For the past two years, Haybaby food truck has sat outside of local brewery Cold Fire Brewing, gathering a following of people who love their gourmet burgers. But when the opportunity arose to move into a brick and mortar location on Blair Street, owners Dan and Jessica Crawford jumped at the opportunity.
Upscale sushi restaurant Mame closed in May 2018 due to a family emergency that the owner and friend of the Crawfords, Taro Kobayashi, needed to attend to, according to a facebook post. Taro gave the Crawfords some time to come up with the money to take over the location before the long line of other potential restaurants could swipe it up. The new location allows the Crawfords to take their perfect burger and add an extremely personal touch.
Haybaby can now be found at 541 Blair Blvd. and is recognizable by its oversized black meat smoker right outside. Haybaby’s new location has embraced the neighborhood around it; there is a colorful and eclectic mural covering the storefront. The inside is small but works for the restaurant; the openness of the kitchen allows for the customers to chat with the chefs while they’re preparing the juicy, half-pound burgers.
The Crawfords have worked all over the West Coast in the food service industry starting as teenagers. Dan Crawford, the main chef at Haybaby, can cook almost anything but opted for barbecue food as his and his wife’s venture.
Even though the couple can cook a myriad of dishes, their food truck was originally limited to very few options because of certain regulations when they started in Springfield. When they were starting out, Jessica Crawford told her husband to “do a burger exactly the way you like them and we’ll sell burgers.”
The time and effort over the years that has been put into perfecting the burgers can be easily appraised with just one taste. In the customer favorite Bacon Avocado Burger, the precisely cooked, grass-fed patty is paired with crispy, thick bacon and sharp white cheddar. Creamy avocado slices and sweet caramelized onions sit on top to add a contrasting texture. The owners’ favorite Blue Burger is also the Emerald’s favorite because of how simple and delicious the burger and toppings are. The blue cheese comes through with its signature strong flavor but is evened out with mayo, vinegary pickled onions and the aromatic taste of arugula. If it weren’t for the half-pound of meat sitting in the middle, it might even feel like eating a salad.
What makes the Haybaby experience superior to other burger joints is the attention to detail in every aspect of the operation. The buns are perfectly toasty and soft, the burgers are juicy and pink inside, all the ingredients are chosen to compliment each other and the restaurant itself is comfortable and personal. The Crawfords make the customer feel like they just walked into their personal kitchen.
Other options on the menu include two types of chili, two types of salad, your choice of chili poured over Chili Cheese Fritos, tomato soup and classic barbecue sides. The Crawfords' old friends at Cold Fire provide the beer, but wine and soda are also available.
Haybaby is mostly for the meat lovers out there, but the salads provide some refuge for the vegetarians.
Make sure to come with an empty stomach because this burger joint does not mess around.