Holy Cow Burger Joint to Open Before End of Year

Pork Barrel BBQ restaurateurs preparing new burger venture with a charitable arm.

The folks behind Pork Barrel BBQ are preparing to open their next restaurant venture called “Holy Cow, Del Ray’s Gourmet Burger Joint.”

Bill Blackburn promises—with a nod to the barbecue’s delayed opening—the fast-casual burger spot located next the The Dairy Godmother on Mount Vernon Avenue will open before the end of the year.

Holy Cow will offer natural Angus burgers, potato and sweet potato fries, shakes, beer, wine and sodas. Other menu items include Quinoa veggie burgers, turkey burgers and chicken breast sandwiches.

Blackburn said the restaurant did some rigorous taste-testing to come with a fry recipe “unlike anything else.” He said the restaurant will have a dedicated gluten-free fryer.

The working menu includes 10 different signature burgers like “The Big Deal,” made with beef, a fried egg, Applewood bacon and provolone and cheddar cheese on a toasted brioche bun, and “The Popper,” made with fried jalapenos, garlic aioli, cream cheese, Chipotle ketchup and bacon on a beef patty in brioche bun.

Customers will also be able to build their own burgers with a variety of toppings, from standard burger stuff to more fancy fare like Vietnamese slaw, fried green tomato, chicken pate, local herb goat cheese and Swiss gruyere.

Burgers come on soft brioches, potato Kaiser buns, whole wheat buns, in a lettuce wrap or “bowl style” served over mixed greens.

Like Pork Barrel BBQ, there will be no official table service. Patrons will select their items on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard and submit their order over the counter. Staff will bring meals to the tables.

On the menu sheet, customers will also select a local nonprofit organization that will receive 25 cents from each burger sold.

“Mango” Mike Anderson said the idea came from working with John Porter of ACT for Alexandria on May’s Spring2ACTion fundraising event.

“We were really impressed with what John and ACT for Alexandria was able to do with that fundraising drive and how we were able to raise money,” Anderson said. “He challenged us to do more, and that's how the quarter-a-burger idea came about." 

Anderson said checks would go out to the charities once a quarter with the total money raised at the restaurant.

Holy Cow was originally planned to be a fast-casual Asian fusion restaurant.

Dr22301 November 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Almost $3 for a side of fries with your burger?! Awesome!
Katie Moore November 02, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Does anyone know how local non-profits are selected to be part of the menu?
Dave November 02, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Dennis November 02, 2012 at 07:05 PM
@Dave - did those guys do something to you personally? You appear to have some very strong (negative) feelings. Maybe you should open a restaurant and show them how it's done.
Tulip November 02, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I agree Dennis. I don't know what's up with all the negativity. Do people think Del Ray is too good for a burger joint?! Give me a break.
Nate McKenzie November 02, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I would never have called burger joints a fad. Maybe the gourmet spin on it is a branding thing that people like me may not care for but burgers and fries will always have a home in my neighborhood.
John Arbuckle November 02, 2012 at 08:34 PM
The folks at Pork Barrel have been nothing but fantastic, looking forward to more great things from them.
Nate McKenzie November 02, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I'm with you on $3 being high but they're priced the same as Five Guys and other places nearby. Hopefully the quality supports it...
Dave November 02, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Wow...when did constructive criticism about a redundant idea for a restaurant become a personal attack? I do believe that "we" are allowed to comment on what we think. Are tulip and/or Dennis somehow affiliated with with these restaurants? Or have some special interest in these restaurants? I believe I can find burgers in 4 restaurants in del ray already. A little variety would be nice. As far as table service...I do believe that has has been a common complaint since day one of Pork Barrel since it opened.
Dennis November 03, 2012 at 05:47 AM
And what does your response to Katie's question mean? "Non-profit=FOPBBBQ" Is that another constructive criticism about a redundant restaurant idea? If "FO" stands for "Friends Of," then it sounds like you're accusing them of fraud. If not, then what does it stand for? And no, I'm not affiliated with the restaurants. I like to go in to Pork Barrel and drink beer and eat BBQ. I, too find the lack of table service to be a pain, which is why I sit at the bar. The staff is nice, the place is clean, and the mac & cheese is really good (unfortunately for my waistline). As for another burger in Del Ray, you're right - there are other places to buy a burger. Your point? There shouldn't be any more restaurants that serve burgers in Del Ray? One of the things that makes Del Ray great is the variety and choice. There are places in this country where you have to drive an hour to get to an Olive Garden. We, however, can decide if we want Thai or pizza or burgers or coffee or Ethiopian food or something a little fancier, and we can find it all within a few blocks - and all of those places are owned and operated by people who live right here in our community. And hopefully soon - I like a good burger - there will be another place to choose from. So, what's your new and original idea for a restaurant? They've already changed from "Asian Fusion" to hamburgers - maybe they'll change the sushi place to whatever it is you've thought of.
Sherrie November 03, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Just when I thought a logo couldn't get more disgusting, Holy Cow has almost managed to top Pork Barrel BBQ. The illustration of a pig eating another pig makes me sick, but a cow destined for death with a halo? While I am happy to think the dead cow's soul is on its way to higher ground, the industry that put those cows and pigs on your plate is anything but holy. Ever been to a slaughter plant for cattle? Ever bothered to educate yourself about how pigs are treated in the pork industry? I am not happy to see more meat pushing businesses in my neighborhood.
Tulip November 04, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Sherrie- I understand your disgust with the commercial meat industry. But local restaurants serving meat shouldn't be blamed for the way the meat industry is run. It's the government (and meat industry lobbyist) - they're the ones who let this continue without much care for the animal being slaughtered. But what one can do, other than be a vegetarian, is buy meat that is free range- these local farmers actually care about the animal and what we are putting in our body. So maybe we should request more free range meat options in our restaurants. But people have a right to eat meat- and desiring a limit on meat serving restaurants in the neighborhood is a bit extreme. after all hamburgers are about as American as you can get.
Drew Hansen (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Here's what the Holy Cow guys said about their burgers: "We use a special gourmet blend of 100 percent all-natural, antibiotic-free, hormone-free and humanely-raised Angus beef."
SabMo November 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Hey Drew - can you confirm if they are supporting local farms for produce and meat? Thanks. Also, so far, there are no good burger joints I can think of in Del Ray, I hope this will be a good one. Thanks for the update Drew.
Joe November 04, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I wish their logo was a human eating a cow that ate a pig that ate a chicken (all with halos, except the chicken - they're destined for hell).
Sherrie November 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I didn't say people don't have a right to eat meat, just that you might want to educate yourself about the process. I have seen the poultry, cattle and pig industries operations from conception to death. It is not a happy, holy process. To show the animals slated for death in happy logos belies their pain and suffering.
Tracy Viselli November 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
@Katie Moore: Pork Barrel was a sponsor of Spring2ACTion 2012 (www.spring2action.org) and is continuing that support at Holy Cow. If you know a nonprofit that did not participate in Spring2ACTion 2012 and wants to in 2013, they can do so here: http://eepurl.com/i-e0j
Drew Hansen (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM
SabMo, Bill Blackburn told me they get their beef from smaller farms in the Mid-Atlantic region, so basically Va., W.Va., Md. and Pa. They use an Alexandria-based distributor for their produce. If it's in season, it's local.
Hungry November 07, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I am concerned about how we torture potatoes too. They are forced to grow up in dirt and then we skin them alive! The only solution is to eat more meat. Go burgers!!!
Jill Erber November 07, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I had a really great burger there last night. Nicely cooked, generous toppings. Mike and Bill were very interested to hear feedback from guests. They explained the process for making the fries - it's like 47 steps long - and it exhausted me just hearing about it :) But man, are those fries great! I'm excited to go again and try some of the signature burgers. Oh - and get yours on the brioche bun. Every bite you take smells like butter.
McBrinn November 07, 2012 at 02:06 PM
It's already open? Sweet. Do they serve beer? I'll have to check them out at lunch. I welcome pretty much any new restaurant to the avenue.
Hungry November 07, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Could it be that you are just jealous ... now that chickens qualify for Obamacare?
Tulip November 09, 2012 at 03:33 AM
I had a delicious lettuce wrap burger with all the toppings last night. And the fries were great too! I'm going to love this place.
JohnInNova November 09, 2012 at 03:49 AM
I totally agree with you Mindy..... it's a strange place and the BBQ is just mediocre.
Alexandria voter November 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Our dinner was eaten in near silence as we devoured our Angus burgers and fries - I the sweet potatoes and my husband, the potato fries ($2.45). Try the 'secret' sauce served with the sweet potato fries - recognize the flavor?! The choices include tuna, chicken, vegi and turkey, for the non-meat eaters. If you object to meat on principal, can't help you there. This place serves beef with design-your-own or gourmet choices for the hamburger. Yes, you order at the counter but the food is delivered to your table. Give them a few weeks to work out the kinks. Great staff and the best - $0.25 of each order goes to a 401(c) Alexandria charity of your choice (over 40 or so to choose from.) These local restaurants give a lot back to the community and we are lucky to have Mike Anderson and his crew so invested in our Alexandria neighborhoods.
Dawn Chan November 12, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Before the restaurant opened I googled holy cow and found that its a small franchise around the country. No big deal, but just wanted folks to know tht the logo menu etc came with the purchase so they probably didn't have much choice. I look forward to trying it and hope they use dairy godmothers ice cream.
Lewis November 12, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I'm a little tired of the expression "Get a life", but it seems to be appropriate for a couple of the commenters here. If you don't like the name, or the concept, for God's sake just don't eat there. It's a free country and the owners can do what they want with their time and money. On the other hand I think criticism of things like the seating or the ordering process or the staff or the style of fries or whatever are appropriate because the owners will read and can at least give some thought to changing. FWIW, I've eaten there, didn't love it but liked it. There are things I'd like to see improved but it's a welcome addittion to the neighborhood (which to my knowledge only had one place that sold burgers a week ago).
Sherrie November 12, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Hi, I am sure the cows being served would have enjoyed "getting a life" too. It is a free country, and I can express my sadness at seeing a logo depicting a happy cow face with a halo above its head, for God's sake, when the only cows in site are the remains of a very tortured death. No, I won't eat there, but I do walk past that storefront as I have done for the past 20 years, and now have another reminder of the horrendous way humans treat other animals.
Bill Blackburn November 12, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Hi everybody, This is Bill, one of the owners of Pork Barrel and Holy Cow. Thanks for all the interest in our new concept - it's great to see that the people of Del Ray are so passionate about the neighborhood, a factor that was instrumental in our choice to establish our restaurants here. We appreciate everyone's right to have their own opinion, and don't usually get involved with online forums. However, I thought I would clarify a few things: - Our patties are all-natural, NEVER given hormones, NEVER given antibiotics, humanely-raised, and fed an all-vegetarian diet. Our distributor sources from local small farms in the Mid-Atlantic Region. - We are donating $0.25 from every burger sold to the local charities that you, our customers, choose. Our list of local charities consists of the groups that registered with the Alexandria Community Trust. We encourage any local worthwhile charities to contact ACT to become part of that list http://www.actforalexandria.org/ - Though there are several other restaurants with the same name, we are not affiliated with them in any way - we simply thought the name Holy Cow was fun. Our signature burger menu was designed by Chef Beth Henrickson (a Del Ray Resident). Our logo, website, and other media were designed by Belmonster Creative, a Del Ray graphic design firm. Thanks again for all of your support. If you have any other comments or suggestions for us, stop in and ask to talk to Mike or Bill. - Bill Blackburn
Lewis November 13, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Oh noes! I totally forgot that people ate animals, but then I saw a cartoonish sign!!!!


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