On Saturday, Stephanie and I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Paul Jones and his son, Parker. Parker, it seems was in the mood for a burger and Paul suggested Cin Cin Burger Bar.
Stephanie and I had tried to go to Cin Cin twice before. But, after driving around the very tight parking lot twice each time, we couldn’t find parking and we are just not ready to park away and walk there, no matter how much that neighborhood is picking up. So, we ended up going somewhere else. This time, though, we were able to find one pretty quickly. Paul was running a little late and I went in to get us on the list. I told them five people total as I didn’t know if Paul’s wife was coming or not. They were ready to seat us right away. Paul, then sent back that there was only going to be four of us, and I told them that. Well, that changed things. We were moved from “ready to seat” status to an hour wait.
Luckily, it was a lovely evening and the weather was really nice, so we sat outside waiting for our seating assignment. Paul and Parker came and we had good conversation talking about life and other things. We were finally seated and we got settled in. The decor of the place is bright and light and runs off a very subtle but defined “speakeasy” theme. They fit a lot of people in that dining room. If you ever ate at the Twin City Diner, the building’s previous tenant, then this is a big departure from that. Twin City Diner sat a good amount of people but this seems to be even more. Plus, there is outdoor seating on the large patio with ample seating out there, too. They were using it this night and it was still packed out.
Our server was Brian (Bryan) and he was both very nice and very helpful. He was knowledgeable about the menu, the ingredients and how to find what someone may want based on their preferences. Paul and I ordered our beer (Hop Cocoa from Wicked Weed) and after he returned with those brews, Brian was ready to take our food order.
Parker is a simple order-kind of guy. He ordered a plain burger with fries. Paul ordered the special Red Dragon Bison Burger with onion rings. Stephanie ordered the No Beer – No Work burger with eggplant fries. I ordered the Bootlegger’s Bourbon Burger with Creamy Gorgonzola Fries. I will say that these burgers were quite beefy and huge. The pictures I included will not provide an accurate descriptor for how large or good they looked. There was no way of maneuvering the light to capture the burger in its full glory. Now, I understand the listing of them doesn’t describe anything. I’ll elaborate.
The Red Dragon Bison Burger is Red Dragon Cheese, caramelized onions and mushrooms, roasted garlic aioli, shredded lettuce and tomato. Red Dragon Cheese is like a sharp cheddar but with brown ale and mustard seeds to give it a little kick, not too spicy, from what Paul said. The No Beer – No Work burger is fontina and mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, fries, slaw and honey chipotle mayo on sourdough. It is a mountain of a sandwich and it is funny that the smallest of us all is the one who had it. The Bootlegger’s Bourbon Burger is Bourbon molasses glazed with caramelized onions, bacon and pimento cheese. Yes, believe it or not, I left the caramelized onions on the burger. It was quite juicy and the onions didn’t overpower, nor was it prominent in the flavor. You could tell they were there, but it was not too strong. Juicy burger, it was. Bourbon-inspired but the burger was able to “speak” for itself; it was near perfect.
If the specialty burgers (called “Speakeasy Burgers”) are not your speed, you can always build your own burger. The list is extensive and so are the possibilities to have your very own burger. Other items on the menu include sandwiches like ahi tuna wraps, chicken and cream cheese melts, Reubens, Philly Cheesesteaks. Entrees include a cherry chipotle salmon, South Side Ribeye, chicken and waffles, bourbon meatloaf and Coco Chanel Filet. Eight different salads that, if the burgers are any indication, are huge. There are appetizers and small plates to whet the appetite or just have a small portioned meal. Of course, since Cin Cin Burger Bar is owned by the same folk that own Waldo’s Wings, then they will definitely have those on the menu.
One thing that the servers (I knew a few of them) said that we should try, but we did not, are the adult milkshakes. There are several to choose between ranging from bourbon and butterscotch schnapps (YiaYia’s Secret) to an alcoholic s’mores drink (Kumbayah My S’mores). There are plenty more for your brainfreeze headaches to endure. You can find more of their menu – I have not even scratched the surface of it, here – by clicking on the “Menu” tab to the left of this page.
I want to talk just a second more about the staff. While I do think that an hour wait, okay, a 45-minute wait, is way too long for a cheeseburger, the helpfulness of our server, Brian, the kitchen and their very juicy and very tasty burgers, and the ambiance were worth the wait. I don’t know that I’d wait that long again, but to try it and get in, along with the company made the night a great night out. Brian even dissuaded us from trying a “side” that Paul and I were going to order. He said we wouldn’t like it and that Mama Zoe (the owner) was going to take it off the menu. I asked if I could at least give it a taste – I had to know, after all – and he brought back a little ramekin and, while I thought the side was decent, I wouldn’t have wanted a full size side of it. I appreciate him setting us straight. I’m not going to say which side it is because I want you to try things, not shy from them.
Cin Cin has a great “speakeasy” cocktail list, too. They have classic drinks that range historically from 1823 (Pimm’s Cup #7) up to 1920 (several including Giggle Water, the Bees Knees and the Mary Pickford). They have quite a few of their own craft creation cocktails and a decent draft beer list and a craft bottle list. They also have the standard “beer” (Bud Light, et al) for people that cannot handle or do not want real beer. And their wine list is not shabby, at all.
Overall, my assessment of Cin Cin Burger Bar is that it is a great burger joint. I can’t speak for anything else, yet, but I will be going back; most likely during the week and possibly during lunch. When I go back, I will report my findings, as you know I will. I recommend trying to get there early as the line will form and get backed up fairly quickly and there is no reservations or call-ahead seating; it is first-come-first-serve. This was at 6:30pm, yes a Saturday, but still early in the evening. I hope you get Brian (it still could be Bryan) because he is pretty smooth. I had heard conflicting reviews about Cin Cin but I am going to give my assessment that it is quite a great burger.
You can find Cin Cin Burger Bar at 1425 W 1st Street in Winston-Salem. Again, look up their menu via our menu directory on this page.
Happy eating, slàinte!