A Striking Burger

From pop-up to carry-out to eat-in.

Following a line around the block can be risky. But the wait at Cobra Burger, in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood, leads to something deliciously hot and juicy, meaty and cheesy.

The original Cobra Burger—beef patties topped with cheese, Cobra sauce, Cobra pickles, pickled red onion, and lettuce—tops the menu, which cops an endearing attitude with pearls like “out of season tomatoes are gross.” Also popular, the Big Baby, features beef patties fried in butter and topped with cheese, Cobra dills, minced sweet onion, ketchup, and mustard.

When business partners Adam Musselman, Joshua Franklin, and Mike Epps launched the burger-centric popup, Musselman was “adamant” about serving one burger (along with an occasional special) and grinding limited batches of its Virginia sourced beef. Though not by design, Musselman says this approach created an “element of scarcity,” that brought long lines and sellouts, often in less than two hours.

Cobra Burger has now settled into new Church Hill digs with a full dining room and a carry-out door, dubbed the Burger Hole. Musselman is a fan of the Ohio Burger, with cheese, Cobra dill pickles, tartar sauce, and lettuce (shredduce, in Cobra-speak). Franklin is partial to the Oklahoma-style Dutch Burger with crispy caramelized onions—named in honor of Dutch & Co., which previously occupied the space.

For vegans, there’s the Garter Snake, a deep-fried patty made from grits and chickpeas with smoked tomato jam, shiitake bacon, pickled red onion, shredduce, and vegan cheese from Rooted Delights. It’s served on a vegan pandesal, a Filipino bun, from Angie’s Bakery.

For dessert, Cobra Burger serves specialty floats with ice cream from Richmond’s Ruby Scoops. And on weekends, look for “Bronchfest,” where the country sausage, hash brown patties, and blueberry pancakes are housemade and the bacon and eggs come from Autumn Olive Farms in the Shenandoah Valley and Sylvanaqua Farms in Montross. They’re accompanied by Virginia maple syrup, smoked tomato jam, and English muffins from Fat Rabbit Cakes.

From its new location, at 400 N. 27th Street, Cobra Burger will continue hosting pop-ups, like its Night of the Cockatrice fried chicken affair. No doubt, Musselman and Franklin will tease more exciting things to come from this ever-evolving burger joint. CobraBurger.com


This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue.

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