Metro Weekly

The Satellite Room’s Musical Burgers

Satellite Room

Photography by Troy Petenbrink

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, once said, “We take the hamburger business more seriously than anyone else.” Given that the fast food juggernaut reportedly sells more than 75 hamburgers every second, it’s hard to argue that fact. But chef Wylie Ballinger and his team at the Satellite Room take burger-making pretty seriously, too.

Tucked behind the 9:30 Club, the Satellite Room describes itself as a 1960s inspired diner serving beer, burgers and boozy milkshakes. The space, dimly lit with funky pop art on the walls, is edgy — in a good way. As for its burgers, they’re edgy, as well.

Photo by Troy Petenbrink

Photography by Troy Petenbrink

Boasting a recently updated menu, the Satellite Room now offers nine distinct burgers somewhat randomly named after various musicians. One of the newest is the Chuck Brown, a burger topped with roasted poblano pepper, avocado slices, pepper jack cheese and a chipotle aioli. There is also the new poutine-inspired Henry Rollins Burger, which is loaded with french fries, gravy and cheese curd.

Standard-issue burgers are 6-ounce beef patties, but the meat can be switched out for grilled chicken breast or a black bean patty. The standard side is tater tots, with the option of regular fries, sweet potato fries, or salad.

In fact, Chef Ballinger seems to have a tots fetish, to the point where the new menu includes a selection of “loaded tots.” These vary from the traditional (tots covered in chili and cheese) to the delectably creative (tots tossed with maple syrup and bacon crumbles).

The Satellite Room has a decent selection of beers, including many craft brews, and has jumped on the boozy milkshake bandwagon. New additions to the shakes roster include a Vincent Vega, vanilla shake with Bulleit bourbon, and a Linus Van Pelt, which is a peanut butter shake doused with George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee whiskey. Yes, the names are fake, but the booze is very real.

In addition to new menu items, the Satellite Room currently offers a breakfast menu all day as well as during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Satellite Room is located at 2047 9th Street, NW. Call (202) 506-2496. Visit

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Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at

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