Yesterday for dinner I was joined by family to check out Hop House, a new restaurant located in the Stone Point center on Eureka. They are in the large space that was previously occupied by Early Toast (which seems to have moved over near Sierra College and Douglas behind Taco Bell). As far as I can tell, this is only their second location; the other is in El Dorado Hills.
I arrived at 5PM ahead of the others to grab a table and take a few photos. It was <50ºF out which left the patio looking rather lonely, even though they had their gas heaters running. There are also some fire pit tables (not burning at the time), which will make this a really nice space to sit out on once the weather is nicer.
I stepped in and was greeted right away and taken to a table just past the bar. I then took a moment to check out the interior and tap list before my family showed up. The place feels a lot more open with the removal of all the booth seating that was here before. It is separated into two distinct sides. The bar side has tall pub style tables and the other has normal height tables. There is still curiously one booth, built into a little alcove near the entrance to the kitchen.
The place is very warmly lit with Edison bulbs throughout, some of them with very intricate looking filaments. The bar is lined with 16 taps, with a large board of signs describing each beer. These will change frequently, in fact two of them changed while we were having dinner. There looked to be a nice balance of different styles, including a few different stouts.
Once everyone had arrived we ordered drinks and looked over the menu. There are a lot of delicious sounding options, although I had already picked out a burger on Friday, after seeing a Facebook post featuring it. Our beers arrived within a few minutes. I had the Fieldwork Coconut Imperial Stout (10oz, 8%, $8), my dad had the High Water Campfire Stout on Nitro (10oz, 6.5%, $7) and my mom and grandma both had the Allagash White (16oz, 5.1%, $7). Everyone enjoyed their beers and we finalized our orders soon thereafter.
In just under 10 minutes we had our appetizer arrive, the Homemade Potato Chips & Dip (Roasted Onion Dip)[$6.99]. The chips were just out of the frier but cooled pretty quickly. They were fantastically crispy and were excellent for dipping in the onion dip without breaking. This is impressive because the dip was very thick and dense. There were chunks of onion throughout, so it was not completely blended to a smooth consistency. The amount provided of this wonderfully rich dip was way more than needed for all the chips (not to say that we didn’t have enough chips, just that there was a ton of dip).
A short 8 minutes after the chips had been delivered, our entrees followed. 3 of the 4 of us had ordered burgers. My mom tried to set a healthier example with the Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast (served with roasted baby carrots and Brussels Sprouts)[$14.99].
My grandma ordered the Western Burger (bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce & onion rings)[$13.99] and my dad got the Bleu Cheese Bacon Burger (bacon burger with blue cheese and mayo)[$13.99]. The bun on both of these were quite large and didn’t allow the burgers to show off much other than some thick bacon sticking out the sides.
My order was called The Exception (8oz Hop House Beef Blend with Extremely Thick Cut Bacon, American Cheese, Mayo and topped with a Sunny Side Up Egg)[$14.99]. They are not joking around when they say “extremely thick cut bacon”. It was a photo of this burger and the bacon that caught my eye on Facebook last Friday. The bacon is ridiculous. Ridiculous. I think if you set the beef patty and the bacon on two side-by-side scales that the bacon may outweigh the beef. It was almost as thick as the patty itself. One of the slices was close to 2 inches wide!
I flipped the top bun over onto the burger and carefully picked it up, but before I had even taken a bite the yolk was dripping down onto my plate. I knew this would be a bit of a challenge immediately. A bit of a challenge became a slight understatement moments later as I made my first bite into the burger and its insane bacon. The bacon, while fatty and tender and incredible, did not want to be bitten through so easily. I ended up nearly pulling the one slice almost completely out of the burger on the first try, and this was my experience on every other bite after that. With all the struggle to hold onto the bacon through the bun, it started to fall apart and I eventually had to settle for using a fork and knife.
Difficulty of eating aside, this was just wow….amazing. It was like having a thick slab of BBQ pork on my burger. The smokey flavor was quite rich and powerful, it was delicious! I don’t know that the egg did a whole lot other than cause the bun to break down faster, but an egg on a burger is always fun in my book. The egg white added some different texture in contrast to meat, meat and more meat in every bite. The american cheese was a bit muted by the bacon, but just apparent enough to enjoy.
I loved this insane burger, and I loved my coconut stout, and I loved the menu and all the things that I want to come back and try. I wish I had room for dessert! I will be back, and I recommend you check it out too!