The Burger Bar has had a few owners over the years, and even a few names, but today Joe and Kayla Deel proudly own the historic little eatery near State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia. With names for burgers like the Plain Jane Burger, I Can’t Get You Off My Mind, and Howlin’ at the Moon, you are not just eating food, you’re meeting a character.
The Burger Bar has a long history, first opening as the Snack King in 1942. For nearly 20 years, it was owned and operated by Sean Howlin and his mother, serving delicious hamburgers, hotdogs, and floats. But the real history for Joe Deel begins when Ben Zandi, owner of The Troutdale Dining Room, bought the Burger Bar.
Old photos and newspaper articles hang on the walls, the seats are made of plush material and comfortable to use, and the low chatter of conversation make this place feel cozy. It’s small, but big on heart. A few additional tables outside give some added seating during peak hours, but also gives you a chance to watch traffic slowly pass on nearby State Street. Whether you sit inside or out, the atmosphere is comfortable, especially when you will most likely be greeted by either Joe or Kayla as soon as you walk inside.
THE MENU READS LIKE A PLAYBILL for a theatrical performance starring Hank Williams. All the burgers on the menu are named after Williams’ songs, giving them a sort of characterization of their own. In addition to the burgers, you can also order french toast, eggs and sausage, pancakes, hot dogs, a slew of side items, and finish it off with a milkshake or float. It’s enough to keep anyone’s stomach satisfied, and also enough to keep you coming back time and again.