Update: Bev’s Burgers moved to a new location at the Roosevelt Park Bowling Club, off Milner Avenue, in September 2023. To get there just enter “Roosevelt Park Bowling Club” into your GPS.
In a city/country that seems to be full of bad news, here’s a nice story: A man named Bev with no formal culinary training cooks hamburgers in his house during covid, starts selling said burgers to his friends, sells out repeatedly, opens a kitchen at a local bar, creates a successful burger joint, and then gets voted second-best burger in Joburg by a popular local radio station.
I can’t remember who it was or when, but someone recently dropped a comment on my 2Summers Facebook page asking if I’d tried Bev’s Burgers. I had not. But one glance at Bev’s Facebook page convinced me I needed to.
Bev’s Burgers: The Basics
Bev’s is located at the Irish Club in Linden, which I had never heard of despite hanging around Linden all the time. The club has a members-only bar, with a grungy-dive-bar vibe, and a nice outdoor seating area for everyone. (I think there is some public indoor seating too, but the outdoor seating is nicer.)
The Irish Club is located in what appears to be a former city park, next to a playground and some dilapidated tennis courts. It’s not a place where you’d expect to find one of the top gourmet burgers in Joburg, but don’t be fooled: The Irish Club is deceptively charming and the perfect location for an unpretentious burger establishment like Bev’s. The Irish Club is also a music venue and hosts some great local bands.
The Bev’s concept is pretty straightforward. First, choose a patty: beef, chicken, or vegetarian, as either a single or double. (Single burgers start at R70.) Next, choose your toppings: cheddar cheese, Danish feta, caramelized onions, jalapeños, etc. Lastly, choose your sides: home-made chips (fries), onion rings, Asian slaw, etc.
All the burgers are served on brioche buns that Bev makes himself. There are also a variety of sauces you can order. There are a few other options on the menu — salad, chicken strips, and a couple of other items — but I can’t see myself straying from the burgers.
I’ve been to a lot of burger joints in my life and eaten many great burgers. But I can’t think of another burger I’ve had that was better than Bev’s. I’ve eaten at Bev’s three times in the past two weeks (for research!), and every aspect of each burger I’ve tried — right down to the fresh, bright-red tomato slices and crisp, green lettuce leaves — is done carefully and well. The patties are all hand-made, including the vegetarian patties, and get this…They don’t even need ketchup (a grand statement coming from a ketchup-lover like myself).
Bev’s side dishes are spectacular (don’t sleep on the Asian slaw — it’s spicy and delicious), and service at the Irish Club is great, too.
The first time I visited the Irish Club was for a festival on St. Patrick’s Day. There were dozens, and later hundreds, of people there, and everyone was drunk, and our plastic table was slanting downhill. Bev’s was operating with a pared-down menu so you could only order beef/chicken/veggie burgers with a limited number of toppings and chips.
But even in the midst of all that chaos, my friends and I knew we were witnessing burger greatness. Bev’s Burgers is something special and it’s still a bit of a secret. Go soon before everyone else discovers it.
Bev’s Burgers and the Irish Club are at 82 5th Avenue, Linden. Follow Bev’s on Facebook for opening hours, menu updates, and announcements.