Monday, May 27, 2019

Dining Out: Greensboro, NC, Beef Burger (Biff Burger)

My personal history with Biff Burgers is intertwined with some of my earliest memories.  The local Biff Burger franchise was opened in Gadsden, AL in the 1960s. My grandmother was our church treasurer and when I was about 4 to 6 years old, each Monday she would come to pick me up and I would have the honor of going with her to make the bank deposit and run errands.  I felt SO grown up!  We would always stop on the way home to get a Biff Burger to eat in the car. At that time, there were very few hamburger restaurants in our little town.  Here is a picture of the opening night!  As you can see, there was a tremendous turnout for those 15 cents "roto broiled" burgers.
Wikipedia states the first Biff Burger restaurant was started by co-owners Bruce and Earl Brane in 1956. It was operated under the National Biff-Burger System, their manufacturing company that oversaw the production of materials to be used within the Biff Burger franchise.

Sadly, our local Biff Burger closed in the early 1980s. The franchise system had financial difficulties, and now there are only two Biff Burger restaurants remaining.  One is located in St. Petersburg, FL, and the other is located in Greensboro, NC.  Well, after leaving the Biltmore Estate and traveling toward the Outer Banks, guess which city we went through?  Yes, indeed, Greensboro! This location has been named "Beef Burger" since the 1980s.

I knew I had to experience the Biff Burger one more time.  So, with the help of the GPS, we found it and here's proof!

Please take a few minutes to click on this link and learn all about the history of this location.  Now, I thought we had eaten in dive joints before.  I seriously had considered we had.  Trust me when I say we had not.  Not until our experience at the Beef Burger in Greensboro had we truly experienced a dive joint.  

This sign greeted us on the front door.

Here are a couple of interior photos.  Granted, I would probably have the place steam cleaned if I owned it, but there was a steady line of customers there the entire time.  When you elect to dine at a local institution, you take what's there!

The Biff Burger "claim to fame" was their flame-broiled burgers.  The burgers were made using the Roto red broiler designed by the original owners.  The broiler is set up in two parts.  There is an upper rotisserie rack that broils the patties and the second lower rack toasts the buns.  Yes, the buns are toasted with the juices dripping from the beef on the upper rack.  This method supposedly gave the burgers their much advertised "flame broiled" taste.   

Imagine my delight to see the same roto broil method in operation.

The Biff-Burgers and the Cheese-Biff came in three sizes with a special tangy sauce which gave them a distinctive taste. The burgers were known as the Biff Burger, Deluxe Biff, and the Super Biff.  

Some searching on the internet provided me with the basic ingredients of the sauce:  ketchup, mustard, sweet pickle relish, salt, ground ginger, and liquid smoke. When ordering the burgers, you can request them dipped or not. We chose to have our dipped in the sauce. 

Here are the bags that the burgers are served in...

And we chose onion rings over fries because that is what I remember from my childhood. 

And no Biff (Beef) Burger in Noth Carolina would be complete without having a Cheerwine Soda alongside.  This soda is the oldest continuing soft drink produced by the same family.  It was invented in 1917 in Salisbury, NC.  Does it have a super cherry flavor? Oh, yes!  Is it beyond sweet? Definitely!

Thanks for indulging me in my stroll down memory lane.  Was it exactly as I remembered?  No.  Was it worth the experience for the memories on this trip?  Of course!


  1. It looks like a good burger. I love onion rings. Never had a cheerwine soda.

    I heard today is national burger day.

  2. OK I would never ever consider Beef Burger a "dive" a dive wouldn't care if you were drunk or on drugs. I can tell you that Beef Burger has THE best burgers in town and it isn't complete without the Cheerwine SLUSHIE. You did miss out on Yum Yum Hot Dogs and Ice Cream. Over 100 years later and they are still in business.

  3. I eat there at least once a week

  4. Living in Greensboro North Carolina when I was a kid I used to 16 years old Biff Burger was my first job Ralph hose the manager still is I enjoyed that place and now I live in Charleston South Carolina I'll drive to Greensboro once a year maybe twice just to get a good old hand-dipped Biff Burger and Fries nothing like it usually eat there in the afternoon lunch time I hit Yum Yum's hot dogs still there still growing just a awesome places to eat