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Burger Mini-Review: Council's

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A cheeseburger "all the way" with grilled onions at Council’s Bradenton Recreation. PHOTO BY WADE TATANGELO

Cheeseburger, $4.75
Council’s Bradenton Recreation
536 12th St. W., Bradenton
746-8350

The story goes that men, and only men, because women were forbidden, frequented Council’s Bradenton Recreation for decades to shoot pool, gamble and drink beer. Burgers were just made to give the fellas sustenance during epic billiards battles like the ones depicted in the “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money.” But Council’s, which opened in 1926, would not remain a boys club or gambling den forever. People still play pool there and yes, they’re mostly men, but men and women of all ages from well beyond Bradenton come to dine on the burgers served on thin white napkins.

That’s because what remains from those gambling days is the original Garland grill. Owner, burger maven and master raconteur Lawton Smith reminds me it’s that old grill that has kept the place in business all these years when my amazing wife and I stopped by for the umpteenth time on Saturday. We each had a cheeseburger – served on napkins of course – “all the way” with grilled onions. The Merita bun toasted nicely with mayo, a freshly sliced, thick cut of tomato, iceberg lettuce, plenty of pickles and American cheese just like Mom served.

Sounds simple enough. But then, while gripping the gift of edible goodness with both hands, comes that patty dripping and bursting with the flavor of the 77-year-old grill that gives Council’s the best old-school burgers in all of Manatee and Sarasota counties. The burgers, incidentally, pair excellently with the Budweiser draft served in ancient mugs so freezer-cold the first several sips are literally icy. And remember, Council's, located in the heart of downtown Bradenton, is cash only.

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His and Hers: Cheeseburgers "all the way" with grilled onions and mugs of Budweiser at Council's in Downtown Bradenton. Notice the Garland grill in the background. PHOTO BY WADE TATANGELO

May is Burger Month here at Ticket and we want to know where you go for beef on a bun. Go to our Burger Month page to see other reviews, read about making your own excellent burgers at home, or tell us about your favorite burger below:

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Last modified: September 13, 2013
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