Grilly Idol is the fifth and youngest stop on my burger tour of Hamburg. They have just celebrated their one year birthday on the 15th of March, 2017 (with free whiskey for all, sad I missed that!) Who would have thought Hamburg could bring such a strong burger game?! Five great burgers and counting!
Robin Veithöfer, Moritz Buhmann and Fred Noel, the founders of Grilly Idol went through many possible names, such as ‘Good Grill Hunting’, ‘Notting Grill’, ‘Elbgrillharmonie’, ‘Grill Bill’, and ‘The Empire Grills Back’ before finally settling on Grilly Idol – for no other reason than they like puns.
Certainly the music is not nonstop Billy Idol (thank God), but all three founders are musicians or working in the music industry in some way. Their interior pays tribute to their fellow rock and roll musicians with the art adoring the walls. And the fully-stocked bar is definitely something a rock ‘n’ roller would be happy to see.
In fact, I would argue that Grilly Idol is, first and foremost, a cool bar. The simple wooden tables and chairs and rustic, eclectic lighting are the perfect setting to enjoy the fully-stocked bar with a group of friends. The drinks list is longer than that of the food and the vibe is more laid back and spacious than the others on my Hamburg Hamburgers tour.
However, Grilly Idol does make a mean burger – in fact, despite my evaluation of it being a bar first, burger joint second, I would also say that they make my second favorite burger on my Hamburg tour thus far. Perhaps only Dulf’s outdoes it.
Grilly Idol is located in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg, not too far from The Bird from Part 4. A ten minute walk separates they two, with The Bird owning the turf to the south of Reeperbahn and Grilly Idol owning the north-side. Their menu is relatively straight forward; six standard burgers, three ‘Asian’ burgers served on steamed rice flour buns, two chicken options, and three veggie/vegan choices.
The beef burgers start from €8.50 from for a 160g patty served up on Grilly’s freshly-baked buns. But the queen of the menu is the burger that I ordered: The “Smukal’s Juicy Lucy.” 300 grams of organic beef with cheddar in the core, crispy bacon, onions, sour cucumber, tomato, and Grilly house sauce (€14.00).
By ‘in the core,’ they mean that cheddar cheese is actually stuffed inside the 300g beef patty and upon first bite begins oozing out everywhere. I don’t have any pictures because it was an all-hands-on-deck kinda of affair. It was an epic experience.
The Juicy Lucy is also covered in cheese on the outside. The house sauce dribbles over all the toppings in a totally satisfying, not overpowering way. The brioche-style bun is stacked tall with the fresh toppings and was just up to the task of holding everything together. Had I eaten any slower the bottom bun would have had a catastrophic disintegration.
The beef was excellently prepared and flavorful. And unlike a lot of gimmick burgers, the cheddar cheese core of the Juicy Lucy tied everything together. Served with a side of sweet potato fries (€4.50) the meal was excellent.
The sides are kept simple as well: three types of fries and four varieties of cole slaw to choose from. The fries and slaws range between €3.50 and €5.50 for chili cheese fries. For an additional 50 cents, one can pimp their fries with a variety of toppings – the highlights include fig mustard, wasabi mayo, pineapple chutney, and cumin aioli.
Coming full circle to the drinks: they are excellent. I went with Grilly Idol’s take on the Old Fashioned; Evan Williams Bourbon, cider, lime, maple syrup, and rosemary. Each of the major liquor foundations have between 3-6 unique Grilly mixes and it’s worth exploring. They also offer the full range of standard cocktails upon order.My vegetarian colleague who wing-manned on the night also gives Grilly Idol high marks, for what it’s worth. The black bean veggie patty strangely comes served on a more amateur-style sesame seed bun, but still was allegedly satisfying. So all your vegans and vegetarians out there – there is something for you too!
You can visit Grilly Idol at Clemens-Schultz-Straße 40, 20359 Hamburg or check out their website here.