With US burger brand Five Guys moving into Harrogate we felt it was the perfect time to review our town’s booming burger scene. We took a beef patty taste tour around Harrogate to find out what our local independent restaurants have to offer, rating them on taste, toppings and customer experience.
Burgers & More
Kings Road, Harrogate Kimberley Hotel)
Serves food Monday 3pm – 9:30pm and Tuesday – Sunday 12pm – 9:30pm.
Just below ground level at the Kimberley Hotel is Burgers & More, a fairly sizeable restaurant with an even larger selection of burgers. Whatever flavour takes your fancy, you’ll probably find it on the menu here – and that includes pulled pork, goat’s cheese, curry and mushrooms as well as the slightly more exotic banana, jam, maple syrup and pancakes. Creativity is certainly not in short supply when it comes to burger toppings, yet the chef is also happy to adapt dishes to suit customers’ tastes too. We were proudly told everything is cooked to order, so alterations are no problem, and every burger is served with salad and either fries or chunky chips as standard, with the option to upgrade to sweet potato fries.
The indie and Yorkshire vibe is strong at Burgers & More too – we spotted Whittaker’s gin on the drinks menu, along with Daleside beer, while food suppliers include Little Breads, fish from Ramus and Vanilli’s ice cream with the desserts. The menu points out that dishes are served on “strange round objects” called plates – you won’t find arty wood or slate platters here.
We tried the Matador (chorizo and sweet paprika in the burger, topped with melted cheddar and bacon) and the Oink Oink (pork and apple burger with barbecue pulled pork and onion ring) at £11.95 and £13.45 respectively. The first thing that became evident was the generous portion sizes: if you’re starving, this is the place to go. As well as the burgers themselves being huge, they were served on lightly toasted ciabatta, and with the toppings they became fairly mountainous. By the end we were wondering whether we should have opted for the salad-only option instead of the chips to make it a bit less heavy going.
Visiting mid-afternoon on a wet Saturday meant it was quiet, and we sat half way between an arcade game and a TV showing football on BT Sport (Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wrexham, in case you wondered). But overall, it was a fun experience, and the service was among the best we’ve had in Harrogate for quite a while.
Our verdict? A friendly independent burger restaurant where you can expect a warm welcome and generous portions.
Taste 3/5 – Plenty of meat although the portion size might be a bit overwhelming for some. Served in a ciabatta bun.
Customer Experience 4/5 – This place is fun and friendly.
Toppings 4/5 – There are 20 different burgers on the menu – and there’s more. Mix and match, make a tower of burgers or choose three mini burgers with chips and salad.
Overall 3.5/5 – A down to earth burger experience for those who like lots of meat and don’t want to go home feeling hungry.
Station Parade, Harrogate
Open 12-9.30pm Sun-Thurs and 12-10pm Fri and Sat.
Harrogatonians have grown up with Damn Yankee and have been coming here to celebrate birthdays and eat out with the family for decades. But with so many newcomers on the local restaurant scene, how does North Yorkshire’s original American diner experience compare?
Damn Yankee – or DYNY (Damn Yankee North Yorkshire) as it’s affectionately known amongst locals – is an all-American themed diner decorated wall-to-wall with US memorabilia. Retro photos and car registration plates from every state create a fun and lively atmosphere and the classic rock and pop playlist added to the diner experience.
The staff were smiley and eager to please and the service was fast. Almost as soon as our orders had been taken we were tucking into our nachos and garlic bread starters.
So what about the burgers? We chose the DY (£8.95) with pulled pork and bacon (£1 per extra topping) and the Smokey Joe (£10.75) which came with smokey bacon and smokey bbq sauce.
We were feeling pretty peckish so we took advantage of the offer to double up by adding an extra burger for £2.50.
We resisted the temptation to order milkshake too although they did look good. We ordered coke but there’s a good selection of beers and cocktails on the menu.
Our verdict? A family dining experience that the kids will love.
Taste 3/5 – Traditional burgers served in classic sesame buns with chips and slaw on the side.
Customer Experience 4/5 – Family friendly with speedy service.
Toppings 4/5 – Lots of choice on the menu and a whole list of toppings – from fried onions to fried egg – for creating your own bespoke burger.
Overall 3.5/5 – A classic themed diner experience for those who refuse to be wowed by next gen burger bars.
Deano’s Graze & Grill
Oxford Street, Harrogate
Open 5.30-9pm Mon-Thurs, 5.30-9.30 Fri and Sat and lunchtimes 12-2 Thurs-Sat. Closed Sundays.
Deano’s offers an unusual concept menu, half of which is dedicated to grazing plates and the other half to steaks and burgers from the grill.
With its contemporary red and black décor Deano’s has more of a restaurant feel than most of the burger places we visited and is a good place to come if not everyone in your group loves burgers quite as much as you.
This is a local business with a strong restaurant heritage. Their Yorkshire suppliers include R&J Butchers in Kirkby Malzeard, Ramus seafoods and Yorkshire Vintners.
There isn’t a huge choice, probably because burgers are only part of the story here. That hasn’t stopped Deano’s from embracing the burger bar philosophy of creatively naming its burgers. We could have had the Smoke Alarm (streaky bacon and smoked cheese) or the Nacho Nacho Man (with chilli, nachos and sour cream) but we went for the Our House house burger (£11.50) and the No Cow For Me Thank You veggie option (£10.50), which was a sweet potato falafel burger served with mango chutney.
The burgers were served in a toasted sesame bun with skin-on chips on the side or side salad. The flavours were good and the chips were some of the best we tasted on our entire burger tour. What really stood out at Deano’s was the service. This place felt like an independent, family run business and the servers were cheerful and helpful without being intrusive.
Our verdict? An interesting concept restaurant with a classic burger option.
Taste 3/5 – A traditional beef burger with excellent homemade chips and the option to go large with the meat for an extra £2.50.
Customer Experience 4/5 – This place has a friendly, family-run feel and the waitress took time to explain the menu concept when we arrived.
Toppings 2/5 – The toppings on our burgers weren’t generous and the menu choice is limited.
Overall 3/5 – A restaurant that does burgers rather than a burger joint that happens to offer alternatives.
So how do Harrogate’s independent burgers compare to the patties being served up by the chains? For comparison we took a taste test at Byron.
Albert Street, Harrogate
Open 11.30am-11pm Mon-Thurs, 11.30am-11.30pm Fri, 11am-11.30pm Sat and 11am-10.30pm Sun.
With its shiny new interior Byron promises much, but does it deliver? We visited early evening midweek and the place was bustling with groups and couples of all ages.
We tried the B & A (£11.50), a bacon and guacamole burger with peppers, cheese and red onion, and the bean patty (£7.50), a veggie burger with spinach, red pepper and aioli. Unlike the independents we tried, Byron doesn’t include chips. We ordered French Fries (£2.95) and Cheese Fries (£3.95).
The burgers were served in a soft brioche roll and were nicely flavoured with a good balance of toppings and meat. There are 8 burger options on the menu but you can also create your own by choosing from a list of toppings. Chicken and salads are available too.
One thing that really stood out when comparing Byron to the independents we’d visited was the difference in service and atmosphere. The service was noticeably slower at Byron than at any of the other restaurants we tried and it lacks the friendly family-run feel that was so evident at Damn Yankee and Deano’s.
Our verdict? A good burger but not the best burger bar experience.
Taste 3/5 – The burgers were tasty and the beef is served medium as standard with an option to go rare or well done.
Customer Experience 2/5 – Service was a little slow and lacked that personal touch.
Toppings 4/5 – Good choice of toppings and the beef/topping ratio was just right.
Overall 3/5 – There’s plenty of variety on the menu and it does have good milkshakes.
Late Entry No.1: Five Guys
17-23 Parliament Street, Harrogate.
We wrote this blog post in advance of the new opening from Five Guys so what did we think when we visited? Read on……
Five Guys is pretty much the last arrival to the Burger party in Harrogate and has opened in the last two weeks. It comes with a big reputation and is a fast growing company out of the US.
You enter the shop off Parliament Street and step into the noise, strains of Bon Jovi bouncing off the functional white and red tiled walls. The staff are all shouting at one another behind the counter, it must be exhausting after a long day. Service is at the counter and perfectly friendly.
I ordered the cheese burger ‘All the Way’ – which means with all the toppings. This is the first of the quirks of Five Guys, most of the extra toppings are included for free (bacon and cheese are extras). I opted for a small portion of fries and a strawberry shake.
You come back to the counter to collect your food so I stepped through into the seating area, which is larger than you think and located at the rear of the store. On the way to a seat I passed the large coca-cola ‘freestyle’ machines where you can select your drink from a myriad of flavours and the refills are free for a suger/sweetener fuelled afternoon.
My food was ready inside 10 mins and I was shouted at to come and get my burger. Even as I walked as fast as my old bones could carry me I was shouted again and then got a confirmation shout as I took the burger and fries and headed back to my seat. Halfway back I was shouted again, ‘shake for #55’ – you have to get the drink separately so around I turned to collect that from the cashier at the other end of the counter.
The burger itself was a handsome thing, double patties cooked so the centres were slightly pink. When it came to eating it though it was slightly too large, not the choice for eating in polite company unless you can dislocate your jaw. You could argue that if I hadn’t gone for all the toppings this would not have been the case so I concede that point. I angled my body away from the other human beings in the room to hide my shame and went at it. This burger was £7.95.
Fries are skin on and served in what feels like a slightly too small 8oz coffee cup. As is the fashion with a lot of modern burger places they are not shy on the salt – if I returned I’d ask for them unsalted because it just too much. I guess if you are having unlimited refills of soda it’s not an issue. The cost £2.95.
The shake was fine, probably slightly thinner than I’d like but there were some frozen half-blitzed pieces of strawberry floating around to confirm this is no shake made with flavouring or puree alone. This was £4.95.
The total bill was £15.75.
Our verdict? The burger was solid and if multiple thin patties is what you enjoy might be the best of that style available in Harrogate right now. The brand is quite cool and it will no doubt be popular with a certain age group (not mine funnily enough).
Taste 3/5 – The burger was great, the fries were too salty and the shake was ok but still felt a little expensive.
Customer Experience 2/5 – Service is quick if a little shouty, the space is functional, the music is unnecessarily loud.
Toppings 2/5 – Basic toppings are included free but with the exception of cheese/bacon (which are a surcharge) there is nothing beyond that.
Overall 3/5 – Grab a burger on it’s own and don’t hang around for much else.
So, to sum up…
If you’re looking for somewhere to take the kids … head to Damn Yankee;
Want more than just burgers? … Deano’s is the place for you;
If you want a good burger and surroundings don’t matter … go to Five Guys;
With a group of lads or hungry teenagers … try Burgers & More;
If service and independence aren’t a priority … there’s always Byron.
Now we’ve checked out the most obvious options but we are sure we will have left some places out, and more will open. Don’t worry! We’re never short of volunteers here in the Baltzersen’s team for people to check out burger options and make additions to keep this guide up to date.