I’m not a big shopper, but I love food and always find myself wandering into the food court of any mall I’m in. But you know what a food court doesn’t have? That’s right: happy hour. The Arundel Mills shopping center in Hanover recently added Maryland’s first Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar to its dining options. The restaurant is located near the food court, but it has an external entrance as well as an internal one, so it’s more of a stand-alone restaurant. In fact, while I was inside I completely forgot that I was even at the mall.
As it’s a chain, I expected Zinburger to have that sticky Applebee’s feel; but I was pleasantly surprised to find a sleek, modern, well-lit dining area with an attractive bar—which is where I settled in. Their happy hour runs from 3pm-6pm, Monday through Friday, and I arrived squarely in time for their food and drink specials. It was a Wednesday, which I also discovered is half-priced bottle of wine day, all day. But I went straight for their specialty cocktails.
I am of the opinion that, like peanut butter and jelly, nothing goes together quite so well as mint and bourbon. So, when I saw they offer a blackberry julep, I immediately knew what to order. The ingredients were fresh, and they didn’t skimp on the garnishes, either.
While they have a variety of delicious-sounding burgers to choose from (including a veggie burger and a bunless burger), I opted for their $5 happy hour burger: The Plain & Simple. Aptly named, this burger comes with just lettuce, tomato, and mayo. At first I was concerned about the omission of cheese (which, of course, I could’ve added for a small upcharge), but I’m glad I resisted. The flavors were great, the pickle slices that came on the side added a nice crunch, and the bun was glorious. No squishy, limp buns here! My partner got the self-titled Zinburger, which was topped with Zinfandel braised onions that did not disappoint. The half-priced side of sweet potato waffle fries (big enough to share) came with two dipping sauces, each more delicious than the last: one maple and one yogurt cucumber.
When it was time for another round, I asked the bartender for their most popular cocktail. And that’s how I ended up drinking a blueberry honeysuckle margarita at five o’clock on a Wednesday.
Once again, I was impressed by their use of fresh ingredients. With only tequila, triple sec, honey syrup, blueberry purée, and lime juice, they somehow managed to turn this drink into liquid sour candy for adults. I don’t usually go for tequila, but this is the tart cocktail I’ve been dreaming to find for years.
So, if you find yourself in need of some post-shopping solace, I recommend escaping to Zinburger for a tasty, relaxing happy hour treat!
Photos courtesy of Leslie Howard-Goddard and Zinburger