A Burger A Week – Gecko’s Grill & Pub
Let’s see if the Classic Burger can measure up to its old-school name
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Burgers have a little bit of history in the Sarasota area. Of course, there is The Hob Nob. They opened in 1957 (Yes, we will get to them). Tasty Home Cookin’ started serving their mini-slider burgers (3 to an order) in 1990 (they’re on our list). And longtime downtown burger spot, Patrick’s, threw open their doors on Main Street in 1985 (ditto).
Our stop this week comes with its own piece of Sarasota burger history… 🍔
Back in “The Day,” 1992 to be more specific, Mike Quillen and Mike Gowen opened their first Gecko’s Grill & Pub. The location in The Landings shopping center would become super popular, super fast. It would also be the prototype for their other five restaurants.
You probably know what comes next if you’ve been here for a few years. Yes, that is correct, $5 Burger Night! 🍔🍔
On any given Wednesday, you could find a line of people all semi-patiently waiting for their chance to dive into a $5 Gecko’s burger. Back then, $5 was a great price. It’s not the dollar menu. It’s WAY better! 😁
Gecko’s has since moved south, down the trail to their current location just off the Siesta Key Stickney Point Bridge.
This new spot on Tamiami Trail (2017) keeps the sports-themed feel that is a signature of all the Gecko’s Grills. It is a great place to catch a game! 🏈 Remember that on Super Bowl Sunday 🏈
It seemed like my trip to one of Sarasota’s oldest burger spots deserved to be a “Ride Along” experience. So, lending her burger insights to the tasting this time around is Laurie Lachowitzer.
Laurie is a longtime Sarasota resident (I’m sure that somewhere in her past is a $5 Gecko’s burger from The Landings location). She is a tireless volunteer for so many worthwhile causes around town. AND, as if that is not enough, she is a professional organizer! Think Sarasota + Marie Kondo!
Today Laurie and I are checking out the Classic Burger. This burger has the word classic in the name. So, that always ups the bar!
Let’s talk about our Gecko’s Grill & Pub burger experience…
RESTAURANT: GECKO’S GRILL & PUB (6606 S. Tamiami Tr., (941) 248-2020)
DATE OF VISIT: DECEMBER 27, 2022
STOP #: 20 OF 52
BURGER TASTED: THE CLASSIC BURGER
📒 OUR TASTING NOTES
🍔 This burger is served as listed on the menu: Make it Your Own. Add cheese, bacon, onion rings, chili, fried pickles, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, jalapeno, or guacamole for $1.25 each. Comes with L|T|O|P ($11.75)
• This burger had a really forward char-grilled flavor. We’ve sampled a few others that had this same “cookout” kind of profile. If that’s your thing, the Classic Burger will be right up your alley.
• It is a good size burger. A ½ pound of grain-fed, USDA choice Angus chuck.
• Laurie thought that the bun was “super fresh.” She also liked that this burger was more towards the traditional end of the spectrum. No bells and whistles; just a solid burger!
• I had mine topped with sauteed onions (this is a Build Your Own burger situation. Be prepared to make decisions!). Those onions went well with the char-grilled flavor. I think I made a good choice there. 😃
• The sides! This is where Laurie and I go our separate ways. She went BIG and chose the Housemade Potato Chips and Ranch Dressing (These are not even on the “sides” menu! Find them under appetizers). I went a more traditional route and paired my burger with tater tots (I think, at this point, they’re considered a universally accepted burger side choice.) She loved her chips and dip. But I would not have traded even one of my tots! We were both winners on this one. 🥇
Let’s check out how all of this looked when we ordered it…
BURGER TAKEAWAYS: A super casual place to grab a burger and catch a game • It’s not $5. But at $11.75, it’s still a pretty good burger deal • Not their first (or second) rodeo. They know the burger biz! • Great outdoor dining space • Lots of parking make it convenient during season. • They have multiple locations. I’m sure there’s one close to you!
👀 SNEAK PEEK: Next up, we’re headed to Siesta Key to taste a burger at a place that is WAY better known by its initials than by its full name. 🍔
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✅ Did you miss a week? No worries. Here’s a link to our A BURGER A WEEK SERIES ARCHIVE! 🍔
🗓️ SARASOTA FOOD EVENTS 🗓️
Here are some upcoming local food events that we think you might find interesting. All you need to do is make that reservation. We’ve provided you with a link to more info. (If you have an event, send us the details! (EMAIL IT)
WEEKLY POP-UP KITCHEN EVENTS – 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop
FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH – Cheese & Wine – Mademoiselle Paris (Downtown)
FEB 4 – Palm Ball, Call of the Wild – INFORMATION
FEB 11 – Saturday Wine Tasting – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 13 – Galentine’s Day Wine Dinner – Pop’s Sunset Grill
FEB 13 – Valentine’s Day Eve – Michael’s On East
FEB 14 – Valentine’s Prix Fixe Menu – MeLANge
FEB 14 – Valentine’s Prix Fixe Dinner – Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie
FEB 14 – Hoppy Valentine’s Day Menu – Good Liquid Brewing
FEB 14 – Annual Aphrodisiac Dinner – Ortygia
FEB 15 – Party on the Bay – Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
FEB 22 – Lapostolle Wine Dinner – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 23 – Truchard Wine Dinner – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 24 – Chappellet Wine Dinner – GROVE Restaurant
APR 15 – Food Trucks, Tunes, & Brews 5 – INFORMATION
APR 20 TO 24 – Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival – INFORMATION
🧑🌾 FARMER’S MARKET INFO 🧑🌾
EVERY SUNDAY – Siesta Key Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – Farmer’s Market at Lakewood Ranch – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – The Meadows Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY WEDNESDAY – The Phillippi Farmhouse Market (Oct-Apr) – DETAILS
THIRD THURSDAY NIGHT – RADD Night Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Sarasota Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Downtown Bradenton Public Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Venice Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
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