What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Burger review of the Month: Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in Raleigh

Posted April 17, 2012
Updated May 15, 2012

The guys from The Straight Beef tackled Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in Raleigh for their burger of the month review. See how the restaurant's burgers stacked up: 

Scott’s Review 

“Is everything going okay? I’m nervous.” Our server was clearly uneasy as she collected our plates; she knew that we were renowned burgiatrists.

“Did you cook the burgers?” Michael asked her.

“Me? No.”

“Then you’re fine.”

tobacco road

Truth be told, my less-than-effusive opinion of “The Arrogant” Burger at Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in Raleigh was partly a result of my own waywardness, as I broke a cardinal rule of burgiatry: “For each burger, a mind clear of expectations.” Though burger linguists have long debated the exact meaning of the original Latin (Te osculari volui, burger), the verse is generally taken to mean that we should ignore florid descriptions (“black pepper-crusted patty with Arrogant Bastard Ale mustard”), beguiling accoutrement (“your choice of side,” including “sweet potato mash”), and seductive come-hither website burger pics.

On the one hand, I stand guilty of the above-mentioned trespass. On the other hand, the burger just wasn’t that good.

Scott’s review: 2.75 out of 5

tobacco road

Michael’s Review

First, let me say that offering 3-ounce servings of draught beers for $1 each – especially with a beer list as sizable as Tobacco Road’s – is brilliant. That said…
Despite having been burned by cheese-filled burgers in the past, I went with the Stuffed Burger - a patty crammed with cheese and topped with bacon, more cheese and caramelized shallots. It is difficult to cook cheese inside a burger. If it’s not cooked enough, the burger falls apart. Too much, the cheese is cooked to tastelessness. Tobacco Road got it right. It was gooey goodness. Plus, the bacon was crispy and the shallots retained very good flavor through the caramelization. Problem was, the patty was bland – and, though saved by the cheese – a little dry. For that reason, the Stuffed Burger doesn’t quite make a four-rating in my book.
Overall, though Tobacco Road Sports Cafe was a great place, the service was excellent, and I can’t wait to sample the rest of the menu. I’ll be back.

Michael’s rating: 3.75 out of 5


John’s Review

tobacco road sports cafe

Dressed to the nines. Everything precisely in its place. In outline, she was stirringly well-proportioned. In fashion she was adorned in luxuriant, complementary colors and textures. The vision of her set my rods and cones into an electric hum. As she accompanied the waitress to our table, it was urgent that she join me and we begin the passionate love affair I was certain would ensue.

Suddenly, she was before me. I breathed her warm and satisfying air. Then, with no need or time for pointless banter, I brought her to my lips and discovered…that the Tobacco Road burger – just the basic this time – looks much better than it is. The bun (not a kaiser!—can I get an amen?) appeared house-baked and was good, but a little dry. The patty was overcooked and a bit bland. Leaf lettuce was a little soggy and had me pining for shredded iceberg. There was the promise of love and yet, though she was lovely, she lacked personality and depth. After a few dates, I will likely move on.

John’s review: 3.5 out of 5


Scott, Michael and John are The Straight Beef, a group of professional burgiatrists who review, rate and rank Triangle-area burgers on their award-winning blog. You can read more about The Straight Beef, including their education and scholarship, ratings system, and burger categorization method here


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  • Garnerwolf1 Apr 18, 2012

    Must agree. TR is average. At best. Don't know what all the fuss is about. Never been at night, only at lunch. Maybe it's better then.

  • Khanrahan Apr 17, 2012

    Cmsa80, maybe our headline should read "Burger review of the month" instead. We want to highlight the good and the bad of the burger world. Thanks for the feedback!

  • cmsa80 Apr 17, 2012

    So how did a place with "ok" reviews and 2.75-3.75 out of 5 get "burger of the month"? I'd hate to see what other burgers are like in Raeigh lol

  • tallywhacker2000 Apr 17, 2012

    I agree with these reviews, Tobacco Road is just ok. Nothing spectacular, not bad.

  • kikinc Apr 17, 2012

    joeBob-I'm with you. The Jackson Hole is my favorite!

  • joeBob Apr 17, 2012

    A lot of factors go into getting a good "anything". Restaurants around here are not like the ones on Triple D where the owner operators have been doing the same thing the same way for years and have it down to a science. For my money the best burger in town is still the Jackson Hole at Leesville Tap Room. Now having said that I could go there tomorrow and it would be terrible. What's up with not getting a tomato on a burger that is supposed to have a tomato, without asking? It's like the Jimmy Buffet song, it's got to have all the ingredients. It has to be "dressed".

  • tnjed Apr 17, 2012

    Go to DRAFT boys

  • samr Apr 17, 2012

    WRAL seems way too hooked on Tobacco Road. I know these guys are their own group but TR is too hoity-toity for a true sports bar and I have always found the food to be average at best. Sounds like these guys agree.