On a leisurely road trip east from Memphis, Nashville is ideally situated as a first stop: a place to stretch your legs, maybe do a little shopping, and get a good lunch. We have followed this roadmap several times now and have yet to be disappointed. On our last trip that good lunch came from The Pour House.
Located near the convergence of I-65 and I-40, near downtown, The Pour House was a practical stop on our way to Louisville. This urban roadhouse promised a menu of Burgers, Bourbon and Brews. As a fan of alliteration, as well as the three items listed, I was hopeful it would provide a satisfying midday meal.
The necessary valet parking gave our arrival an unexpected touch of class. Inside we found a spacious dining room bathed in light. To one side of the large dining area was a stage that promised live entertainment in the evenings. To the other was a long bar. Instead of windows, numerous glass-paned garage doors invited in the light and separated interior from exterior space. When we arrived several were rolled open allowing easy access to outdoor dining.
The Pour House offered a nice selection of beer and an amazing selection of bourbons. Why the focus on bourbon? It seems that one of the owners hails from the great state of Kentucky, our afternoon’s destination, where 95% of all bourbon is produced. All the same, since we were on the road with more miles to travel before the day was through, I ordered Iced Tea instead and was delighted to sip it just inside the large open garage doors on a pleasant afternoon.
Without studying the menu too hard I ordered the Bleu Cheese Burger. I like blue cheese but am sometimes wary of ordering it on a burger because the combination can be overly salty. Perhaps I was persuaded by the promise of bourbon cooked onions on top. Or maybe it was the sliced avocado. In any case, it was an excellent choice. I ordered it without horseradish or other dressing, as I always do, and with a side of grilled asparagus.
The menu offered a nice variety of Fixin’s (sides). Besides the grilled asparagus the menu included beer battered mushrooms, grilled vegetable skewers and sweet potato fries. I was pleased with the asparagus, casually stacked beside my burger, and thought it was a great alternative to the expected fries.
My burger, piled high with the onions, bleu cheese, arugula, tomato and avocado slices, was inspired. The meat was well cooked, not too tightly packed, and flavorful. The blue cheese was tasty but not too salty or overpowering. The avocado was nicely ripe, providing the perfect foil to the tang of the blue cheese and the bourbon onions added just a hint of warmly complex flavor. All together it composed a very excellent burger.
I was the last one to finish, as usual. As I sipped the last of my tea the waitress brought our receipt and offered to refill our iced teas to go. We accepted and got back on the road.
I think we will stop at The Pour House again. I’ll probably even order the same thing. I liked the atmosphere, the service was adequate and the food was good. In fact, I’ve been thinking about that burger regularly since we left. It’s the simple things really. I am now loving the idea of adding avocado slices to a homemade blue cheese burger in my own backyard. I’m even thinking I’ll saute a few slices of onion in a little bourbon to go on top. I never really thought of that exact combination before but at the moment that Bleu Cheese Burger is haunting me and promising to be one of my favorite tastes of the summer.