Heads up: There’s a big, juicy, truffled burger taking over the South End right now. Ryan Skeen, the chef who oversees the kitchen at the Beehive, a popular restaurant and live music hangout in the South End, has put together a $37 dry-aged burger with black truffles and bacon — a nod to his past as a burger savant of sorts in NYC — and it has been met with sellout success at the restaurant.
“We were a little apprehensive at first, we didn’t know how well it would sell,” Skeen says. “We made, like, 50 of them [last week] and they were gone in three days.”
Skeen put it on the menu as a nod to the best-selling burgers that he engineered during his days in New York City at restaurants like Church Street Tavern, an upscale Manhattan pub that lasted for a couple of years. Critics lauded his burger blends at the time for the choice cuts of meat mixed with unexpected touches like beef hearts that produced “added gamey funk,” as New York Magazine put it.
Similarly, Skeen’s burger blend at the Beehive is an upscale mix that includes dry-aged ribeye, strip loin, short rib, and skirt steak from Creekstone Farms, a Kansas-based operation that counts acclaimed meat supplier Pat LaFrieda among its customers. The burger is topped with bacon, black truffle shavings, a fancy gruyere cheese, and frisée, all sandwiched between a brioche bun from local bakery Iggy’s.
That $37 price tag, however, is enough to turn heads on its own. Like many other food items, burgers have been creeping up in price as restaurateurs contend with rising costs of ingredients. In New York City, a fancy burger can now cost up to (and exceeding) $50. Still, Boston’s most acclaimed burgers are generally way less pricey, from the beef chuck number slathered with bacon-onion marmalade at the Haven in Jamaica Plain ($20) to the dry-aged beef version layered with jalapeno chips at Little Donkey in Cambridge ($17). The Beehive even has another burger on the menu — a basic pub burger with a general blend of meat from the whole cow — that is priced at $20.
“Obviously, it’s not for everyone,” Skeen says of his dry-aged, truffled creation. “But it’s kind of a nice little luxury you can get every once in a while.”
Still, for some customers, it’s a huge hit. Last Saturday, the kitchen sold more of the luxury truffle burgers than its regular pub burger, according to Skeen. He’s currently prepping for a batch of 100 burgers to sell through the end of this weekend, and then it’ll reappear on the menu intermittently as the kitchen can get access to in-season truffles.