A new burger joint has opened up in Greensboro near the intersection of Elam & Walker in Lindley Park which is right down the street from UNC-Greensboro. The place is called Emma Key’s Flat Top Grill and it was opened by Emmett Morphis, a partner in Fincastle’s Diner in downtown Greensboro, and his wife, Lee. Emma Key’s is a lot like Fincastle’s but more focused on their burgers and milkshakes.
There are a few off-the-wall items on the menu like a cheese cube plate dusted with a Rendezvous (the famous rib joint in Memphis) dry rub and served with a Memphis-style barbeque sauce to dip or the Moo Moo Platter which is grilled cheddar, provolone & Swiss triangles served with warm marinara or the (coming soon) New Orleans Sno-balls which is shaved ice. I haven’t tried these but they just stood out to me as weird things to put on the menu. I have the feeling that they are good but I just don’t know if I could bring myself to order them.
I asked the guys at the counter for a recommendation and they said that the James Taylor (a Carolina classic burger: chili, slaw, mustard, onions) was a hit with people and the Lou Lou (the Columbia, SC burger staple: pimento cheese) was another favorite. I love both of their recommended styles but really was just in the mood for a regular cheeseburger without any crazy toppings so I just went with lettuce, tomato, mustard and ketchup. The ketchup was actually a special house-made Tabasco ketchup which had a nice kick.
Emma Key’s keeps up the Fincastle’s tradition by tossing a ball of high-quality meat on the grill and then smashing it into a patty and searing it to a crispy, delicious finish. My burger was great. It was both tender and charred they way a flat top burger should be.
The fries were great. They were tossed with fresh sea salt and then I added a little bit of cracked pepper to them. I could tell that they were using fresh oil to fry them with because each fry actually tasted clean. Ask for a little bit of Tabasco ketchup on the side if you want to give them a little bit of a kick.
The building that Morphis turned into Emma Key’s used to be an old neighborhood barbershop that has been sitting abandoned a pretty long time. The abandoned building was a bit of an eyesore in the neighborhood so I am glad to see something in its place. In terms of size, Emma Key’s isn’t very big. They have a lunch counter that seats about nine to ten people (guess-timation because I forgot to jot down the exact number) and a few tables to sit at but there really isn’t that much room.
I think that one of the major issues that Emma Key’s faces is their parking which is almost not existent. They did lease some parking from Suds & Duds, the single greatest laundromat bar in existence, a block away but that lot can get pretty packed during peak hours. There is also closer street parking along Elam & Walker giving a few more options to people who are trying to eat at Emma Key’s. It isn’t that I am worried about walking a little longer to get to lunch (God knows I need it…) but the lack of a parking lot will make me want to go there if the weather is good. No parking lot also poses an issue for handicapped accessibility to the restaurant.
I definitely recommend that you stop by Emma Key’s Flat Top Grill and pick up a burger. I think this place is going to a great addition to the Lindley Park restaurant line-up and the burger is fantastic. I will try to get the menu scanned and added onto this post so you can take a look at it.