Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Recently Misti Graziani published a Facebook list of the 15 Best Places to Eat in Greensboro.  The list is from Spoon University.  I've decided we are going to start dining OUTSIDE REIDSVILLE based on Misti's recommendations.  Misti owns a pizza restaurant, so I figure I am going to pay attention to what Misti says.  At least until she recommends something totally unappealing.

This review is from the 15 Best list and I've noticed Misti has dined there.  That's a double whammy.

What we are talking is Hop's Burger Bar on Spring Garden Street in Greensboro.  I am told it is located in what used to be Bert's Seafood Grille.  Anyway, it's located right across the street from the Adam and Eve sex shop.  I'm sure all my readers know where Adam and Eve is located.

I've just learned Hop's has recently opened a second location on Lawndale Avenue.  Lawndale is much closer to us and the next time we'll try that location.

There's no doubt Hop's needs a second location.  There was a 45 minute wait to get a table at Spring Garden.  The place is small and it was packed.  We left around 8:30 PM and there were still people stacked up to be seated.

Carolina was playing Duke and that didn't help the seating situation.  Every TV in the restaurant was tuned to the basketball game.  The sound on all the TVs was turned down (thank you, Jesus).  There was some unrecognizable music playing in the distant back ground, but most of the noise was at a conversational level.  Noise really matters to me.  I do not really care for noisy places.

Hops had an interesting mix of customers.  I would say most were in their twenties and thirties.  I did see some gray hairs and lots of what appeared to be teeny-boppers.  At least I guess they were teens.  It's getting harder to tell.

Everyone was very pleasant.  Most people wanted to know our dining history and assured us Hops was "awesome", since we admitted we were virgins to Hops.

If you sit on the stools lining the little wall outside the washrooms while you wait to be seated, you meet a lot of people.  First everyone wants to know if you are waiting in line to use the toilet.  When they find out you're not toilet watching, the conversation begins while they toilet watch.

One guy even asked Debbie if she would mind the door while he slipped into the ladies potty.  He guaranteed Debbie he would not pee on the seat and would put it down when he was finished.  He could have gone commando because the restroom doors locked securely.   I guess I should mention Hops restrooms are one-seaters.

There were a very few what I would call reasonable tables and chairs (all full of course).  Most everything was a tall bar stool at small bar-height tables.  They were not comfortable for short people.  You had to climb into your seat.

Now you are about to read something that I thought I would never write.  You are also about to see something that I thought I would never see.  It truly is a miraculous happening.

Here is what we ordered:

Above is the first miracle.  What you are looking is a plate of fried cauliflower. Let me repeat that...it's a plate of fried cauliflower.  I have not touched cauliflower since I was a wee little child.  Cauliflower has always been on my list of forbidden foods.  My mother was the absolute worst cook...ever!  She would serve me cauliflower and I would gag at the thought of eating it.  But, dear ol' Mom would make me eat it anyway.

Debbie ordered the fried cauliflower as an appetizer.  I had told myself I would try tasting a tiny bit of it.  I tried it and I must say it was very, very good.  It may have been the best thing we ordered.  It tasted nothing like the cauliflower from the olden days of my youth.  I could not even taste cauliflower.

The fried cauliflower reminded me of the zucchini squash Debbie has been serving me.  I hate squash like I hate cauliflower, and for the same reason.  But, Debbie has somehow figured out how to cleverly disguise zucchini.  I now eat zucchini about twice a week, and I would eat fried cauliflower if someone served it to me.

On the right are two small silver cups. The one in the foreground contains a spicy mustard sauce and behind it is a sweet and sour sauce, like what might be served with calamari.  The sweet and sour was delicious.  The mustard not so much.  It was too spicy.

What you see above is the second miracle.  Debbie has ordered a Ruby Lager.  Debbie absolutely never drinks beer.  But, as you can see, she is drinking it.  I had to help her finish it, but she never made a face and never complained.  She did say she would have preferred the beer be "hoppier".  Sweet Jesus, where has this girl been getting this "hoppier" stuff from?  Debbie drinking a beer is like me eating cauliflower.

Hops offers a fairly unique but small selection of beers.  I would call it a "college crowd" beer list.  But, they also serve Pabst Blue Ribbon for the hipsters and Bud Light for people who don't know any better.

Here are the two main courses:  

In front is a College Hill Blues burger.  It's a 6-oz. burger with Bleu cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, spinach, and a horseradish Dijon sauce.  To the left of the burger is truffle oil and Parmesan cheese fries.  A mustard sauce sits in the middle in the silver cup.  The burger was good.  The fries were good, but a bit light on the truffle oil.  I didn't like the mustard sauce.

Behind my College Hill Blues burger is Debbie's 6-oz. North Carolinian burger.  It has bacon, fried green tomato, fried egg, pimento cheese, and lettuce.  Debbie's burger was the best.  Bacon and egg makes everything better.  I tried a bite of her North Carolinian, but it didn't taste of egg and pimento cheese.  Debbie said she already ate the egg before I had my turn at it.  I don't really care for pimento cheese on anything except a pimento cheese sandwich or cracker, so not tasting pimento cheese was a good thing for me.

With her burger is a basket of sweet potato fries.  I don't like sweet potatoes, but I tried a couple of them.  Once again there was only the slightest hint of sweet potato flavor.  Debbie didn't eat them because they had been dusted with sugar.  Left alone or sprinkled with salt and pepper, she would have liked them.  I could have eaten them, but my truffle oil and Parmesan fries had me bustin'

Hops has a selection of ten different burgers or they can be made custom, or ordered in an 8-oz. size for about $1.00 more each.  Other sandwiches and salads are available.

Here is a look at Debbie's medium cooked North Carolinian burger.  As you can see, it looks pretty pink inside.  It was the same as my medium-rare College Hill Blues burger.  Notice the bacon dripping off the right side and that looks like fried egg in front of her thumb.  Debbie didn't mind the meat being pink.  She said that's the way she wanted it anyway, but someone expecting a medium burger might be disappointed.

Hops Burger Bar is recommended.  You might try going at an off-hour, but we were told (while on toilet duty) it is always crowded.  You should probably just plan on waiting for a table.  Definitely don't go when there's a big game on the TV.

The bill for the evening was about $37.00, including an 18 percent tip.

* Click the images for a larger view

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