Neighborhood Gem: This Tequesta strip-plaza burger got our attention – Palm Beach Post

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We were craving smoky, backyard burgers on a recent Saturday. But who was going to fire up the grill in 90-plus degree heat? A quick search of area menus led us to Buco Kitchen and Bar — and to a mighty-fine cheeseburger
Buco is a small, unassuming restaurant that’s tucked into a Tequesta strip mall. I had visited the space some years earlier when it housed Ocean Bleu, a charming, seafood-focused bistro that closed in the spring of 2017. Buco opened in late 2018, just across the plaza from its sister restaurant Locanda Rustica, both owned by chef/restaurateur Claudio Gottardo, a native of Como, Italy.  
The late-lunch vibe here was understated on this summer Saturday. Customers mostly gravitated toward the small bar, which offers a good view of the TV and a chance to chat with Halley McIntyre, the friendly and efficient bartender/server who lends the place a “where everybody knows your name” feel. 
The menu is a mix of pub fare (wings, calamari, panini, burgers) and pasta entrees (penne Bolognese, spaghetti with meatballs, penne alla vodka). But if you’re a burger lover, maybe stop reading the menu after the first third of it, where the small variety of burgers is listed. 
These are not hyped burgers, influencer burgers or even moderately photographed burgers, unless you count the raves from about a dozen Yelp-ers. Buco’s official social media pages tout “Burger Wednesday” specials, when you get $5 off. But that’s just one of their weekly specials. 
There’s no “best burgers” banner on the menu, not even a burger category. The few burgers are listed right after the starters and clam chowder. No drumroll or segue to announce the five burger varieties: Burger, American Cheeseburger, Veggie Burger, Mushroom Swiss Burger, California Burger.
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Those who prefer jazzed up burgers may enjoy the Mushroom Swiss Burger, topped with sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss ($12.50), or the California Burger, layered with pepper jack cheese, avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato and red onion ($13). Or even an over-the-top burger customized to their liking. 
But it was a more simple burger option that would make me a Buco burger fan. 
The American Cheeseburger ($11), a hefty patty crowned with lettuce, tomato, red onions and cheese of choice (American for me), proved to be a memorable bite. The patty alone was worth the visit. A nice char on the outside encased a pink, juicy interior. Cooked to a perfect medium, the burger offered smoky notes in every bite. Like that backyard burger we were craving.     
On the side, a heap of deliciously crispy fries shared the plate with the burger. You can opt for salad greens or, for a $2 splurge, onion rings. But although the burger stood tall on its own, the fries proved too decadent to pass up.
Outside, somewhere in sun-scorched north county, I’m sure there were intrepid souls grilling smoky, Saturday burgers. My burger, enjoyed in the cool comfort of Buco’s small dining room, was just as delicious. And no backyard swelter was required.   
Located at 566 N. U.S. Hwy 1, at the Countyline Plaza, Tequesta, 561-203-2988, BucoBar.com
Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Burger pro tip: Buco offers a “Burger Wednesday” special, which gives you $5 off your burger.

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