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Burger Night at Winooski’s Four Quarters Brewing Is a Soon-to-Be Smash | Dining on a Dime | Seven Days

click to enlarge Kimchiseburger with fries - DARIA BISHOP

  • Daria Bishop
  • Kimchiseburger with fries

If I’d been smarter — or at least quicker — I would’ve timed how long it took to get my Cheeseburger in Paradise on a recent Tuesday night at Four Quarters Brewing in Winooski. Then I would’ve clocked myself eating it, and I could say with certainty which was faster: cooking or eating.

I can attest they were both high-speed events. I’d taken just a few sips of beer before a double cheeseburger with the works was placed before me at the bar. I’d also had time to leave my barstool and walk a few feet to squirt ketchup and mustard into little paper cups: I wanted to be ready for paradise, and I was.

Eating was a rhythmic bite-after-bite-after-bite until the familiar combination of flavors and textures — soft hold (roll), tang (pickles), crunch (lettuce), glop (ketchup/mustard), heft/grease (meat) — was gone. Between bites, I googled the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and was pleased to be reminded it was by Jimmy Buffet, not Meatloaf.

I’m guessing the combined cooking-and-eating time for that cheeseburger was about 10 minutes. That translates to a dollar a minute for the $10 meal, a Tuesday night special at Four Quarters.

click to enlarge Mushroom cheeseburger with fries and a Stargazer beer - DARIA BISHOP

  • Daria Bishop
  • Mushroom cheeseburger with fries and a Stargazer beer

The brewery offers a range of options, including a mushroom Swiss burger (I recommend it) and the Kimchiseburger with kimchi and a fried egg (a favorite of the chef). The six burgers on the menu are officially called smashburgers. They’re flattened in a tortilla press and thus thin and a little crispy. The burger comes with a side: French fries, sweet potato fries, salad or chips.

Four Quarters opened 10 years ago in a three-stool bar with a record player, a few blocks from where it now stands on Main Street. In those early years, founder Brian Eckert brewed about 400 barrels a year in the converted garage, listening to tracks from The Last Waltz. Last year, the brewery produced more than 3,000 barrels, according to Eckert.

Beer production (and sales) help the kitchen keep food prices affordable, head chef Charles Spock said. The Winooski resident — whose experience includes Stone Corral brewery, Hatchet and the Big Spruce in Richmond, as well as Cork Restaurant & Natural Wine Shop in Stowe — joined Four Quarters in October. Spock leads a seven-person team in the kitchen, which opens daily at noon.

click to enlarge Chef Charles Spock - DARIA BISHOP

  • Daria Bishop
  • Chef Charles Spock

Burger night hasn’t quite caught on, Spock said, noting that crowds at Taylor Swift and Harry Potter trivia nights far eclipsed the number of folks eating $10 smashburgers.

“Strangely, it hasn’t been super popular,” Spock, 42, said. “If you went to Burger King, you would pay more than burger night at Four Quarters.”

The brewery, decorated with a mural of a spacecraft traveling through a starry sky, is planning a number of events and promotions tied to its 10-year anniversary and the April 8 solar eclipse. These include a “new look [and] a new core beer,” Eckert said.

Four Quarters reopened its original space at 150 West Canal Street last weekend and will welcome people there on Friday and Saturday nights through the spring and summer. The old-new brewery will serve cellared beers, cocktails, local wine and cheese plates.

Ten years, Eckert said, “went by in a flash!”

Just like my Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Dining on a Dime is a series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for around $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line: [email protected].

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