Vertigo Burgers and Fries

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We were really, really excited at first when we heard that the good folks behind Cypress Restaurant were opening up a burger joint just down the street from us.  Well, once Vertigo Burgers and Fries was up and running, our initial enthusiasm faded into fussy ambivalence.  We went there fairly frequently, both because it was nearby and because when everything was going right you could get a fantastic burger there.  But far too often, the service was spotty, the place was infuriatingly overcrowded, or the kitchen would botch simple things like cooking patties to a consistent level of doneness.  But they have been slowly but steadily amping up their game and improving their consistency, and while the result these days may not be perfect, their better offerings are some of the best burgers in town.

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Vertigo shows off its spartan-but-colorful interior on an unusually slow weeknight. I am trying SO HARD not to say anything snide about their weird color scheme. Damn, I guess I just failed.

First, let me get it out the way that I am persistently disappointed that Vertigo won’t prepare burgers medium rare.  But even with that handicap, they are still making some awesome stuff.  (Times have changed at Vertigo—see my update at the bottom of the post!)  The picture up top was of a burger special they had the last time we visited, featuring a duck patty on brioche, topped with cherry jam, arugula, and blue cheese.  This was a killer sandwich, with a great balance between sweet fruit, tangy cheese, bitter greens, and savory meat.  It went particularly well with my favorite Vertigo side, the sweet potato fries with herbed mayo dipping sauce:

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These are probably the best sweet potato fries in Tallahassee. If you know of better, you must tell me immediately, because SWEET POTATO FRIES!

I also love their “Round Here” burger, which is an awesome celebration of local ingredients, including grass-fed beef, Sweetgrass Dairy’s green hill cheese, vidalia onions, and locally farmed arugula, topped with “vertigo sauce.”

None of this is to say that we don’t still have beefs with Vertigo (did you see what I did there?).  Some of their dishes are just straight-up bad, like the bland, over-salted chilli that Sarah got the last time we went.  It is also odd that a burger place would close so early: 9PM is their typical closing time (it is even earlier on Sundays), and as a result I am often unable to get one of their burgers when I am having the sort of late-night craving that most calls for one.  And let me just reiterate that it is infuriating that a place focusing on high-quality, locally sourced beef won’t serve it even medium rare!  So Vertigo has plenty of room for improvement.  But still, when you combine their creative burger menu, some of their better sides, and the beer selection, the combination can be tempting despite those faults.

UPDATE (July 2013): One of our readers wrote in to mention that Vertigo had changed their policy.  If you ask, they will cook burgers to temperatures below medium (which was not the case when I started going there early on).  This removes one of my biggest complaints about the establishment.  Last time I went, I got a medium-rare burger that was nicely charred on the outside but still pink and juicy in its interior.  So that is one blow for freedom and delicious ground beef!

Vertigo Burgers & Fries on Urbanspoon

9 thoughts on “Vertigo Burgers and Fries

  1. The fact they won’t cook their burgers below medium is the game killer for me. It never arrives medium and is always medium well or worse. I’m not paying that kind of money for an overcooked piece of meat.

    • You are both wrong they ask,” is cooked medium ok?” But you can suggest as low as med rare… a typical burger if not specified is cooked medium. I ask for Med Rare burgers all the time… if you ask for anything besides medium on their burgers on the menu it pops ups on your receipt.

      • Interesting. I tried asking for this a few times shortly after they opened and was told that, due to restaurant policy, they would not prepare burgers less than medium. Maybe the policy has changed since then? I will have to try again on my next visit.

        Edited to add: It worked! I’ve updated the post above to make things clearer. Thanks for the information!

      • Yea definitely they’ve changed a lot since they’ve opened… For the better I believe. I guess they finally got the memo. Goodluck!

  2. Eat This Tallahassee: April 13th – April 26th | Tallahassee Food Bloggers Association

  3. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.

    The design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon.
    Many thanks

    • Thanks for the heads up. We’ll check it out to correct asap!

      Update: Well, I downloaded Opera to my macbook and checked out our site on it. I couldn’t replicate the problem you are describing, whether I made the window large or small. I’ll have to take a look at this next time I’m on a PC to see if that is where the problems start to creep in. In the meantime, sorry for the cross-platform weirdness!

  4. I hope they are improving as remarked. The service seems inexperienced and the restaurant is starting to look neglected. It’s too loud inside, we always eat outside, but one by one they have been tossing repairable umbrellas, so it’s not an option for us when the sun is out. Then we discovered Well’s brothers … I think they have stolen my affection.

    • I completely agree with you on some of the Vertigo downsides (Mark and I are generally sharply divided on this restaurant). I have had some awesome fun experiences at Wells Brothers. Their food is pretty heavy, but delicious. We’ll have to review it soon!

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