulee to a slice of cheesecake. The tart was very good. Perhaps next time I’ll try the cheesecake. Or maybe ….
Delectables has been here since 1973. I can’t believe Jeff has been coming here for years and never told me.
“MOM” turned out to be Gabrielle and a cheerful, efficient waitress. Good meals. Fine desserts. Excellent service. Pleasant atmosphere. And weird people to watch. What’s not to like about Delectables?
As we were leaving, Gabrielle handed us each a coupon for 15% off our next entree. My mother-in-law is visiting. Perhaps Ms. Karen and I will show her the real Tucson and stop in at Delectables for another fine meal.
Delectables belongs on our SouthernArizonaGuide.com 2013 List of The Best Restaurants in Tucson & Southern Arizona. Highly recommended.
I should mention that the Modern Streetcar construction on 4th Avenue has been completed and street parking was a breeze. Also, Delectables has a parking lot in back of the restaurant. You can access it via 6th Street.
533 N 4th Ave, Tucson
Update: the following week 4 of us went to Delectables and enjoyed another fine lunch, this time utilizing the 15% discount card we received on my first visit. There was no reason to change my original rating. Very good, indeed!
March, 2012 – The B Line is casual dining and a local favorite for good reason. For breakfast, their crepes, bagels, and pancakes are excellent.
For lunch and dinner, their menu is varied – from soups & sandwichs, to salads w/ or w/o chicken or fish; to carne asada burritos; to pan fried salmon – all very tasty.
The B Line is justly famous for its fresh baked cookies, cakes, and pies. Dessert here is exceptional. Probably the best in Tucson.
Service can be spotty – quick to serve, but late to remove dirty dishes. The place is small and, at rush hours, quite noisy. The seating is not particularly comfortable. But if you like the 4th Avenue scene, the B Line is great for good food and people-watching.
Plus a most interesting selection of beers.
I have sent a lot of folks to the B Line over the years and never heard a complaint from any of them. Most come back and thank me for recommending the B Line.
The B Line
621 N. 4th Avenue Tucson, AZ
For Dining reviews of the Best Dining in Southern Arizona visit us here.
I have yet to eat at Brooklyn Pizza on 4th Ave. However, until I can get there, I can tell you that the Yelp & TripAdvisor customer reviews are generally 3-4 Stars. And the Weekly’s readers say it’s the best of 2011.
AND for all you environmentally conscious people out there, Brooklyn Pizza Company has gone 100% solar.
Of the negative reviews I have read, the issue seems to be the wait staff rather than the food.
Brooklyn Pizza Company
534 N. 4th Ave. Tucson
Arguably the Best Pizza in Town. Decent selection of local brews. Just about any kind of topping you desire.
The Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews are inconsistent. However, some years, Tucson Weekly’s readers vote Magpies the Best of Tucson. Some years Magpies is runner up to Brooklyn Pizza down the street.
Magpies offers you a choice of crust and they don’t skimp on the cheese. They advertise fresh ingredients and the toppings on mine were in fact fresh. The pizza & salad lunch is a particularly good value. You can call ahead of arrival and order which sometimes is a good idea because Magpies can get very busy. 520-628-1661.
Our waiter was knowledgeable about their locally brewed beers and made a helpful recommendation.
There are 3 other Magpies in Tucson, but only the 4th Ave. store has outdoor patio dining. They also offer take-out and take-n-bake.
Visit the website
605 N. 4th Ave. Tucson