When will the mooing stop? Anyone who lives in Denver, around Denver, even miles from Denver, knows that the last thing this city needs is another burger barn, but that's not stopping cattle herders from other cities from stampeding our stamping grounds with the next latest and greatest burger mania concept. In fact, it won't be long before we're well and truly BurgerFi'ed...by way of Florida.
Burger-Fi, a Florida-based, fast-casual concept, whose slogan is "farm-to-tray" -- and whose mission, according to its website, is "burgerfication of the nation" -- is opening on Broadway, likely in the fall if you put any meat in this tweet:
The chain, founded in 2009, and which also claims to boast a "better burger," has already invaded most of Florida, and has since spread nationwide to Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.
Here's more verbiage about the brand: "Even with its glorious history, it was not until recently that we began to experience a Burgerfication of the Nation®. The taste sensation is made possible by the perfect combination of all natural Angus beef from cattle that are raised in the most stringent standards. This flavor and tenderness that we've come to expect in a fine steak, is now made possible in a hamburger. At BurgerFi® our burgers are never frozen, never cooked in a microwave oven and are guaranteed fresh, juicy and delicious!"
Among its other numerous claims to fame is a commitment to practicing environmentally sustainable best practices, including chairs designed from recycled Coke bottles, tables constructed from compressed recycled wood, and large fans that use 66 percent less electricity. BurgerFi, ballyhoos the website, "maintains a low carbon footprint, and maintains strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans."
In addition to beef burgers, the buns of which are branded with the company's logo, you can expect a quinoa burger; a brisket burger; and all sorts of wieners, including Chicago-style, New York-style, Texas-style (think chili), chicken-apple and a Kobe beef dog. Sides -- the chain calls them "accessories" -- trumpet gigantic onion rings and fresh-cut fries that can be crowned with numerous spices, sauces or chili. Frozen custards, floats and cows and "frozen concretes" (named because of its ultra-thick texture) are part of the mix, too, as are a selection of beers and wines, available by the glass and bottle.
There's a "secret" menu, as well, that seems to flatter the "in-the-know" board at In-N-Out: fries well-done, or limp, for example. That menu also pimps alternative-style fries smothered with grilled, diced onions, American cheese, mustard and the proprietary BurgerFi sauce -- and there's an alternative-style burger that includes those same ingredients. But unlike In-N-Out's "secret" menu, which isn't showcased at any of the chain's outlets, BurgerFi's version is on both its website and on show at the restaurants, which kind of defeats the definition of secrecy.
And a poke around the interwebs suggests mixed reactions to all the hoopla. "The burger, dog and fries were excellent but it's the extras that make the new BurgerFi in Winter Park a notch above the usual burger joints," writes Heather McPherson, food critic of the Orlando Sentinel. But Molly Dunn, who writes about food for the Houston Press, wasn't remotely impressed. "The burgers were cute with the "BurgerFi" stamp on the bun, but other than that, they just looked kind of gross; you don't get any plates with your burgers and the piece of plastic paper wrapped around the greasy burger isn't strong enough to hold it in place, causing you to make a mess," she reveals, adding this final kicker: "I suggest going through the McDonald's drive-through and buying your own beer and wine; it's cheaper and probably a lot tastier."
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Have you been to a BurgerFi? Thoughts?