Chowder Co. is a burger go-to

Downtown O.B. hub chefs up the beef and shrimp.


February on the Vineyard is tough. I get it. Everything’s closed, no one’s around, it’s cold.

There’s that one specific week halfway through the month where it’s school vacation, there’s really no one here, and you’re wondering why you’re here. Don’t fret, because there is a beacon of light in the existential darkness. Sunday burger night at Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co. will save you.

Affectionately titled “Sunday Burger Sunday” (any U2 fans out there?), Chowder Co.’s burger night is a four-option, choose-your-own-adventure menu.

We’ll begin with “the Classic.” This is the burger I chose. It’s $5. At first glance it’s a regular burger, half pound of meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, blah, blah, blah. The initial excitement sets in when you see the burger’s outer casing is a grilled brioche bun. The real fun starts when your eyes fall upon the velvet subscript, which lists a daunting lineup of toppings and add-ons. For $1 each, the interested patron can have American, cheddar, and swiss cheeses, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, banana hots, ancho BBQ sauce, roasted bell pepper Dijonnaise, cherry pepper relish, roasted tomatoes, or pickled Bermuda onions. Pretty freakin’ crazy, right? Did you even know that some of those things existed? I didn’t, and I’m a food writer.

If you feel like channeling your inner Jeff Bezos, you can add bacon, fried egg, portobello cap, smoked Gouda, ricotta, or bleu cheese for $2 each.

I got the smoked Gouda. One, because I’m an absolute hound, and two, because, until that moment, I don’t think I’d had the intuition to put Gouda on a burger. Well, it was amazing.

The thrills don’t stop even after you top your burger with fixin’s. All the burgers come with fries, but there’s a $1 upgrade option, and why wouldn’t you upgrade your fries for $1? Would you upgrade your iPhone for $1? Rhetorical question — I know you would. For four measly quarters, you can get sweet potato fries or garlic fries. The real killer is the truffle fries, for $2 extra. Think of it this way: Instead of first-stint-with-the-Cavs-Lebron regular fries you could upgrade to 2012-Miami-Heat-Lebron truffle fries.

After the classic burger you have the speciality burgers. The Mix Up, the Scampi, and the Chick. They’re also all half off. All of them. All three are half off. Yes you read that correctly. Half off, 50 percent.

The Mix Up burger combines ground sirloin and andouille sausage with Gouda, onion straws, and ancho BBQ sauce, and it’s only $9. The Scampi, a secret-recipe shrimp burger with romaine lettuce and lemon caper aioli, is only $9.50. The Chick is made of falafel and topped with arugula, onions, and roasted bell pepper Dijonnaise, and is only $8.

At the end of the week, treat someone. Take them out on Sunday night, buy a burger, release some endorphins. Or treat yourself, because we all need someone to love us, and who’s going to love us if we don’t love ourselves?


Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co.’s burger night is every Sunday, 11:30 am to 9 pm. For more information, call 508-696-3000.