psycho burger at Art Bar.jpg

What: The Psycho Burger

Where: 1211 Park St.

Cost: $8

Contact: 803-929-0198,

Before Blue Marlin took over the train station in Vista, the Lincoln Street Station served as an active stop for many. Built in 1904, it was the third railroad station in the city at the time. Originally serving the Seaboard Air Line, it carried passengers in and out of the city for many years until Amtrak took over in the 1960s. 

One interesting thing about the station was that it had a diner for several decades known as Seaboard Diner. According to locals posting on the Columbia Closings website, it was the go-to spot for late-night food in the city, open well past its peers in the Vista. 

When Art Bar unleashed its menu and opened its kitchen full-time a few weeks ago, they decided to revive one of the diner’s classics: Stella’s Psycho Burger. 

Originally a huge all-the-way burger with a fried egg on top, it gets an updated Art Bar spin that heat lovers will enjoy. The burger is first layered with two crispy “fire” onion rings that look fiersome, but have a fantastic crunch and light, addictive heat. A nice, thick patty is added and topped with melty pepper jack cheese, crackling bacon and lettuce. The signature fried egg rounds it out. 

The burger is really seared and seasoned. The bun is soft and toasty. And the different layers of crunch from the lettuce, onion rings and bacon are immensely satisfying. Art Bar has a candidate for best burger in the city with their fresh take on a local classic.

The bar doesn’t stop there, though, pairing the burger with a bright red container of Carolina Reaper sauce. Sweet upfront with a vinegary kick afterwards and almost pleasant heat, it actually tastes pretty innocent at first. The psychotic feeling slowly comes over you as you drench more and more of it on the burger, the sweet and tart flavors too addicting to put away while the heat swells out of control.

Art Bar’s new menu has plenty more ways to hit you in the face, including full-on Carolina Reaper sauce wings and a kimchi version of the psycho burger that layers on the heat by leaning on the spicy Korean cabbage. — Bach Pham

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation on our Free Times Facebook page.