Sweet 60's ready to defend best restaurant title at Burgerfest

Small eatery in Prague 10 draws people from across the city

Most restaurants in Prague aiming to serve American-style food are clustered around the center. One notable exception is Sweet 60's at Srbínská 867/4 in Prague 10. The eatery, on a hidden residential back street in the middle of a working class neighborhood, was the winner last year at the BurgerFest (Best Restaurant), and they will be back this year at Jack Daniel's present BurgerFest at Prague's Výstaviště Holešovice on Sept. 10–11 to defend the title.

The restaurant itself is a little bit of vintage America, with a classic juke box, retro-stylish plastic chairs, an upholstered booth along the wall, and a bar that looks as if it came from a 1960s suburban basement. The menu is heavy on burgers and steaks, with some Mexican offerings as well. Burgers are the biggest sellers, with the home made steak tartare also having a following. The owner, who became acquainted with burgers when he lived in Australia, decided not to have Czech food on the menu as there is lots of competition for that in the neighborhood, manager Hana Trnovcová said.

The winning burger last year was the Diplomatico burger, made with a special sauce. They are working on a new burger for this year's Jack Daniel's present BurgerFest, but declined to give any details. It will make its way onto the menu once festival is over.

While making burgers may seem simple — there is virtually a burger place on every street downtown — it is not. Trnovcová said it took some time to get the cut of meat just right, not too dry and not too greasy, and with the right flavor. They deal directly with a small farmers who make a special blend of ground beef and also provide the steaks. The meat is all fresh, not deep frozen.

Another key ingredient is of course the bun. Czech buns tend to be sweet, and also bit gummy once the burger is put in. The ones at Sweet 60's are a bit crunchy so they can hold up to the meat. When served the burger in the bun looks huge, but the bun compresses down a bit so you can still hold it in two hands to eat it. They have a few standard burgers on the menu: cheeseburger, bacon burger, jalapeño, Diplomatico and a burger that you can design yourself from a list of options. Burgers can also be made larger, as each one is prepared to order. These aren't fastfood burgers that are prepared in advance.

The burgers come with fries, but you have to ask for ketchup. Locals in the neighborhood prefer tartar sauce or mayonnaise. The restaurant also has a small number of desserts, with warm chocolate cake as a standout. The cupcake has a melted chocolate filling and ice cream and homemade whipped cream on the side.

Aside from cider and Czech beer including Pilsner Urquell and Kozel on tap, Sweet 60's serves Kofola, which fits into the retro image, and homemade fruit sodas. The raspberry soda wasn't just syrup and water. There were some seeds from actual fruit.

The restaurant is family friendly, with a play area in the garden outside, and the restaurant can make children's portions for those whose little hands can't grasp a full-sized burger. Service on the whole is fairly laid back, with nobody rushing you or trying to upsell you into things you don't really want.

Since winning BurgerFest last year, Sweet 60's has gone from being a local secret to having guests come from across the city on a regular basis, Trnovcová said. The place is near the Na Hroudě stop on the 22 tram line and metro Strašnická stop on the A line.

Separate from the restaurant but in the same building is a nightclub called Repro, for those who want to hang out after dinner.

You don't always have to go out to Prague 10 though for a Sweet 60's burger. They will also be selling them at Kotlářka Praha baseball team home-games, as well as the Heavy Hitters charity softball tournament, the next one of which is Oct. 8–9 in Krč. And of course at this year's Jack Daniel's present BurgerFest.

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