So we've been giving Mike Sutter, former Statesman critic and current FedManWalking, a little bit of the what-for over his relentless dedication to eating and reviewing hamburger after hamburger after hamburger. First, it was 50 Burgers in 50 Days. Then it was Novemburger. Now it is Decemburger, and there is an end in sight: December 31. Sutter will have eaten well over one hundred hamburgers when all is said and done.
But all the reviews in the world don't answer our question: Whhhyyyyyyyyyy, food critic Mike Sutter with the interesting and diverse palate, are you eating all these damned hamburgers? So we asked him. And he told us:
What’s wrong with doing more than a hundred burger places? I have a sentimental weakness for burger cooks, because it’s something I did for nine years myself. But writing about polar opposites like Nau’s and Contigo and Casino el Camino and Hill’s Cafe is hardly an exercise in doing the same thing over and over.Sutter adds that the burger project has yet more advantages: it generates a "fresh lead for the website every day" and gives him lots of fodder for a hamburger app. Plus, these kinds of projects are a web traffic draw, and if Eater Austin is ever going to fist-bump anyone over anything, it is web traffic draws.
Burgers share elemental components like beef, bread and in-betweens, but what Top Notch does with those building blocks is as different from, say, Bam’s Roadhouse in Lago Vista as Kreuz’s in Lockhart is from John Mueller’s trailer on South First. Plus, you hit 100 places, you get 100 possible backstories. It’s 100 forays into working restaurants, 100 trips into neighborhoods to see what’s closed and what’s open.
So thanks, Mike Sutter. You're still kind of freaking us out, though, seriously, all that red meat can't be a good thing.
Sutter's latest review spot. [Photo: Beale Street Tavern/Facebook]