When you step back and analyze your life for a split second, it can be funny how certain things have come full circle. For example, as a young boy, I grew up on with friends on the baseball diamond, basketball court, and soccer pitch. We learned the basics from our coaches and learned the games that would help mold who we were to become. Now, as a 31-year-old, I have returned to the diamond. And just as it was back then, after we’re done with our games, we usually find ourselves looking for a place to eat. This is how I first arrived at the Black Sheep Tavern in Sterling. In need of some nourishment after a hard-fought and seemingly elusive ‘W,’ I found a perfect opportunity to sample Black Sheep’s burger offerings to see how their patties stack up.

The Black Sheep Tavern is a small roadside pub and restaurant that you would find in any small American town. With a gravel parking lot, a deck patio and an inside space that is fifty percent bar, you can tell that this is a watering hole of the locals. No frills and minimum amenities mean a down home experience with other good, hard-working people. With a menu consisting of normal pub fare like apps, sandwiches, pizza, and wings, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Black Sheep had eight burgers on the menu. I know I can always find a burger with BBQ sauce or bacon, and a variety of cheeses; however, my goal recently has been to go out of my comfort zone to try something a little different. I decided on the Patty Melt Burger ($9.75). The Patty Melt is a classic burger topped with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and Thousand Island dressing served on marble rye.

As the burger came out, I felt apprehensive about my choice of burger. But, my worries were soon put to rest. The burger was cooked to a light pink medium on the interior. I did find it odd that the restaurant chose to cut the burger into quarters, but I guess there’s a first for everything. The Swiss cheese was tangy, yet mild enough as to not overpower the other ingredients. The grilled onions added a charred sweetness to the dish. I almost wished there were more of them, as the bites sans onions were invariably less satisfying. The Thousand Island dressing was rich and smooth and added a nice kick. Still, I found myself wanting more seasoning or spice. While the burger was a tasty one, I felt as though the overall product felt haphazardly thrown together, as though the chef wanted to combine the best parts of a Reuben sandwich and a delicious burger, but forgot about the destination along his or her journey. The fries were thin and crispy, almost like those you might order at your favorite fast food chain. I do wish that the fries had been seasoned more thoroughly with salt and pepper and maybe some fresh parsley garnished on top. The marble rye bread was toasted well and added a crispy texture to each bite. I hardly even noticed that I was eating rye bread with my burger, which I guess is a good thing for me.

The burger may not have been as polished as others, but it provided a hearty meal after a satisfying win with my teammates. The Black Sheep Tavern is an approachable local spot with a wide menu of pub selections to cater to whatever you are in the mood for. The large bar and patio section is a perfect way to spend a late Summer’s evening. Hopefully, our team can string together a few more victories to close out the season so we can celebrate some more at this local watering hole. If you have a favorite burger and would like to see it featured, don’t forget to tweet me @EDioufUC5 and you might see yours next month. Where will my burger quest take me next?

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