Simple and Delicious 

Eat-a-Burger offers no-frills burgers and breakfast sandwiches in the heart of downtown

If you're looking for a high-priced, fancy burger, Eat-a-Burger is not the place for you. However, if you're looking for a simple, inexpensive and tasty downtown lunch, it fits the bill perfectly.

A former food-truck operation that now has a permanent home, the small downtown restaurant is housed in a Pioneer Building spot that has been home to several restaurants over the last few years. The interior is clean and modern, and crowded with tables and chairs, which remained mostly empty on my two visits.

The menu reflects the décor—sparse but familiar—with just a few combinations and a few à la carte options. The food follows in the same vein: The burgers are simple and delicious, served in diner-style plastic baskets with a handful of fries.

Ted and I first stopped in for a weekday lunch. There were a few other patrons, but it definitely wasn't busy. One of the owners was working the lunch counter, and was extremely friendly. I opted to try the portobello mushroom veggie burger ($3.95 à la carte) with some chili-cheese fries ($3.75) and a vanilla shake ($3.25). Ted went for the No. 3 combo ($6.95): a single bacon cheeseburger (choice of Swiss, pepper jack or American) with fries and a small fountain drink.

The entrées came out in a relatively timely fashion—it's always a kiss of death downtown if lunch takes too long—but not quite as quickly as I expected, considering how few customers were there; it took about 20 minutes to get our food. You get a number when you place your order, but if you're sitting in the enclosed patio-like area, or if more than a handful of people are in the restaurant, it's nearly impossible to hear your number called when your food is ready. A simple public-address system would go a long way toward eliminating a lot of confusion at the counter.

The burgers are a nice lunch-size portion—not too big, and not too small—and are cooked to medium-well, unless otherwise specified. Still, Ted's burger was moist and juicy. It wasn't remarkable in any other fashion, but it was an inexpensive, quick and tasty lunch.

My portobello veggie burger wasn't quite what I expected—instead of a large mushroom cap prepared in the style of a patty, it consisted of small slices of sautéed mushrooms and onions, piled on the bun with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. The mushrooms were well-seasoned and weren't overcooked, and the onions were sautéed until sweet and tender, though they could have been cut a bit smaller. The chili-cheese fries (and the regular fries that came with Ted's combination) were hot and crispy, if a bit under-seasoned. The chili cheese topping was tasty, but, again, fairly standard.

A few days later, I brought two friends along to try out Eat-a-Burger's breakfast menu, which is more extensive than its website would lead you to believe. Breakfast is served until 10:30 a.m., but the restaurant doesn't open until 8:30, which makes it a little difficult to grab a pre-work breakfast, especially for the government- and corporate-based downtown crowds. Perhaps an earlier opening time—say, 6:30 or 7 a.m.— would garner more of a crowd. We were the only patrons in the place.

Eat-a-Burger has five breakfast offerings: a standard breakfast burger ($2.49), a bacon breakfast burger ($2.49), a Canadian-bacon breakfast burger ($2.99), a double breakfast burger ($3.19) and a big breakfast burger ($3.89). They don't include actual hamburger patties, with the exception of the bacon and Canadian-bacon options; instead, they use sausage patties. Each comes on a toasted English muffin with a fried egg and cheese.

I went for the Canadian, along with a bottled orange juice ($1.95), since they don't serve any decaffeinated coffees or teas. Rebecca opted for the bacon breakfast burger with a house coffee ($1.29), and Nicole went for the double with a medium fountain drink ($1.45).

Our breakfast sandwiches were prepared and brought out quickly, and they were piping-hot when they arrived. Nicole mentioned that they were quite homemade-looking, a refreshing change from the usual assembly-line "McBreakfast" sandwich. The fried egg on each sandwich was nicely salted and peppered, though Rebecca's was a little over-peppered for her taste. Otherwise, everyone was satisfied; crisp bacon (but not too crispy) and not-too-greasy sausage patties were a few highlights mentioned on the post-meal stroll back to the car.

All in all, Eat-a-Burger has successfully made the transition from food truck to restaurant. With a few tweaks—like publishing a full menu online; perhaps some earlier morning hours to draw in that downtown breakfast crowd; and a plan to sort out the lunchtime order confusion at the counter—it could be a great, inexpensive staple for a quick and tasty downtown meal.

Related Locations

More by Jacqueline Kuder

  • Identity Crisis

    You might want to stick to the booze milkshakes at HiFi
    • Sep 17, 2014
  • Off the Road

    Seis leaves its mobile days behind to provide another delicious option at the Mercado
    • Sep 4, 2014
  • Juice and Stuff

    On a street with a lot of dining options, Goodness provides a healthy addition to the neighborhood
    • Aug 21, 2014
  • More »


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • The Road to UNESCO

    Tucson ambitiously seeks to be recognized as the first creative city for gastronomy in the country—but is it realistic?
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • A Food What?

    Pivot Produce, a food hub serving local farms and restaurants, might just be the linchpin that lets Tucson’s produce market bloom
    • Apr 21, 2016

The Range

The Weekly List: 16 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

Local Danish Bakery Serves Up Savory Desserts

The Weekly List: 14 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days

More »

Latest in Chow Feature

  • E Komo Mai!

    A family by way of Honolulu is bringing big island ono to the ’opu of Tucson
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Retooled

    Narrowly escaping a cheesy out-of-state concept, The Garage is the locally rousing pit stop Fourth Avenue deserves
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Retooled

    Narrowly escaping a cheesy out-of-state concept, The Garage is the locally rousing pit stop Fourth Avenue deserves
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Creole Comforts

    SAZ Creole Kitchen & Cocktails serves up New Orleans inspired modernist fare
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation