Call it a contemporary adaptation of the Neanderthal mindset if you must, but I’m not a split-yourburger kind of guy. While I certainly wouldn’t have fared well in the hunter-gatherer days of finding your own food, I can keep a firm, two-handed grip on a substantially sized, sometimes-slippery burger — often with a minimal amount of drip or slop.
Outside of novelty-sized behemoths, the closest I’ve come to thinking I should slice is at Bru Burger Bar. It’s part of the Cunningham Restaurant Group, which also includes fine Indianapolis options like Mesh and Union 50, among others. Bru has long been a pre-concert Mass Ave. staple for us in Indy, and we were excited to hear that its 10th location would make its way northward at the Marq — a recent riverfront residential/commercial building in downtown Lafayette.
Sporting rave writeups from Esquire and the Food Network, Bru brings national cred to its newest home. The restaurant offers well over a dozen gourmet burger options with its patty mixture of brisket, sirloin and chuck cooked to order; I’d recommend maxing out at medium. And if you’re bypassing burgers, there are chicken, tuna, salmon, black bean, veggie, cod, Portobello mushroom, pulled pork, turkey, lamb and Impossible Burger options.
That’s before a surplus of appetizers (soft pretzels with sizable salt flakes and side sauces are a hit) and a sextet of fresh salads, all of which can be bumped out to entrees by adding chicken, salmon or shrimp. The Sriracha Caesar has just the right drizzle of spice to enliven an eternal staple. With various gluten-free and vegan options, Bru also has a handle on dietary restrictions. Pro tip: Try a side of vegan mayo as a dip for your burger or Bru’s hand-cut fries. You can’t go wrong with the onion rings, either — deliciously crisp but never brittle, and I could swear there’s bacon grease in there somewhere as an unexpected undertone.
I’ve had four different Bru burgers and the hot chicken. The Bourbon Burger was the heartiest, with bacon, a peppercornbourbon glaze and horseradish Havarti cheese. The Turkey Burger was the most calorically sensible, boasting savory-sweet flavor thanks to carrot-ginger slaw, peach compote and curry mayonnaise. The Provençal Burger was the messiest, with a generous spread of herbed goat cheese and basil aioli, along with a delicious crunchy/soft combination of marinated red onions and sautéed mushrooms. The Mexicali BBQ Burger — including a combo of white queso, guacamole and chipotle barbecue sauce among its condiments — was surprisingly stable in its engineering and milder than expected, but still strong.
Stalwarts also suggest the Stilton Bleu Cheese (pear-bacon jam, fried onions, truffle aioli, spinach) and the Honey- Chipotle BBQ Burger (which adds a crown of pulled pork). Keep in mind: That’s half of the hamburgers Bru has to offer, and you’ll want to make plans to master them all.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.