Have you heard the breaking moos? There’s a new burger joint in Uptown Charlotte! Cowbell Burger & Bar will kick off its opening this Friday March 29th. Located in the spot formula occupied by Nix Burgers, near the intersection of Tryon and 5th St, Cowbell will offer “artisanal burgers with a side of rock & roll.” The restaurant joins a growing restaurant family that includes Leroy Fox (a mix of southern food and a contemporary vibe) and Mortimer’s Pub, which is located in the Epicentre and serves great sandwiches (I’m obsessed with their veg-out grinder).
Last weekend, I stopped into Cowbell for their Gulp & Graze pre-opening event. The restaurant space has been revamped, and feels much larger than Nix. The bar was pushed back, further from the door, leaving ample room for mingling and table seating, and the vibe is hipper too, with tufted leather chairs and low red lighting.
I tried a jello-shot-sized sample of the Cowbell Chili & Smoked Cornbread, and I was blown away by the smoky, round flavor. That little bite was actually my favorite of the tasting. I can see myself grabbing this chili to-go for a quick lunch or dinner.
Favorite appetizers include deviled eggs, sweet potato croquettes, which are basically sweet potato donuts balls (or little balls of heaven, as Cowbell calls them), and Dali’s fries with garlic aioli, buffalo, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. The fries had great flavor, but if your prefer your fries crispy, make sure to ask for a little extra quality time in the fryer.
As for the burgers, I sampled the Big Will’s Breakfast Beef Patty, complete with croissant bun, fried egg, praline smoked bacon, and honey mustard, which was exceptionally flavorful. Let your server know if you like your egg runny (mine was cooked solid). Another good choice is the Dumpling Asian Burger, with hoisin glaze, slaw, and Sriracha mayo. Don’t forget to ask for extra mayo!
Vegetarians fret not: there are several cow-free options at Cowbell. The Shankar Curry is a pinto and farro based patty served with lemon aioli and roasted tomatoes, and they have a fantastic black bean burger. There are also a handful of salads, including the Corleone (tomato, mozzarella, and pesto) and the “GFY” (arugula, slivered almonds, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette).
Side dish offerings include fries, mac & cheese, pan-fried corn, onion rings, slaw, and an outstanding cucumber salad that was heavy on the onions and the heat. I’d pass on the corn and mac and cheese, both of which I found overcooked and unsatisfying.
There’s plenty on the menu I’ll be stopping back into Cowbell to try, namely their spiked milkshakes, Big Bell (two all-beef patties with special sauce), sweet potato corndog, and the bacon wrapped hotdog served on a pretzel bun(!).
Cowbell Burger & Bar is slated to be open daily from 11am to 2am.