The Corner Burger Shop – Midway Park

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature a review from Mike Christensen. Follow Mike on Twitter @SCSA31274.

Corner Burger ShopOk, ok.  Yes, it’s another burger joint in the already saturated Alpharetta/South Forsyth burger scene.  And yes, it’s a little far out there for normal Alpharettians to journey.  But take it from me, this little locally owned place is worth a chance.  Good food, friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere have lead me back there many times.

The Corner Burger Shop occupies the former Construct-a-Burger location at Midway Park.

Owners Larry and Cindy Pendleton have a long history in the restaurant biz.  Larry has nearly 40 years working for others including Big Daddy himself at Dreamland BBQ. Larry spent the last 20 years or so as a general manager of the Roswell location and director of operations.  His wife Cindy also worked at Dreamland as catering manager.  Larry had always wanted to open his own restaurant, and now he has.

Larry developed the menu himself that includes burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, wings and salads.  The burgers are made from a blend of ground steak and brisket which lends to a unique texture and flavor. It’s also the same type of mixture used by an legendary Atlanta burger spot The Vortex. Unfortunately it could have used a little more seasoning for me.

The burgers come in several varieties from the basic single, double, triple and (eek) quadruple patty monster called the Home Run.  There are also a few specialty burgers like the popular BBQ burger.  My favorite is the Special burger which comes smothered in cheese sauce and homemade burger sauce.  It’s very flavorful and worthy of at least four napkins.  The burger sauce tastes like bean-less meat chili similar to what you’d find on chili dogs.  It’s an old family recipe with a super secret ingredient.  Don’t ask me, but man, it’s good.

The hot dogs are Hebrew National.  The only items that are not made in house are the fries and chicken tenders, both frozen.  I personally enjoyed the fries.  Sure, they aren’t fresh cut, but they are seasoned perfectly and are consistently crispy.  My son gets the chicken tenders every time and I never hear any complaints from him.  They are pretty good; yes I ate some of his.  I’m just being a thorough reviewer!

There’s also a hidden gem on the menu – the sausage.  It’s covered in the meat and cheese sauce, but unlike a normal chili dog, the snap and the juice of the sausage is heavenly.  Another popular item are the onion rings.  These sweet Vidalia onions with the right amount of breading and a hint of cayenne were a huge hit with my wife.

The prices have increased recently on most items.  The burgers and such aren’t too pricey, but to add a drink and fries to make a combo is a slightly steep $3.50 up-charge.

The Corner Burger Shop on Urbanspoon

The decor will strike a familiar tone if you remember Construct-a-Burger.  The location is positioned to take full advantage of the hordes of kids playing sports at the park.  Future plans for the Corner Burger Shop include a catering service with home made food and possible expansion to new locations.  The Corner Burger Shop puts an emphasis on family and community, sponsoring the West Forsyth varsity football team.  They currently only have a Facebook page.  A website is in development.  Look for it to be live in a few weeks.

Is the Corner Burger Shop the best burger out there?  No.  Is it a solid burger place that’s worth a look?  I’ll see you there.

16 Responses to “The Corner Burger Shop – Midway Park”

  1. Mala September 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Nice to hear a good review. We’ll definitely check it out.

  2. A September 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Actually it didn’t sounds like that great of a review to me. Frozen fries? I can make those at home, so no thank you. Too many burger places if you ask me (kind of like fro yo) and I’m sure the market will shake out at some point.

  3. J September 29, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    There aren’t many places that don’t use frozen fries these days. If they taste good I don’t think it matters.

  4. Travis Allen September 30, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    I’m all about taste, so it doesn’t matter to me if they were frozen or fresh.

    Yes the market is saturated, however this place has an area all to itself up on Post Road.

  5. A September 30, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Probably true about the frozen fries, but I just wish a mom and pop place could do better. We try to frequent non-chain places, but if the food isn’t great, we don’t go back.

  6. Cool Papa Bell September 30, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Interesting responses. First off all, without question, the No. 1 key to food fries are fresh cut. So saying you don’t care of it’s frozen, just how it tastes is like saying, “I don’t care if she’s 400 pounds, I just want to know how she looks in a bikini.”

    There are tons of places that have fresh cut fries, burger places and otherwise. The ONLY good burger place I know of that has frozen fries is Crabapple Tavern.

  7. Cool Papa Bell September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Meant to say “good fries.” The second key is to double fry, which with frozen ones, probably does not make a difference anyway.

  8. Travis Allen September 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    CPB, gonna have to disagree with you. Taste/flavor has to be a factor. Five Guys Fries are fresh cut, but its easy to find someone that doesn’t like them because they are so greasy. I like my fries crispy, even sweet potato fries, so I had a problem with Hop Alley in Alpharetta because their fries were anything but crispy.

    Just a difference of opinion…like I wouldn’t ever return to Crabapple Tavern, at least for a burger. Out of the 50 something I’ve had this year, I rate them the lowest, along with Oak Street Cafe in Roswell. And I rated them so because of their lack of taste/flavor in their ground beef and toppings (cheese and bacon)

  9. Cool Papa Bell September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Fresh cut does not guarantee the best, but I have never had frozen that were among the best. I will say Marlow’s has very good shoe string fries. Because they are a mini-chain, I will guess it’s possible they have frozen ones. *If* so, they would be a glaring exception.

    Woooooow. If Oak Street Cafe and Crabapple are among the worst you’ve had, I must, I mean absolutely must know which you consider the best.

    I will say anecdotal observation, I think Oak Street has taken a big hit from nearby white-hot Canton and had cut back on portion and value. But I have not noticed quality.

  10. Travis Allen September 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    I just found Oak Street and Crabapple Tavern’s burgers extremely bland…like they had just taken some ground beef, formed a patty, and slapped it on the grill.

    It was as if there was no seasoning whatsoever. The cheese and bacon at both seemed almost tasteless too…both places have other options which I enjoy, so I won’t miss out on return visits.

    My favorites at this point include Grindhouse Killer Burgers on Piedmont, Ted’s Montana Grill, The Counter, and Lucky’s Burgers and Brews. Yeah Burger on Howell Mill was pretty good also. I tried Farmburger in Dunwoody and BGT at Atlantic Station as well and much like the above local options, there just wasn’t anything going on with the flavor.

  11. S Lee Guy September 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    To me a french fry needs to be cooked golden brown on the outside with some texture, yet soft and warm in the middle. Would rather they be fresh cut. That being said, I don’t know many who make a perfect fry each and every time.

    Travis, you need to try the burger at Bite. It’s relatively new to their menu and very good.

  12. Cool Papa Bell September 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    See there is where we disagree. A quality piece of beef needs no seasoning and cooked medium rare. Seasoning and above medium rare are for lower quality meat only.

    Both Oak and Crabapple charbroil, which is the best way to cook ‘em. I know Oak uses Buckhead beef. Tough to get more flavorful than medium rare BB.

    Of your list, I’ve been to Ted’s Montana Grill, The Counter, and Lucky’s Burgers and Brews. Underwhelmed by all, most definitely Ted’s.

    Oh will say Rhea’s another place with a very good burger, but fries I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

  13. S Lee Guy September 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I might agree with that if I were eating a steak. But for burgers I don’t think you need prime beef. Pretty sure Rhea’s isn’t sourcing their meat from top-notch suppliers, yet they make many good burger lists.

    Also gives me the heebeegeebees eating ground beef cooked medium rare. That’s a lot of surface area that’s potentially not getting up to temperature. I understand that some like this and that’s cool, just not for me.

    I like burgers with a decent amount of fat in the meat, that are cooked with a sear and still retain moisture. Also like custom grinds of meat that might include steak, rib, brisket, etc.

  14. Travis Allen September 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    No worries, just a difference in how we like our burgers to taste and at what temp, as I like mine at least minimally seasoned and cooked medium.

    I will always agree with you on the fries at Rheas.

    I lean towards Lee’s thought with steak, I just don’t get any flavor with ground beef that is unseasoned.

    The other issue I had with Oak Street was the bun, I expected better given the quality, but all the juices from the burger just made it a soggy mess.

    With Crabapple Tavern, both times I’ve had a burger I didn’t feel like it was fresh, but more in line with what I would have gotten at Friday’s or Ruby Tuesdays. There was no char on either to speak of. It never would have occured to me that it wasn’t a frozen patty.

  15. Cool Papa Bell September 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    One clarification is that the places I trust to make it medium rare are very, very few. In this area three: Oak Street (which not only uses Buckhead beef, but also Atlanta Bread Garden bread, two of the best suppliers around), Kozmos, and Bite.

    I will try Lucky’s again. I know my opinion is in the minority there and I do want to go back. But “bland” was the first word that come to mind, the nice throwback theme aside.

    We will definitely disagree because my Big 3 all also use probably the top three roll suppliers. Oak (ABG as mentioned), Kozmos (Alon’s), and Bite (H&F). But in all three cases, it starts with the quality of beef. All three I order medium rare.

    My next tier, I would not.

  16. J October 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    We went to dinner here tonight and thought the burgers were great and the fries were decent as well.

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