True story: several years ago on New Year’s Eve Day, I called Lew as I was leaving work and said “I need you to talk me out of stopping for a Big Mac and fries on my way home.” He replied “Well, I would, but I’m at Five Guys across the street from you.” And so began our annual “If every day were December 31 we would weigh 400 lbs.” tradition.
Well, we’ve come a long way since then, adopting much healthier eating habits and exercising more. But there is still the occasional splurge to keep us sane and happy. And so, after a grueling Pilates class on this last day of 2017, I stopped at Buns, the new burger place in Rhinebeck. It didn’t hurt that it was 11 degrees outside and the thought of burgers and fries was quite warming.
Buns is impressive. Tucked away on Garden Street (and, ironically catty corner to the health food grocery store), it is, as Hemingway would say “A clean, well lighted place.” There is adequate room to eat there and a roomy area for take-out orders. Their menu includes both burgers (beef, lamb, and chicken) and a hot dog selection as well as several vegetarian options. There are fries, of course (in regular and bucket size), and beverages including Adirondack Creamery shakes, tea, water, soda, AND beer/wine.
Since I was picking up food not only for Lew and me but for a Dishing HV entry (I’m always willing to take one for the team) I over-ordered, selecting their Original Bun (grass fed beef), the Yardbird (chicken), and the Veggie Burger as well as fries AND the featured shake of the day, banana chip. Once home, we cut the sandwiches in half and split the fries. I’m not a shake lover, so Lew got to drink the whole thing. We plated the food ourselves to take photographs.
Let’s start with the burgers. The Original Bun (by the way the bun is fabulous – as it should be since the restaurant was named after it!) was cooked with a warm pink center, quite unusual for casual and inexpensive dining, and came topped with Buns sauce, cheddar, lettuce, pickle and tomato (you can opt out of any or all of the toppings). Lew pronounced the Yardbird quite good, exclaiming over the Buns sauce and celery slaw. And the veggie burger was, quite frankly, among the best I’ve ever had. Rather than being comprised of fake meat pressed to look like a burger (think Boca burger) , it was grilled vegetables including Portobello mushroom, sweet potato, avocado, bean spread, and cucumber. Veggie Stacker is a good name for it. I opted for all of the toppings, so that added Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion.
The hand cut fries were lightly salted without any other seasoning, and remained hot and crisp even on the drive home (yes, of course I stuck my hand in the bag and ate a few errant ones on the way). And the regular size was more than adequate to share.
Finally, Lew described the shake as filled with banana flavor and accented with crushed chocolate chips. In other words, yum.
Buns is a great spot if you’re in Rhinebeck and want an inexpensive, casual spot to enjoy a quick meal. The staff was attentive and friendly, the food was prepared quickly, and the menu features local vendors and farms. Think Shake Shack (Lew thinks it was better than Shake Shack) but local, not corporate.
Know Before You Go:
Good place for families and kids.
Garden Street is worth exploring-there’s a lovely pottery shop as well as other small businesses. Parking is adequate but several spots are marked for private residences and they will tow if you block them.
Buns has a second location at 338 Route 212 in Saugerties. They are open daily from 11-9.