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Sidebars: Local burger joint leaves litigator underwhelmed

Jennifer Lukemeyer , Fred Vaiana
August 14, 2013
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SidebarsSidebars reviews and rates eateries lawyers may enjoy visiting when working at courthouses throughout Indiana. Fred offers this week’s review of Punch Burger.

What I have to write about is really nothing new amongst you local foodies, but it is something a bit off the usual choices in Indy. As Jenny was on her mid-summer soirée to Mexico, I was joined on this occasion by my esteemed law clerk, Hunter Bedford. Hunter will soon be a junior at Marquette University and is a part of the Pre-Law Scholar program there. Hopefully, what he has seen this summer with me will not scare him away from the profession.

On a blistering hot July mid-day, I engaged Hunter in a normal law clerk duty. I sent him to get lunch while I enjoyed the cool comfort of my office. I’ve been trying to expose Hunter to a variety of lunch options and, on this date, Punch Burger had a certain appeal. I had been there myself on a previous occasion and enjoyed a blue burger along with the eclectic atmosphere. A nice finishing touch to the place was the patrons drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon tall-boys at 11:30 a.m. While I enjoyed the burger and the atmosphere on that day, I didn’t exactly walk away with the feeling that this was a destination spot. In all fairness, I vowed to give it another try given the popularity of the place. After my lunch with Hunter, my feelings remain unchanged.

I opted for the burnt cheeseburger. The online menu describes it as a burger with a ring of burnt cheese around it. In reality, it is a burger with two slices of “burnt” cheese on top. I really wouldn’t describe this American cheese as being burnt, but it was certainly to the point of browned crispiness. The quarter-pound beef patty consisted of quality, fresh-ground meat but was overcooked as well, resulting in a relatively dry burger. If it weren’t for the higher quality of meat that they serve, this could have been a burger disaster.

I added the optional bacon selection – a wise choice. The only reason why I did is because the menu stated it came from Goose the Market. The thick slices were everything I expected. We are so fortunate in Indy to indulge in all “The Goose” has to offer. I’ll save that review for another day to benefit you out-of-towners.

Hunter selected the build-your-own burger option. After two years of exposure to the German heritage of Milwaukee, he decided to base his burger on the foundation of a pretzel bun. Admittedly, his expectations were high for the bun, and he came away a bit underwhelmed. As for the beef patty, he echoes my sentiments. When given the option for the patties to have “a little pink in the middle” or “cooked all the way through,” we asked for the former but received a high-quality, though very dry, burger. Hunter added the pepperjack cheese and fried egg, hoping to add an extra kick; he was still not very impressed. Overall, the great quality of the ingredients made for a good burger, though not one that blew him away. In his words: “With so many other fantastic food choices in town, it’ll certainly take more than a so-so burger to keep me away from the legal field.”

The bottom line: While these burgers offer a break from the ordinary, there are a litany of better burger choices in downtown Indy. Space limitations prevent me from listing them all. Of course, if you’re anxious for a PBR tall-boy can of beer before afternoon court, this may be your spot. Punch Burger, 137 East Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. 317.426.5280. www.punchburger.com.•

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Fred Vaiana and Jennifer Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing on criminal defense. Both enjoy a good meal with colleagues and friends. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.

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