When Tammy and I go out for dinner on the weekends, we usually try to find a place from my Food Bucket List to visit. It’s rare that we find a “diamond in the rough,” but that’s what happened last night when we hit Sidestreet Burgers in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
I first heard of Sidestreet Burgers back in January of 2013 when I was interviewing for a job in Memphis. Sidestreet Burgers, which is located just across the Tennessee state line, in Olive Branch, had been named as having one of the Top 10 burgers in the state.
Tammy and I drove by Sidestreet one day back in February when we were looking for apartments in the Memphis area, but it was closed and fell off my radar, especially once I got my Food Bucket List.
So when Tammy brought it up last night we decided it was time to forgo the list and considering this place had a Top 10 burger we really were not taking a risk.
We pulled up to Sidestreet, which is cash only, around 5:30ish on Saturday night and we were hit with the awesome smell of garlic as we opened the door. I was already hungry and the smell only intensified the rumblings in my stomach.
Chef Jonathan Mah greeted us as we approached the small counter and asked if it was our first time there. He explained his specials, how things worked and asked if we were ready to order.
Since we had studied the menu online I knew what I wanted, the 1/2 lb. Sidestreet Burger with the Street Cheese Blend and Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon.
I thought it was odd the Chef Mah didn’t ask me how I wanted my burger cooked, but shrugged it off because he obviously knew what he was doing (did I mention he had a Top 10 burger in Mississippi?).
Tammy went with the Spinach Burger special, which was fresh spinach mixed with ground turkey, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses then topped with feta cheese. It was served with a sun-dried tomato yogurt sauce that Tammy got on the side. Chef Mah s
aid the Spinach Burgers was his take on spanakopita which is his closest vegetarian option.
We also ordered a side of Garlic Potato Wedges and Asiago Mac and Cheese (not pictured).
One thing I like about Sidestreet is they allow the customers to dress their own burgers at a fixings bar, that had the usual burger toppings along with coleslaw, jalapenos and Chef Mah’s special Greek sauce.
I added lettuce, tomato and red onions to my burger and we headed off to a table.
I snapped a few pictures, fixed up my burger and anxiously took a bite. The toasted bun crunched under my teeth, which was followed by the onion and lettuce. I could feel the creamy texture of the melted cheese oozing out of the side as I snapped into the thick, crispy bacon.
The flavor of the burger, which was well-done, was incredible. While I can’t be sure what “Chef Mah’s special (and secret) seasoning” was, I know it included some type of garlic, but it wasn’t overpowering.
The first bite was so good it almost tasted like it had come off a grill, something I knew wasn’t the case since Chef Mah bakes his burgers in a convection oven. This unconventional method is what’s keeping him from participating in the upcoming, and 2nd Annual Best Memphis Burger Fest.
Chef Mah: To enter the contest you must have a grill or propane and I don’t use those methods, so I don’t want to put my name on something that is different than what I make.
The burger wasn’t as juicy as a normal burger, but it also wasn’t overly dry and I think the flavors made up for the lack of “juice.”
Chef Mah is a one-man machine – “the head dishwasher, cashier, waiter and chef” – inside Sidestreet and I can only imagine that the place is jumping during the lunch rush. I wish it was where I could get there during my lunch break so I could introduce my coworkers to Chef Mah’s creations.
Before we left Chef Mah mentioned that we should try his latest concoction, the Fat Panda, Korean-style marinated sirloin, sriracha mayo, fresh cilantro, French bread.
While it would be hard for me to NOT order another burger, I think I’d try it because the burger was SO good that I feel like this would be too.
Chef Mah is definitely proving that sometimes it pays to get off Main Street and start checking out the Sidestreet(s).
SideStreet Burgers (cash only)
9199 Highway 178
Olive Branch, MS 38654
Tues-Sat.: 11-8 p.m.
Sunday: 11-6 p.m.
Next time you have to try the Fat Panda. There is nothing else like it. Get it every time I go in there.!!!!
Sounds awesome. What did Tammy think of hers? I want it!!
She liked it a lot. I had a bite and thought it was good, but not as good as the burger. 😉
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