NEW IN TOWN: Between the Bun

A Greenwood burger joint answers the question, “Where’s the beef?”

Humorless diners be warned: The puns and innuendos on the menu at Greenwood newcomer Between the Bun (102 S. Madison Ave., 317-300-8327) are spread as thick as the sweet “Poontang” sauce on the “Dirty Bird” or the mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on the “Italian Stallion.” But with burger combinations such as the “Apple Bottom Burger” with Granny Smith apples, bacon, and a Dijon dressing and “Lil Mama’s Brunch Burger” with an over-medium egg, yet more bacon, and maple syrup, we had to make the drive down to old town Greenwood to check out this head turner of a burger joint that began as a food truck almost two years ago.

The place has the feel of a small-town family joint from days gone by with Garfield cartoons decoupaged into the tabletops and ’80s LPs both adorning the walls and playing from the overhead speakers. Billy Joel and Sheena Easton still top the charts at Between the Bun.

We were set to order the suggestively named “Great Balls of Fire,” nuggets of jack cheese deep-fried and dusted with “Spitfire” seasoning, until our waitress recommended the fried pickles, which came with a nice breading seasoned right out of the fryer with a good dusting of “handcrafted spices” and served with ranch dressing with a hit of horseradish. For our sandwich choices, we went for the “PB & J Burger,” the restaurant’s most popular coinage, spread with peanut butter and topped with pepperjack cheese, thick strips of bacon, and a drizzle of maple syrup. The menu bills this as dessert and dinner all in one. While we liked the heat and the salty-sweet yin and yang of the toppings, the burger itself wasn’t quite as succulent as we’d hoped, cooked well beyond medium, as we had ordered it.

A side of macaroni and cheese had a runny, out-of-the-box quality that crumbled goldfish crackers and a drizzle of house barbecue sauce couldn’t rescue. Tender, deeply smoky shreds of pulled pork on the “Notorious Pig” packed plenty of heat, even though we ordered the “Suga N Spice” sauce, which the menu rated as medium. Here, a side of quite crisp steak-cut fries, also dusted with similar spices as the fried pickles, lived up to the waitress’ billing. Few of the desserts are made in house at present, but a slice of caramel-apple cheesecake was serviceable enough—and a sweet antidote to our spicy meal. We left definitely giving the place points for verve, and we hoped that a few more tweaks and refinements might help this saucy burger shack live up to its wit.