Review: Burger Master in Eight Mile, AL

Most of us who have been walking this planet for more than a few decades have had one of “those” phone calls.  You know the ones – an old school mate calls you up to tell about the loss of a dear friend.  For most people those seconds before during and after one of those calls will be with them forever; psychologists call it a flash bulb memory.  They are formed when someone witnesses something so astonishing that the brain records everything about the moment.

One shared example is the 9/11 attacks – if you remember watching the news that day then chances are you can recall the minutest details like where you were, who was in the room with you and maybe even what you were wearing.

A little over two years ago I got one of “those” calls.  A guy I had known since I was 11 years old called me and said, “Did you hear the news?”

Fearful that yet another friend had failed to reach the age of 50 I braced myself, perhaps it was just someone getting a divorce.  There was even the off chance that the news was good like Uncle Roy hit the Power Ball for $18 mil, “What news?”
“The Burger Master caught fire yesterday and burned slap up.  Gutted it.”

Anyone who has ever eaten at the classic American diner on Hwy. 45 understands how devastated I was.  Though I didn’t try Burger Master until I was in my thirties most of my family and friends had been eating there since they first opened the doors back in 1965.  And it seems everyone has their favorite menu item.  My sister loved the Nanner Puddin’ while my brother and father were burger men.  My neighbor, a former Chickasaw police officer, vehemently proclaims that the fried seafood there was, “as good if not better than any of the big restaurants on the Causeway.”  His wife was a sucker for the onion rings.

I was heartbroken but no longer.  Burger Master has reopened and is putting out the great American food that made it a legend.  I have made a few visits since the reopening and things are a little different now.  Gone is the stark interior with the quaint handmade signs plugging fruit pies and reminding customers that profanity would not be tolerated.  The new digs are esthetically superior to the old with a multi-color tile floor, dark wood paneling and nifty black leather and walnut tables.

It really is a very attractive décor that brushes right up against fancy without crossing over into it.  Just as the old building was a classic example of the American diner of the 60’s the new one is an example of what a modern American diner should look like.  But all of that isn’t worth much if the food isn’t good.

Sure there are some people who’ll grumble that it isn’t as good now but they are usually those people who balk at even the slightest alteration in their regimen.  In my visits to the New Burger Master I have experienced food that is as good as ever.  The fried shrimp, the onion rings, the French fries with gravy and of course the namesake burgers remain to this day, “as good if not better than any of the big restaurants on the Causeway.”

The Burger Master is located at 4616 Saint Stephens Rd. in Eight Mile.  (251) 457-1472

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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