Here’s a place that, surprisingly, I had not been for more than a year. Flip opened its first store in Atlanta on Howell Mill Road in late 2008, to instant acclaim, incredibly long lines, and mixed reviews from a hipster crowd that can’t decide whether it wishes to embrace the hype or react against it. I ate there a couple of times in ’09 and really enjoyed it. They offer really good, fancy-schmancy hamburgers and incredibly decadent milkshakes. Richard Blais and his team, including a chef named Mark Nanna, then opened a second store in Birmingham which the good people of north Alabama are even crazier about. Last fall, when Marie and I took our daughter out for a second eating trip to that city, we spoke with a girl at Penzeys Spices who told us that we absolutely had to go to Flip. A third store opened here in the Buckhead community a few months ago.
So Flip is certainly a local success story, and one which shows every sign of being able to grow and expand more over the next few years. I could definitely see Chattanooga’s north shore district supporting a Flip.
A couple of Fridays ago, Marie and I took a break from the kids – mercifully, they’re old enough to be left on their own for a few hours – and got out for some grown-up time. We met my co-worker Victoria and her fiance James for an hour or so and enjoyed some of those really good burgers and shakes.
The best advice I can give anybody who’s been thinking about trying Flip is to arrive early and arrive curious. The menu contains all sorts of incredibly odd and fascinating sandwiches. My favorite is the simple, classic southern burger, served with homemade pimento cheese and a wonderful green ketchup, but they also serve patties made from turkey, crab, veal and other unexpected meats. On this trip, I had a chorizo sausage burger, which was served with cheese, hash browns and a fried egg, and while I did not enjoy it as much as the southern burger, it was still quite wonderful.
Victoria kept it simple with a bacon cheeseburger, and James had the crab, each also having one of those unaccountably trendy iceberg wedge salads, but Marie surprised me by passing on a burger this evening and just having some of the fries and rings that I ordered – memo to self, your wife is owed an order of fried zucchini next time – and having a big orange creamsicle shake, which is the most amazing thing ever.
The line got long behind us. Absurdly so. I think that the only thing that I dislike about Flip is that their space is small enough that diners can’t help but be aware of all of the people waiting for a table. Is this some restaurant psychology trick? If so, it works. I would have gladly spent a good deal longer visiting and talking, but I felt downright guilty hogging a table with another two dozen people lined up and waiting. So I got a Krispy Kreme milkshake to go – it’s every bit as wonderful as it sounds – and we called it a night. We should definitely go back, though. There are still a mess of burgers here that we have not tried.
Other blog posts about Flip: