I love weekends when my mom comes to visit Charlotte. Not only do I love my mom, and hanging out with her, but mom visiting also means checking out some new (to me) Charlotte restaurants. Mom drove down from DC at the end of June, and I turned to Twitter in search of some places we should check out—which led us to Cowbell for a late Saturday lunch.
Cowbell is a new-ish restaurant (brought to us by the folks of Leroy Fox fame) in Uptown, making a reputation for itself serving up burgers and backed by an extensive bar. A burger place is right up our alley, so mom and I trekked over in the mild, summer sunshine. It may just be me, but Uptown is a ghost town on Saturdays; despite the beautiful weather, there weren’t many people wandering Uptown’s leafy streets–I’m shocked we didn’t see some tumbleweeds (in other news, can someone PLEASE tell me where all the people go on the weekends? I realize the center of Charlotte is busy on weekdays because of the Uptown office type, but REALLY, there was no one out). We spotted Cowbell’s sign on the corner of 5th and Tryon, and easily snagged a table near the bar.
Cowbell markets itself as a burger place (duh, burgers and bar) so it has an extensive menu of specialty burgers with all kinds of ingredients. It’s like burgers, elevated, for a sophisticated palate. I went with a traditional beef burger—the Boogan’s Bacon burger to be exact. This was not any ordinary cheeseburger with bacon; it not only had bacon, but a bacon marmalade, and then was topped with traditional fixings—lettuce, tomato, onion and a garlic aoili (and I asked for pickles as well). I asked for it to be cooked medium rare (I can’t go all rare on ground beef). It came out hot and looked good, but for some reason, did not live up to my expectations (maybe the slight sweetness of the bacon marmalade was a bit of a disappointment, or the fact that my burger was cooked closer to well done than medium rare). Nevertheless, I was hungry, and it was good, just not as good as I had hoped.
Mom went a little less traditional and ordered the Danny California—a turkey patty with roasted red pepper, avocado, smoked habanero jack, and lettuce and tomato (she passed on the chipotle aioli). Her burger also looked delightful, but was a bit subpar (she did love the cheese and the fresh avocado though!).
We both got onion rings as our sides, and they were nothing to write home about. While the onions seemed nicely fried and extremely crisp on the outside, they were a bit “batter-y” on the inside, like they weren’t cooked the whole way through. And even though they were a sweet surprise (I think by the use of sweet onions), the sweetness didn’t suite my fancy. I want to give Cowbell a second chance, so I will be back for lunch soon; yet as of now, I prefer Bad Daddy’s or Kickstand.
Mom and I had a great weekend trying a few new places (and returning to a few favorites). While it was fun to explore Charlotte’s ever growing restaurant scene, nothing beats the home cooked Sunday meal my mom made for me before she headed back to DC.