The Rarebit is a relatively new addition to the Charleston King Street strip, but their diner-style burgers are distinctly old-school. The thin patties are served any number of ways—piled two a time, covered in American cheese, flattened between slices of rye—but they're always cooked up on a flat top.
Brannon Florie, the former chef of 17 North in Mount Pleasant, created the menu for The Rarebit, alongside owner John Adamson. There were plenty of trials before they landed on the perfect burger, which they now sell for $4 and churn out about 300 a week.
The way Florie tells it, Adamson only had a few demands of the menu of his new downtown bar and diner. And one of them? A Steak 'n Shake-style burger, the kind Adamson grew up eating. It had to be thin, flattened down, and nice and crispy on the outside.
The burger starts with a blend of short rib, chuck and brisket—certified Angus. Florie would like to grind it in-house, "but kitchen is too small." The 4-ounce patties are cooked straight on the flat top to get that crispy exterior, before getting condiments of any kind.
A few words about the rolls: After testing plenty of buns from downtown bakeries, they opted to get the bread Southern Bakery up in North Charleston ("We basically gave them our entire bread order because of that bun."). Alternatively, the patty melts, which are double stack with American cheese and onions, are served on rye toast.
Every burger comes with a pickle, mustard and ketchup on said bread, and then a patty or two. Cheese, of course, is optional.
"It's simple and it's cheap," says Florie. "I think that's why they're killing it."
[Photo: Brannon Florie]