There haven’t been many times I’ve driven through the intersection of Elam and Walker in Greensboro and NOT seen a line out the door of the very hippy chic Emma Keys Flat Top Grill. The night of the Spring Garden Food Truck Rally, the line was out the door. Out the door on a totally different Sunday. Burgers must be popular on Sunday. Hopefully, you won’t wait long in the line. Your order will be handled by someone completely charming (bearded or otherwise) and though it will feel like forever waiting for that juicy burger, you can easily pass the time people watching on Elam and Walker (and if you partied at Wahoo’s or the Blind Tiger or Wild Magnolia in the past you can reminisce). By the way, does anyone else get confused as to which direction is which at that intersection? I never know if I’m headed to Friendly or Holden or Spring Garden and it’s been many, many years.
This is about Emma Keys and not about directionality though. Owned by Emmett Morphis, a partner at the now legendary Fincastle’s Diner in downtown Greensboro, this flat top grill is named after his grandmother, Emma Key. It is super tiny with just a handful of tables inside but also counter seating where you get the birds-eye view of what grilling diner burgers is all about. These mostly college age guys are slapping burgers on the grill and creating awesomeness right before your eyes. They even grill pound cake (more on that later).
There are so many burgers to choose from and you can customize them however you like if you can’t manage to find something to suit your tastebuds on the menu. I ordered El Diablo—a burger with melted cheese, sliced jalapeños, with a spicy mayo AND tabasco ketchup. Yes…pretty devilishly spicy, I must say.
Mr. foodie ordered the MPB with melted provolone, sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions. Delicious.
Burgers don’t automatically come with fries. You should order a basket of them. A regular is enough for 2 people easily. We went ahead and decorated our baskets with fries. Burgers always look better with them, don’t you think??
I can’t remember what the boy got but the girl got a kid’s cheeseburger and it looked like this…
And a milkshake looks like this. I wish it was in a glass. But it was fought over by 2 adults and 2 children so no complaints about the taste.
Emma Keys offers so many choices from Hotel California, which has provolone, guacamole and sriracha pepper sauce, to the Lou Lou with pimento cheese, the James Taylor (basically a Carolina burger with chili, slaw, the works) and lots of crazy yummy looking hotdogs and melts. And there are shakes and don’t forget a plethora of fries. This is a great place to branch out of your burger comfort zone. Try something new…live a little. And speaking of live (there’s no pic here) but once upon a time, I went to Emma Keys for dessert. And I ordered a Grilled Baby Sweets Pound Cake. It’s local pound cake grilled on the flat top and served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. And I have never forgotten it. And you won’t either.
Emma Keys Flat Top Grill, 2206 Walker Avenue, Greensboro, NC