Restaurant Review: Alley Burger – Columbus Underground

You’d think there’d be some longevity for restaurants locating at 26 N. High St. The place has a cool hideaway feel with a narrow thoroughfare and tall, weathered brickwork. It’s like a place to linger, plus it’s located downtown. Sure, the shift to working from home has removed some commercial traffic, but residential is booming everywhere. Perhaps that’s a beacon of hope for a place like Alley Burger, a project that follows Belly Burger and Oliver’s at the same address.

Unlike Belly, which was more basic in its burger selection, Alley makes stacked burgers. He builds edible structural sandwiches with lots of stuff on them, the kind that leads to deliberate clutter when things are going well. In this tradition, a leading actor is the cowboy burger ($18). It is built on a firm brioche bread; equipped with a proud stack of burger, onion straws, black bean salsa, pepper jack and cheddar, with barbecue sauce and chipotle mayo. There’s also tomato and leaf lettuce in the mix. The end result is great, but it can be turned into something approaching manageability and enjoyed with relative success. The thick burger patty itself isn’t quite the star – it’s more of a team player with a mix loaded with other savory additions.

The Cowboy Burger

The Cowboy isn’t the only burger, it has friends. There’s a Greek version, with tzatziki and cucumber, and the Double house kinda involves clarified butter. A little exploration indicates that there are less loaded burger options. But in burger land, bigger always seems to be the best angle.

As tempting as the selection of burgers is, an even larger selection of smothered fries awaits. They come with a wide variety of topping options that range from a fairly restrained parmesan and truffle oil…to something more like a starter with meat and cheese. The Lynne Alley ($14) features a surprisingly good take on peppery jerk chicken, plus a balanced mix of pepper jack cheese, black beans, pickled red onions, and an extra drizzle of jerk sauce.

Lynn Alley Fries

Outside of the burger and fries scene, there are a ton of other options ranging from Caesar Salad and Buffalo Cauliflower Wings to Fried pickles ($12), the latter offering surprisingly cheerful brackish rounds under their crackling shells.

Fried pickles

Salmon Cheesesteak ($18) may not be for everyone. Philosophically, salmon and cheese are not an intuitive combination of texture. The combo components are fully disclosed in the menu, so it’s not much of a surprise. If the combo seems counterintuitive in concept, it feels pretty much the same in execution, even with good grilled vegetarian companions.

Salmon Cheesesteak

There are some timing issues, a side effect of being popular and being new. For urgent agendas, these questions can be deciding factors. But with good conversational company and some flexibility, the burger and fries scene is a lot of fun.

There’s also a full bar to go with the burgers, serving a variety of classic to creative cocktails, including alcoholic slushes.

Alley Burger serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. It offers a weekend brunch menu with creative versions of pizza waffles and chicken pancakes. It is located at 26. N. High Street on Lynn Alley.

For more information, visit eatalleyburger.com.

All photos by Susan Post

The Dirty Alley – A mix of all of Alley Bar’s slushie flavors, plus a sweet candy topping
Cocktails from left to right: Side Car, Pineapple Mexican Mule & Blackberry St. Germain Martini
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