Successful Charlotte-area restaurateur Frank Scibelli has recently expanded his empire north to Huntersville, and opened a fourth location of his Bad Daddy's Burger Bar in Birkdale Village.
Formerly known as Big Daddy's (there was a naming-rights conflict with a Big Daddy's Diner in New York), the eatery's other locations are Dilworth, Ballantyne and the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
Bad Daddy's specializes in high-quality burgers with innovative toppings. The restaurant uses a freshly ground custom beef blend made from hanger steak, chuck and brisket. They also make their own french fries.
Appetizers include fried pickles ($7), crispy onion straws ($4) and nachos ($8.50). But you’d be well advised to leave plenty of room for the main course.
Burger prices range from $8.25 to $13 for the "bad-ass burger." This gut-busting sandwich consists of two five-ounce ground beef and bacon patties, with lettuce, tomato, buttermilk-fried bacon, horseradish mayo and white cheddar cheese.
Some menu offerings pay tribute to Scibelli's other Charlotte restaurants, like Mama Ricotta's and Cantina 1511. Mama Ricotta's burger ($9.50) comes with homemade mozzarella, pesto, vine ripened tomatoes, pepperoncini and extra virgin olive oil. The juicy meat has a rich, dense flavor and a perfect char.
The Cantina burger is a vegetarian option, made from black beans and topped with green chilies, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and avocado ($9.00).
Several other options are available for those who desire something other than beef. An ahi tuna burger ($12.50) is marinated in ginger, lime and soy and served with wasabi mayo and a peanut soy Asian slaw.
The chicken club burger features all-natural fresh ground chicken (from Ashley Farms in Winston-Salem) on Texas toast with applewood-smoked bacon, rosemary ham as well as American and Swiss cheese ($9.50). The moist and tender chicken combines perfectly with the smoky snap of the bacon. The thick Texas toast is an excellent match as it retains its crunchy edges.
Diners can also choose from four giant chopped salads, including the Texican chicken salad, with romaine lettuce, buttermilk fried chicken, cilantro, red onion, tomato, black beans, tortilla strips and corn tossed in chipotle ranch dressing ($10).
Customization is important here. You can create your own salad from a long list of choices and build your own burger from an even longer list. There's also a gluten-free menu.
Bad Daddy's has a full bar with several North Carolina brews on tap. Look for the $4 featured pint special as well as wine ($6-11/glass), spiked lemonades ($8) and spiked milkshakes ($8). PBR tall boys are $3 and Mickeys Wide Mouth is available every day for $2. As you enjoy a drink, you can check out the game on one of the seven flat-screen TVs scattered throughout the space. Bad Daddy's also serves breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 8-11 a.m. You can order a breakfast burger ($10) topped with ham, fried egg, bacon and American cheese, in addition to pancakes ($7.50), Bad Daddy Benedict ($8) and egg scrambles ($8-8.50). The Birkdale restaurant seats 196 and is open and inviting, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a combination of large, comfortable booths and tables. There are several tables on an outdoor patio as well. Exposed ceiling ducts give the space an industrial feel. Service is fast, friendly and knowledgeable with just the right amount of attention. Scibelli has said he's interested in possibly franchising Bad Daddy's, and with a concept that hits all its comfort food marks, he's certainly found a winning combination.
Want to go? What: Bad Daddy's Burger BarWhere: Birkdale Village, 8625 A Lindholm Dr., Huntersville. Hours: Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 11–12 a.m., Sat. 8 -12 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m. -11 p.m. Details: www.baddaddysburgerbar.com/Home/