Vibes & Vices: Derby City Burger

From Thai and Taiwanese, to pizza and poke and al pastor, part of what makes living here so great is the sheer variety of options for hungry folks such as myself. These are the thoughts that cross my mind every Friday afternoon, when it comes time to lead a group of locals to lunch once more. All week I woke up with burgers on my mind, and so I decided to lead the expedition to Derby City’s new location on Rodolfo Gomez to both do my job and get my fix.

The Vibes: We rolled up to the restaurant on yet another beautiful day in Vallarta to select our seats in the open air dining space. The lunch crowd was beginning to fill up the area, but fortunately we arrived just in time to get the last big table so no one had to eat their meal from their laps like some kind of animal.

Once seated, we had some time to appreciate the setting. Foot traffic bustled on the streets outside the entrance while a slight breeze took the edge off the midday temperature, which has changed from almost chilly to semi-summertime in the space of about two weeks. Faint music wafted in from a celebration nearby…the scene was ideal for an outdoor meal.

Displaying outstanding social skills, every member of our party convincingly pretended to be more interested in conversation than the menu which included tempting possibilities from the bold and tangy Bluegrass BBQ topped with onion rings to the always alluring chili cheeseburger. Eventually all the proper pleasantries were exchanged, and we could each narrow the choices down…there would be plenty of time to chat after our orders were placed.

The Vices: During my initial scouting session–yes, I often visit these places more than once before writing about them, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for my readers–I went with a limited-time special which may or may not still be available for request off-menu, a buffalo chicken sandwich topped with caramelized onions, bacon, and a healthy scoop of mac and cheese.

It’s too damn good to only be available sometimes, and I hope management considers this a formal petition for its permanent addition.

In any event, this time I decided on the Black & Blue burger, combining a specially seasoned patty with one of my favorite multipurpose toppings, bacon. Also, blue cheese, obvio. People either love or hate the sharp and salty punch of this controversial cheese, but I generally can’t get enough of the stuff.

Fortunately, they were not stingy with the signature ingredient, something of a pleasant surprise when I have heard other business owners complain about the cost of providing unlimited limes.

The burger came with a side of crispy golden fries–which I could have exchanged for sweet potato fries or a salad, but I decided to stick with the classic combination. No one even complained about me B’ing my own B to the restaurant, a consideration I typically reward by purchasing another. By the time everyone had cleaned their plates, it was another successful afternoon of social coordination…it’s a harder job than it seems, but just barely.

The Verdict: This sunny Olas Altas eatery is named for its roots in Louisville, home to the world-famous horse race, and with a wide range of tasty burgers, the outstanding eating experience follows in the tradition of the city’s champions. In this writer’s opinion, Derby City is one of the region’s finer exports, garnering a personal ranking somewhere between major league baseball bats and Muhammad Ali. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

Info: Rodolfo Gomez 130, Olas Altas

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AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.