By Nick Carter | Photos by Tony Bennett
Matt McMahan had been in the bar business for nearly 10 years, but he was looking for the next big thing.
Jeffersonville was about to take off, with the opening of the new walking bridge, and he wanted to be a part of it. Realizing that what this progressive borough needed was a gourmet burger restaurant, McMahan approached a friend who owned a building on Spring Street (formerly the Third Base Tavern). Then, in December 2013, he opened what has become one of the Southern Indiana city’s most popular locales, Big Four Burgers + Fries, located at 134 Spring St.
Obviously, being a burger restaurant, the menu item your establishment is named after needs to be amazing. And what is the most important aspect of an outstanding burger? The beef. Chef Chuck Starcher developed the delicious signature blend of chuck, sirloin and ribeye. Yet, when asked what his favorite item was on the menu, McMahan admitted it was the Sweet Potato Fries, but immediately after advised me that I absolutely had to try the Henry Bain’s Burger that consisted of a juicy burger, pepper jack cheese, crispy onion straws and applewood-smoked bacon basted with Henry Bain’s sauce (which, for those who don’t know, originated in Louisville at the Pendennis Club). To go along with this fantastic fare, Big Four Burgers offers a veritable cornucopia of craft beers: 21 on tap, 10 of them being locally produced.
With such a solid concept for the community to sink their teeth into, it is no surprise that next month McMahan will open his second Big Four Burgers location in New Albany. Located on East Main Street, this new restaurant will open in a location with an already established history of successful food service. The South Side Inn, the previous moniker of this historic building, which opened in the 1940s and closed only a few years ago, was known for its cafeteria-style cuisine. McMahan can recall memories of his grandmother taking him to the much-loved New Albany eatery. One can only assume that perhaps it was nostalgia that directed McMahan to this location.
Burgers, beer, three levels and the opportunity to take in the view. That is what awaits you at this much-heralded Jeffersonville restaurant, located just a short walk from the Ohio River and the Big Four Bridge. Take a little walk with the family, work up an appetite and stop in to say hi to McMahan and his crew. I guarantee that the whole gang will be leaving with a smile on their face and a burger (or something equally as tasty) in their bellies.