Local 388 goes the better burger route in a tidy, charming camplike wood-frame building just off Route 50 in Ballston Spa.
There’s a modest patio at the side, with umbrella tables and chairs. Red painted walls and black trim make the dining room feel snug; the hand-painted decor and unassuming furniture give it a laid-back feel. Van Morrison’s “Moondance” was pleasant accompaniment for the mute big-screen television.
The handful of tables were empty when we showed up after the lunch rush. I sat on the surprisingly comfortable radiator cover, Mom had a padded banquet chair and view of the porch. A server brought menus right away.
Local 388 Burger Bar
WHERE: 388 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa, 309-3676, [email protected]
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $28.50, before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover. Reservations accepted.
Most burgers, like the American (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo and American cheese) are $9; for $11 you can get the Charro, with chorizo sausage, Monterey Jack, guacamole, chipotle aioli, cilantro and onions. Chips are included. The beef and many other ingredients are sourced locally.
You can get a turkey sandwich, grilled portobello, or veggie burger for $9. There are wings and sliders, and a variety of salads. Accompaniments are hand-cut russet and sweet potato fries, done up with Cheddar or truffle oil.
Most beers are local, from places like Brown’s of Troy and Adirondack Brewery in Lake George. Wines from Galway Rock Vineyard are available by the glass or bottle. Local 388 makes its own sodas and shakes.
Mom’s B-Spa burger ($9) was a hearty, hand-formed hunk with Cheddar, bacon, charred balsamic red onions topped with house barbecue sauce on a logo-branded sweet brioche roll. “They use good meat,” said Mom, who added that it was juicy. It was medium-rare and delicious. The restaurant gets it meat from Sanders Meat Market.
The lunch special included fries for a buck extra. We loved the cone of thick fries with their extra-crispy skin-on ends. The predominant flavor was fresh potato; they were ethereal inside with a light crust and the salt and pepper seasoning was just right. A small metal cup held ketchup that was house-made.
I really enjoyed the Black Bird ($10, with fries) sandwich, blackened chicken with rubbed spices, tomato and greens on a properly toasted brioche roll. Juice from the flattened chicken breast dripped onto the paper-covered baking pan that made a clever serving platter.
The meat was tender and easy to eat — a resolution to take home half went unresolved. Local 388 gets points for a roll that is tasty, not too filling, and thoroughly sturdy.
We shared a slice of first-rate apple pie ($3.50) from Smith’s Orchards of Charlton. The especially flaky two-crust pie was packed with cinnamon-flavored sliced apples, nicely done, without a lot of extra liquid or filling.
With two sodas, the tab for lunch came to $28.50 before tax and tip.