Sunday, February 6, 2011

Burgatory - I would be fine spending eternity here

As loyal readers of this blog know, DB~ and I enjoy eating out as much as we enjoy making food here at home. We've been to a lot of restaurants that have interiors we love (Tamari) and food we love (Table Brick Oven and Bar), but I have never left a restaurant thinking "Man...I wish I thought of that concept."

Until now. I am officially jealous that I didn't come up with this idea.

DB~ heard about Burgatory from a work friend a week ago. The same day, my Dad (not on the cutting edge with technology, but is when it comes to burgers and hot dogs) also mentioned it to me. Burgatory has only been open for 2 weeks total. So me, Squiggle, and my parents went down yesterday to the Waterworks mall to check this scene out.

A few things first. Burgatory is located in the old Empress chinese restaurant space. I didn't even know the Empress closed down, let alone a new place opened up. We asked our server who owned Burgatory, as you can tell there is significant funding behind this restaurant. He said that the group that owns Fuel and Fuddle/Joe Mama's/Uncle Sam's owns this place too. Conveniently, there is an Uncle Sam's right next door to Burgatory and has been there for quite a few years.

The Empress was a very functional Chinese restaurant, sort of ahead of its time actually. However, with the rise of places like Tamari, Plum, and other sushi-based places, the Empress eventually couldn't compete. The interior was sort of bland in the Empress and relied on a lot of mirrors. Burgatory totalled gutted the interior and started over. The ceilings are exposed to the rafters and have the popular industrial look now. The walls have dark wood panel with exposed graining and a deep blood red paint on the walls. There are two sets of garage doors that will enable an open-air feel during summer time. The center of the restaurant has an extensive bar-in-the-round feel to it.

The walls also have a great graphic design to them with some tongue-in-cheek religious references like "Honor Thy Mother and Honor Thy Burger". There's also a humorous flowchart on one wall to help you decide what type of burger is best for you. The logo shown above is taken from their menu and has a "B" on fire at the bottom with a halo on top.

A lot of thought went into this concept and they took it all the way to the finish line. I commend the people behind this theme on that.

But I wouldn't be this effusive in my praise of a place if they food wasn't great, too. Squiggle and I heard their milkshakes (devilishly good burgers and heavenly milkshakes is their motto) were fantastic, so we split the S'Mores milkshake. It came out with one of the fattest marshmallows seen in captivity outside of its normal wild environs of Marshmallow Island. The ice cream had caramel, cinnamon, and some chocolate syrup in it. I wanted to take a bath in it. There are six types of "hard" milkshakes and six types of non-alcoholic milkshakes --- ours was an N/A.

There are normal menu items that you can order for burgers, in addition to a nice selection of appetizers, but the real star of the show is the Custom Creation section of the menu. They have little note pads at the table that you can go section by section to create your own burger.

First you select your patty: ground meat, chicken, crab, vegetable, sausage, or bison. My dad and I went with ground meat, DB~ with chicken, and my mom with bison.

Then you select your bun: brioche (a light in taste bun), baguette, whole wheat, focaccia, topless (only the bottom part), or full monty (no bun...a naked burger...get it?). Again, we all branched out on this one. I had brioche, my dad had baguette, DB~ had focaccia, and my mom had whole wheat.

You can also get a rub on your burger, no charge. There are six to pick from: Angel Dust (a garlic salt mix), Kona, BBQ dry rub, Kingston jerk, cracked peppercorn, and a Bayou Cajun. I had the Kona and it was awesome. Squiggle had the angel dust on her chicken. That name reminds me of PCP, though, which made me laugh.

You can get cheese for $1 and there are 8 types of cheeses to pick from ranging from standard cheddar to somewhat exotic like smoked gouda.

You can get one free sauce on your burger (I had chipotle sour cream, which was fantastic) and there are over 15 choices here.

There are no-cost toppings (lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapenos, pickles, spinach) and $1 toppings that span the spectrum from grilled onions to fried egg to grilled pineapple.

The cost can get away from you if you go crazy on toppings, but DB~ and I each made a $9 burger (hers was chicken) and our milkshake was $5.50. Our total tab was $24, with tip it was $28. That's more than you ideally spend on lunch for two, but the portions were huge enough to make it a well-priced place for dinner. Each burger is served with a blend of russet potato chips and sweet potato chips, which was a nice change of pace. Fries can be substituted for $1.

All in all...we will be back. The wait for this place is supposedly one hour for dinner on Friday and Saturday, so maybe try it for lunch first or go on a weekday night for dinner. It is well worth it.

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