I’ve said it before. I might actually be persuaded to go vegetarian if it weren’t for my love of cheeseburgers. I love a really good cheeseburger, especially when I know that it’s made with sustainable beef.  When I eat a burger as good as the one I had at Village Whiskey in Philadelphia recently, it only makes my love of cheeseburgers stronger.


Village Whiskey is one of several restaurants owned by Iron Chef Jose Garces in the city. Homegrown Philly had previously treated me to a lunch at his Garces Trading Company restaurant in the city, and I was impressed by the sustainable philosophy and practices Garces has in place. He even has his own 40-acre sustainable farm outside of Philadelphia where he grows much of the produce for his area restaurants and has a “foraging trail stocked with indigenous edibles, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even nuts and mushrooms.”


With this knowledge, and the raves I’d heard from many of my Philadelphia foodie friends, my friend Susan and I walked into Village Whiskey on a very chilly Saturday afternoon. We were told there would be a one-hour wait for a table. Fortunately, the restaurant is in the Rittenhouse Square district of the city where there is a lot of shopping to be done. We gave our name and cell phone number, and we headed out to do some shopping at the several consignment stores in the surrounding blocks. Not a bad way to wait for a table, huh?


The wait ended up being over an hour, but it was worth it. We skipped ordering from the whiskey menu with 80+ varieties on it in favor of a couple of glasses of red wine to complement our burgers. The food menu is small with upscale bar snacks including lots of pickled items, deviled eggs, homemade tater tots, several sandwiches, and a lobster macaroni & cheese.


Susan chose the Village Burger, an 8 oz. burger with tomato, Boston bibb lettuce and house-made thousand island. I simply wanted a burger with blue cheese, my favorite combination. We split an order of Duck Fat French Fries with Sly Fox Cheddar Sauce. They were the best fries I’ve ever had, and we resisted the urge to order more.


The burgers, made from sustainable farm-raised Angus from Maine, were perfectly cooked. They were full of flavor, thick, juicy, and a little bit messy. The buns were the right size for the burgers and held up well through every bite, and I ate every bite. I didn’t think I’d be able to when I saw the size of my burger (pictured at right), but it was so good, I couldn’t resist. 


Much later that evening, I opted for a light vegetarian meal as dinner, and my breakfast earlier that day had been coffee, fruit, and a small pastry. I usually eat meat only once a day, at dinner. If I do chose to eat it at lunch, I go meatless at dinner. I’m not going to pass up a great burger just because it’s earlier in the day, but I do think I need to plan the rest of my meals around that meat-heavy meal.


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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Restaurants: Village Whiskey in Philadelphia
Iron Chef Jose Garces’ whiskey bar in the Rittenhouse Square section of Philadelphia serves a sustainable burger and fries that are worth the wait.