Making Juicy Sense Of The Secret ‘Dirty Burger’ Codes Upstairs At Campagnolo

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STACKED is a Scout column that aims to dig down into the delicious details of Vancouver’s better sandwiches and burgers. From banh mi and burgers to sliders and reubens, the goal is to craft and catalog an archive of awesome that visitors and locals alike can reference when at their hungriest. 

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If you talk about the best burger in town it comes with a caveat. You have to do the proper field work. That naturally includes venturing through the inconspicuous side door of Campagnolo on Main Street and ordering Robert Belcham’s famous Dirty Burger, which Scout readers rank as one of the best cheap eats in all of Vancouver. For a few years now, Upstairs at Campagnolo (aka “Camp Upstairs”) has been a low-key, dimly lit hideaway where you can find a killer burger and a stiff drink, but the secret isn’t so secret anymore. But as is the case with many secrets, code words are in full effect. When uttered in hushed tones, these words go about unlocking exciting, profanely profound levels of burger gluttony. Get wise…

“The Dirty Burger” | A star in the pantheon of Vancouver classics! “The Dirty Burger” is a 4oz, 40-day dry-aged beef patty smashed in a ripping hot pan (for perfect Maillard umami) flanked by fresh tomato, lettuce, tart coins of house-made pickles, an essential slice of American cheese and their signature secret sauce all inside a Scotch bap bun baked downstairs.

“In the Sun” | In 1891, Otto Kuase fried an egg and laid it down on a beef patty, inadvertently discovering the shortcut to levelling up the burger. Ordering an “In the Sun” Upstairs gets you a nod to Otto’s pioneering belief that putting a fried egg on just about anything makes it taste better.

“The Foghorn, Leghorn” | For those who argue that the chicken came before the egg, then your priorities are perfect for “The Foghorn, Leghorn”. Along with the standard fixings of a classic Dirty Burger, expect a layer of crispy chicken skin, fried to a golden brown perfection as part of your burger.

“The Protester” | This classic shit disturber of a Dirty Burger sees an ostentatious add-on: 80g of rich, pan-seared foie gras sitting on top of “The Protester” like a mischievous kid looking for any chance to provoke you.

“The Gangbang” | If the kitchen team cooked the beef patties of “The Gangbang” on flames spewing from the mouth of Truck-a-saurus, I would believe it. A flamboyant beast all on it’s own, “The Gangbang” is the ultimate dirty burger stacked with two beef patties, an unctuous sunny side egg, crispy chicken skin, pimento cheese and 80g of foie gras. Standing 8 inches off the plate, this architectural decadence arrives just as messy as it goes down. With only 11 people venturing to order “The Gangbang” since Upstairs opened its doors. Be the 12th.

——- MAKING IT HAPPEN ——-

Pressing onion into the patty…
Pressing-the-onion-into-the-patty

Gettin’ ‘er goin’ in the pan…
Beef-hits-the-pan-with-a-sizzle

Smashing it down is essential…
Smashing-the-patty

And so is cheese…
The-cheese-is-essential

The original Dirty Burger…
IMG_7270

But let’s move on. Double patties signals the delicious departure…
Double-patties

Adding a little sun…
Shining-a-little-sun-on-it

Frying up some chicken skin…
Frying-the-chicken-skin

Making it count…
Fried-chicken-skin

Chef Robert Belcham seasoning some foie gras…
Chef-Belcham-seasoning-foie-gras

And laying it down…
Adding-the-foie-gras

The final Gangbang stack…
A-tall-stack

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