Loosey's burger lives up to acclaim
Here at Gainesville's Lunch Out Blog, I published an article about my best burgers in Gainesville, but I continue my search in hopes of continually updating this list. Relish Big & Tasty Burgers still has those great greasy, late night burgers with all the fixings, and Copper Monkey is just a really delicious, sizeable burger any time. I amended my list to add the amazing pork/beef burger at Blue Gill's Quaility Food, which has bacon and pimento cheese that gives it a Southern twist for a truly flavorful, tender burger. Looseys made my best burger list, but a recent trip to the Haile location has shed some new light in further favor of this burger joint. It was even on Scoutology.com's list of the Top 12 Burger Joints in Florida this year.
Loosey's has a location downtown and in the Haile area in Southwest Gainesville, which has been dubbed the "fancy Loosey's." Having done a school project on one of the owners, it is great to walk into Loosey's at Market Square in Haile Plantation off of SW 91st Street and see him behind the bar. Even if you do not know someone who works there, you are immediately absorbed in a laid back, albeit very nice atmosphere, the dining area to the right and the bar area with high tops and a bar made of pennies to the left. I always head for the bar area, as I enjoy the dimly-lit, relaxed ambiance. There is also another door in this area that leads to a great outdoor dining patio area.
I have been to the downtown location many times, grabbing a drink and listening to the occasional live music performance or off-key karaoke singer. This is where I discovered the amazingness that is Loosey's truffle fries with a side of garlic aioli, a dish I did not order on my latest trip to the Haile location but only because there is another fry dish worth noting. As soon as Thomas and I sat down at the high top table in Haile, ravenous as ever, and ordered our drinks, we did not hesitate to order the Carne Asada fries to start. This may sound like a bit much for fries but bear with me: These perfectly done fries, not too crisp or potato-y or greasy, create the perfect foundation for globs of queso fresco and cheddar cheeses, green onion, and the flavorful greenery of cilantro on a mountain of deliciousness topped with strips of rare, seared beef tenderloin. If that weren't enough, sides of jalapenos, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream add to the southwestern feel, but I always order the garlic or jalapeno aioli for dipping because they are AMAZING sauces.
Although the fries are clearly enough for four people to share, Thomas and I polished them off and were ready for the main event: burgers. These are not just any burgers; these are the juiciest, most tender burgers you will probably ever have at a pub. It didn't take long for my burger and Thomas' to arrive at the same time to the table, which was extremely appreciated so we could enjoy them hot and fresh together without having to wait for the other. I ordered mine pink in the middle and that is exactly what I got, another appreciated element. After smearing a little ketchup and mayo on the large, fluffy bun, I cut the burger in half and dove in. Every bite was as good as the last: The moist burger fell apart in my mouth as it was almost buttery; the tasty bun with slightly crisped edges provided the perfect neutral backdrop against the fresh lettuce, tomato, and sweet pickles; melted cheddar and bacon were cohesive savory touches to an already killer burger patty, although the patty was so tasty on its own no other toppings were truly necessary. Thomas noted that it was a welcome change that the burger wasn't too big. The care and quality truly shows, and despite being full to the brim I finished every last bite of that burger, as I could not allow myself to waste any of it.
I have yet to try anything at Loosey's, from the truffle fries to the tacos and wings, that is not tasty and high quality. During this aforementioned school project with restaurant owner, Tim Hutchens, I was able to check out the kitchen area and see the cooks at work, an employee flying through the swinging kitchen doors every now and then to grab something. It was a well- done operation and clean, which is comforting as a customer. If you haven't gone to either the downtown or the Haile location, I highly recommend it, as both serve up this amazing burger, although some of their menu items differ. There is also a great brew list, and the service is extremely friendly.
The Pluses and Minuses of Loosey's Bar & Table:
Loosey's Bar & Table + indicators : Amazing burgers, tasty and inventive dishes, unique combinations, fresh, quality ingredients, great service, timely food delivery, nice atmosphere, location downtown and uptown for different atmosphere and menu and location convenience
Loosey's Bar & Table - indicators: Too many burgers and fries might kill ya
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In search of hamburger supremacy
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
"Did you see that 'Gainesville Sun' food guy said he loved the Haile Loosey's Fish and Chips, and the burgers are really good." Rosey said. "Let's go see if he knows what he's talking about." Just like that we set a course due west from my humble NE residence to seek out red meat protein nirvana in the form of Loosey's Bar and Table Build Your Own Burger.
"You know, Rosey, right off the top of my head, I can count at least seven places to get REALLY good hamburgers that we are passing up just to get as far out of Gainesville as we possibly can to eat ground meat," I said trying to convince myself this hamburger really would be a special one.
Invading Loosey's B&G earlier than the average lunch outer, we quickly grabbed a high-top table. There was a plethora of sports happening on the many televisions around the restaurant. The circular bar looked inviting and like an interesting place for conversation. I mentioned to Roosenraad that the outside seating is handy in the evening because the dining area gets way loud when they have local, live entertainment.
Rosey quickly opted for the Fish and Chips and for $10 he received two large pieces of lager-battered cod with crispy double-fried fries, creamy southern-style slaw, lemon, and house made tartar.
I hate to play the old head injury card, but when I looked at the list of 29 choices I had to make to eat a hamburger, my brain said, "You're kidding right?" The Loosey's burger is a have-it-your-way prize they call the Build Your Own Burger. You know, GLOBers, once again my question is why should I have to?
Here were my choices:
Build Your Own Burger: All-Natural Black Angus Beef, $10; House-Made Veggie Burger, $8; Boneless Chicken Breast (?), $9.
Toppings & Condiments at Your Request: Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo, ketchup, and yellow mustard are free.
For $.50 you can add: Cheddar, Swiss, Pepper jack or Havarti cheese. For an additional $1 you may also add bacon, avocado, jalapeno, fried egg, caramelized onion, sautéed 'shrooms, Bleu cheese, mozzarella, or queso fresco.
For $.25 more you can top your burger off with: Garlic aioli, jalapeno aioli, beer mustard, Dijon honey mustard, or sweet/spicy AK (?).
There is a restaurant link to the Loosey's Bar and Table menu at the bottom of this page.
I started to think about one of my favorite hamburgers, which just happens to be recognized as one of Gainesville's best and which I order by saying, "Double cheeseburger all the way please."
Pinching myself back to reality I ordered Loosey's B and G Build Your Own Burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, American cheese substituting for Monterrey jack, and a scoop of garlic aioli for a little over $10. The hamburger was very good -- a very fat hamburger patty with a distinct char-cooked flavor. The garlic aioli was a nice touch, I did taste the garlic on my burger. I'm glad I tried this West Gainesville burger prize.
Rosey was OK with his fish and chips, surprised at the twice cooked French fries. "Fish was great but fries weak. I mean it is fish AND chips, isn't it? I think it is a great place for the area and there still aren't that many places West of Tower Road, but no reason for us to go there again," Roosenraad said.
Depending on where I was standing, and who was making the request, I would go back to Loosey's Bar and Table again. That interesting menu includes a tasty sounding Tenderloin Italiano, and then there is the Mahi Fra Diavolo that deserves my consideration because I brag about having the Diavolo in me.
- Phone Number: 352 331-6620
- Address: 2725 SW 91St., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: West Gainesville
- Web Site: Loosey's Bar & Table, open for lunch Fri., Sat., Sun.
- Latitude: 29.629556
- Longitude: -82.437049