Photos by Justin Fox Burks
Two paintings by local artist Ernie Patton take center stage at LBOE, both in spirit and space. In the larger painting spanning almost an entire wall, revelers gather in an upbeat neighborhood bar. Nearby, a smaller painting is more streamlined. A pair of hands grips a loaded burger ready to eat, a happy omen for LBOE, located on Madison Avenue at the edge of Midtown’s Overton Square.
Named as an acronym for Last Burger on Earth, LBOE offers a mix-and-match menu of three 8-ounce burgers hand-shaped, grilled, and prepared in 10 different ways. Here’s how the menu works: Select a turkey burger, a spicy black bean burger, or an all-beef patty freshly ground at Charlie’s Meat Market. Next, pick a fun combination with a playful name, such as Love Stinks, a garlic-centric marvel with garlic aioli, caramelized onions, and a generous schmear of roasted garlic cream cheese invented for LBOE’s participation in this year’s Best Memphis Burger Fest.
“We like playing around with new ideas,” explains Tyler Adams, part of the restaurant’s ownership group that operates TJ Mulligans, Dan McGuinness, and now LBOE. “We will be rotating different burgers in and out to keep the menu interesting.”
Burger purists may want to side with LBOE’s Bacon Cheese, where the only add-ons are tomato, dill pickles, and shredded lettuce, but don’t look for a simple sesame seed roll. Like all the bar’s burgers, the cheeseburger is served on a lightly grilled Ciabatta bun alongside a bag of gourmet chips.
For salty, skinny skin-on fries, get ready to share the generous order. Better yet, settle into LBOE’s spacious built-in patio, part of the restaurant’s $300,000 renovation that includes a comfortable bar for affordable wine by the glass, local draft beers, and specialty cocktails like the Midtown Mule, a mix of Tito’s vodka, Barritt’s ginger beer, and a squeeze of fresh lime.
LBOE: 2021 Madison Ave. (901-725-0770)
Dishes to try: Lava Me or Lava Me Not beef burger, Mushroom Melt turkey burger; Veggie burger with roasted red pepper hummus.
Prices: Streamlined menu offers burgers ($8 to $11); cheese dip ($7); and fries with Tzatziki and house-made fry dip ($5).
Drinks: Nine tap beers; 10 wines by the glass; cocktails like Tennessee Tickle, a mix of George Dickel whiskey and Sprite.
Extras: Acoustic music on Wednesdays; built-in patio warm enough for winter.
Atmosphere: Friendly neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name.
Open: Sunday through Wednesday (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.); Thursday through Saturday (11 a.m. to 1 a.m.)