Burger 195: Anthem | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

101 South Market
Faneuil Hall
Boston, Massachusetts

Subway:  State St.
Bus:  MBTA 4, 15, 39, 57, 92, 93, 325, 326

Visit:  May 23, 2013


It was only a matter of time that this Great Burger Search would find itself in a city where our greatest sports rivals are housed.  But more importantly than that, the search goes to a city that showed us why Americans are strong.  Within the heart of Quincy Market, Anthem Kitchen + Bar is the first ever Boston burger to take the Great Burger Search by storm.

Over the course of the last year, I have been very fortunate to take advantage of so many incredible opportunities thrown at me.  Whether it be going to see a major entertainment event in the center of the universe or picking my moments, it’s going to take a lot for me to forget 2013.  

So, at the end of May 2013, along with my school, we set off for Boston.  We were set to spend 2 days in the area and I was more than eager to see what I could muster up burger-wise.  You have to understand that as my role as chaperone, I had to really go with the flow.  My options were limited and I had to make the best of what I had coming.  With that being said, the 2 burgers that I planned on eating in the Boston area were both successfully consumed.

The Quincy Market area of Boston is really an incredible part of the city.  We, as Montrealers, may not take the city too seriously, but you have to give it up for the sheer significance of this part of North America.  Quincy Market is quite unique as it boasts a large array of outdoor shops, as well as indoor fast food counters.  I want to spend more time going through some of the marvels of Boston, but I’ll save that for later in the week.  For now, I want to focus on Anthem.

Originally, I was hoping to make my burger stand near Harvard, but our schedule simply didn’t allow it.  Plus, what I found out on our second day was that the restaurant in mind was closed for Memorial Day weekend.  With a few days to change my mind, I set my mind on finding a meaningful burger location in the Quincy Market area.  It wasn’t really hard to find Anthem, as it stuck out in most online reviews.

The story goes that Anthem used to be a restaurant long ago that eventually went out of business.  Just over three years ago, the restaurant was resurrected just steps away from Faneuil Hall.  Since then, the restaurant has taken home awards for Best Clam Chowder at least twice.  When you’re a top comeback restaurant, it’s worth seeing what the fuss was all about.

On the first day of our trip, we were on a short walking trip towards Quincy Market.  We saw all kinds of things on the way.  One of the things I had to do was make sure that the students who were carrying Habs flags were not attacked by any locals.  By the way, Boston lost their game that night and I’m wondering if it’s any coincidence.  When we arrived to the edge of Quincy Market, my only thought was how through this massive space was I ever going to find one, single, solitary restaurant.  Well, wouldn’t you know, our group stopped to regroup right next to Anthem.  As we unleashed our 40 students onto Quincy Market, I took two steps down to my first burger location in the city of Boston.

Anthem is located on the corner of a block.  Despite the fact that it was still pretty bright outside, the restaurant was quite dark on the inside.  One of the things I was worried about was the fact that the place might be jam packed since it was at a certain time.  My fears went away when there was literally no wait for a table.

To me, Anthem is like a place you want to be seen in.  It might be located in a tourist haven, but it’s the type of restaurant that I personally would look for.  Everything about this restaurant personifies the type of place that a bunch of people can hang out and enjoy a nice meal.  It was that feeling that really helped shape my impressions of Anthem.

The service at Anthem was quite exceptional.  The server was polite and answered all of my questions with tact.  To better illustrate my point, there was this moment that really sold the service to me.  For this burger, I was joined by one of my colleagues and another chaperone on the trip.  During the meal, on top of my orange juice, I asked for a glass of water.  When the server saw my colleagues drink was near its end, another one was brought without a mention made.  I actually felt the need to ask about the drink, to which the server said it was no problem.  In the end, we weren’t charged for the second drink.  It’s things like that which propel a restaurant experience to another level.

All American Burger

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, onion strings, velveeta, and bacon shavings.

The side dish that accompanied the burger was a portion of mashed potatoes.  I actually asked if I could replace my fries with mashed potatoes and it wasn’t a problem at all.  The seasoned fries and the mashed were the same price on the menu.  The central part of the potatoes had a crust-like consistency which was probably the only part of the meal that I didn’t really enjoy.  The mashed part itself was quite good.  The only problem was that there was a whole lot of it.  It was a great value to have with a burger.  All I know is that I ran out of burger long before I ran out of mashed potatoes, which in my world, is a great thing.

The burger chosen was interesting on many levels.  For one, there were a whole bunch of items that I never had on a burger back in Montreal.  Among some of the key features of this burger are the onion strings, velveeta cheese, and the shaved bacon.  With so much becoming an unknown factor, one had to wonder how this would play out.  The big thing that was a welcomed question was how I wanted my burger cooked.  It’s sad that hardly any Montreal restaurants give their clients that option.

As you can see, the additional components looked right at home in the burger.  They may seem like a strange way to include onions and bacon in a burger, but in Boston, it seems like it’s normal.  Believe me, after trying it this way, it wasn’t very hard to convince me.  The velveeta cheese might be a head scratcher, but I didn’t really notice much of a big difference.

The conception and building of a burger are also quite important to make sure that it comes out just right.  You could tell that the restaurant really puts thought into making a successful burger by the fact that the lettuce and tomatoes were on the bottom.  The lettuce and its positioning is key in making sure that all the juices don’t go to that bottom bun, which will ensure a sturdy burger.  Here, due to the great thinking, there was no such issue.

The next item to think about was whether or not my burger would come to the table cooked to the requested temperature.  One simple bite answered that question and we were underway.  It was the case that I didn’t want to put down this burger at all.  The juicy meat and the appropriately chosen ingredients made for quite the great burger.  I even had some fillings fall out of the burger onto the plate, to which, I picked up a fork to scoop it all up.

In all, I was deeply impressed with just how good this burger was.  There are only a few burgers in the city of Montreal that surpass it.  All of the ingredients had their role and nothing was out of place.  It goes to show you that a well-thought out burger will always beat something that is left on a menu to rot.  If you’re ever in the Quincy Market area of Boston, you just have to try this one.

Final Verdict

My first ever visit to a Boston restaurant yielded quite the result.  Anthem is that establishment where tourists and locals alike will find something worthy to eat.  As for the burger, the fact that it was the simple, shining star, makes it a good enough reason to come back to Boston.

Anthem Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon


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  1. mrlewburger posted this