In April, Casey Glowacki and Joe Fischbein of Five Loaves fame and proprietors of Sesame Burgers and Beer in Charleston and North Charleston opened a third Sesame location in Mount Pleasant.
Located in the former YoBurrito spot on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, the interior received a complete overhaul, and a spacious patio directs the flow of customers to the interior. The bar commands center stage with a window wall of booths flanking the street side. A flight of stairs takes you up to a well-chiseled eating space configured above the lower dining room.
The space has an industrial, recycled feel right down to the bar, which is fashioned from beer bottle caps, labels, coasters, broken glass and a bit of “beer research” used to establish the menu.
The outdoor patio one day will bloom with a green wall of jasmine, and planters are filled with herbs and native plants, creating green space and a barrier to the parking lot. Posters on the wall celebrate the glory days of breweries, an era now being rediscovered with local and regional craft beer producers. Sesame is the place to go to sample the lagers, pilsners, ambers, stouts, ales and wheat beers that make drinking liquid bread so satisfying.
The staircase to the mezzanine is lined with old-timey meat grinders and a gallery of plants is a pleasant view from this dining area.
The menu stays the course of the successful model of the original Sesame in Park Circle. In-house ground Meyers Farm grass-fed beef, one of the more flavorful burgers around, is well- seasoned by the kitchen.
The rolls, pickles, mustard and ketchup are made in-house. The dressings likewise are created in the kitchen and include a menu of vinaigrettes such as pineapple and cucumber dill as well as classic dressings such as ranch, bleu cheese and thousand island.
The pimiento cheese is a Sesame original, the mozzarella is hand-pulled and the peanut butter is homemade.
Daily specials are posted on their blog and are specific to each location. Sesame honors the season and supports local fishing and farming industries where possible. Local shrimp were a recent special.
Salads are available as half portions; great news for those who consider a salad a course to be enjoyed and not an entree. Appetites of all sizes can be easily satisfied here.
The onion rings ($5.50) are the size of Bakelite bangle bracelets; “blue’s corn” ($3.75 for 2; $2 for one ear) is treated as elote — cooked in milk, grilled and finished with chipotle butter, fresh lime juice and cotija cheese. Mexican street food at its messy best.
A grilled calamari salad ($4.50; $8.75) layered a bed of leafy spring mix with red onions, grilled pineapple and Parmesan cheese with crusty tender calamari rings and tentacles. The dressing was a pineapple vinaigrette that had been roughly ground into a gloppy dressing. Maybe a fine dice of pineapple in its juice with oil and vinegar would better serve the salad.
The kitchen does a credible job of keeping consistent to the culinary themes of its menu: A Southwestern salad ($4.50, $8.75) is garnished with corn and black beans and dressed with a chipotle vinaigrette; the Memphis burger honors “the King” with peanut butter, banana and bacon; and the pesto chicken sandwich ($7) is topped with Fontina cheese and prosciutto and served on a ciabatta.
Meats are roasted in-house, and tender turkey forms the base for a California Reuben ($7) and turkey club ($7).
Portions are generous, and the burger menu is a two-fisted affair, especially if you take advantage of the 47 ways to customize. And if you cannot flavor your feast of burger fancy, they encourage you to “just ask” and they will try to accommodate you. The burger menu includes turkey burgers, black bean burgers and beef along with grilled chicken breast.
A side of coleslaw ($1.50) was a poor excuse for this staple cabbage salad. Thick strands of green cabbage were tossed in a flavorless dressing that had little resemblance to this sandwich shop side. The coleslaw on the turkey Reuben sandwich was clearly from another batch, but it was too thick-cut to be a part of a sandwich stack.
The classic burger needed no gilding. It was well-seasoned, cooked as ordered, arrived hot with the cheese melted and could well be the poster child for grass-fed beef.
A fried chicken sandwich ($7) was also a winner. Tender, buttermilk fried chicken topped with some Southern love: pimiento cheese, pickled onions and a fresh slice of tomato. Messy goodness all around.
The sides are nicely portioned and fairly priced ($1.50-$2.50).
Desserts ($2-$4.50) include a decadent brownie sundae, oversize chocolate chip cookie and a bread pudding of the day ($4) that was cream cheese and strawberries at the time of our visit. Adult milkshakes ($7) also may cap off your meal, as well as a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream ($1).
Bring a side of patience. Although this is the largest Sesame, it is clear that burgers and beer are the way to the stomachs of Mount Pleasant and you could experience a bit of a wait.
Whether you crave your burgers plain or fancy, at Sesame Burgers and Beer, you are in the land of the free and home to the burger.