I first became aware of The Filling Station when they competed in The Grind burger competition. I wasn’t able to try their burgers there so they went onto my “someday” list. Soon after, I heard someone mention their great beer selection and I decided that “someday” was going to be soon.

On a recent Saturday evening, I decided to take the family out for dinner and we headed to downtown Miami and The Filling Station. Before you even get the thought of scrubbing any chance of ever going there because it’s in downtown, don’t let that scare you away. They are located right off of I-95 – down the ramp, two lefts around the block and you’re there. Leaving is even easier, just go down the block, through the light and up the ramp. There are several parking lots & garages within a block as well as metered street parking further down the street.

They occupy two store-fronts and the décor gives the place has an old gas station sort of a feel. I kept expecting Frank & Mike from the TV show American Pickers to come walking in. The bartender told us that The Filling Station originally opened about three years ago as a burger joint and that after about 18 months, the adjoining space was added as the Garage bar. Booths line the walls of one side of the space and a bar runs down one side of the other with some booths down the remaining wall. They had a Panthers playoff going on a couple of the televisions and the Heat game showing on another.

There are about a dozen taps that they continuously rotate. As one keg blows, another is tapped. While we were there, Brooklyn Brewery's Mary's Maple Porter ran dry and Blue Point Toxic Sludge took its place. Not a single tap had a NASCAR brand either; you’ll need to stick to the bottles for those. The taps were spread amongst a couple of different styles. While we were there, they had a lager, a rye, a couple of darks and four or five IPAs. The best part was that they were all reasonably priced with most being either 4 or 5 bucks a pint.

Besides the taps, they have a great selection of bottled brews too. Most are traditional twelve ounce bottles but there are a few larger bottles too. The list covered all of the styles and included several ciders too. Had the taps not been there, I still would have been very impressed with the selection. I didn’t dwell on the bottle list too long but I did notice several Dogfish products.

While I would be happy stopping by just for the beer, we were there for dinner. I think that gastropub is a better description than burger joint. While you can get an old-fashioned burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion & pickle, they have a dozen or so specialty burgers. Various pulled-pork, chicken, philly’s, dogs and salads round out the very reasonably priced menu.

My wife had “Sara’s Super Sport” which is a burger topped with peanut butter, peppered bacon, red onions and lettuce. She was amazed with the way that the peanut butter worked with the burger. I chose “Gabby’s D’ Lorean” which is a juicy burger topped with nutella, caramelized onions and peppered bacon. Unbelievably good. I wouldn’t hesitate ordering it again. My daughter went with the “Cady” which is the regular hamburger and my son had a hot dog with fries. The burgers all came with tater-tots. These were not the tots out of a bag on the freezer aisle but instead were seasoned and cooked to a perfect level of crispness.

This place hit on all cylinders. My wife and I enjoyed both the beer selection and our gourmet burgers while the kids were able to enjoy meals right up their alley too. We’ll definitely be back.

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