The first floor of Jeffersonville’s Big Four Burgers and Beer is two tables shy of being totally packed. A couple of old men sit at the bar in back and talk about the government. A lady sips her beer and says something about football. A winded mother smiles at her son, a four- or five-year-old who is enraptured by chicken tenders. A waitress hands out beers. They make a comfortable rabble that almost drowns out Kings of Leon on the radio.
Matt McMahan opened Big Four in December, turning a former dive into a three-story waterfront burgers-but-more dream. He says the building is “refurbished, reused and recycled like a steam pump,” and hopes to pull business from Jeffersonville and Louisville, especially with the Big Four Bridge opening (fingers crossed) on the Indiana side this summer.
It is lunchtime, so Big Four is acting as a burger joint with style. Customers order from the menu on the wall, grab their drinks and sit at wooden tables. Mason-jar lights hang from the ceiling, and crinkled tin adorns the wooden furnishings. The hip Americana culminates in the wine list; “Dreaming Tree,” a series of wines by Dave Matthews, is at the top.
But the real supply is in the larger bar upstairs. It’s a wide room with a view of the Ohio, but the river is the wrong liquid to ogle; at least 21 beers are on tap every night. A stage awaits the evening’s band, and upside-down stools await the backsides of happy imbibers.
The two-month-old restaurant/bar already has a “classic” burger, but no one is thinking about the newness of the place when a skinny, 20-something waiter brings out the burger on a silver tray. It is medium-well with all the trimmings, surrounded by fat, home-style fries, crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, delicious. It’s as if they’ve made this burger for two decades instead of two months.
Photo by Aaron Kingsbury
Article by Taylor Ichinose and Dylon Jones