Four Burgers

September 8th, 2009 by Richard Chudy

Four Burgers has been on our radar for a while now. They boast using fresh, local ingredients, and being mindful of the environment, but really, who doesn’t these days? Whether it’s true or not is anybody’s guess. Going against my personal burger philosophy, they have four basic burger options; ground beef, turkey, salmon, and vegetarian. Sounds simple, but they offer numerous toppings, some free, some not, and that’s where the complications arise. I like the options, but it’s almost too many options.

We arrive on a late Saturday afternoon, and it’s not very busy, in fact we walk right up to the counter and order. But I can only imagine a scenario, say lunchtime, where there is a long line, and you’re stuck behind someone who can’t decide between the type of bun, type of fries, single or double and which toppings to include. It seems to me they ought to have a checklist available at the table to hand in when you’re ready to order. Not only that, but the menu is tiny, you really can’t even read it until you’re at the front of the line and it’s difficult to determine which toppings are free and which are not. It’s really deceptively simple, I wish they would have created more complete burger options, for those in a hurry, or for those who simply can’t make up their mind.

But I digress, let’s get to it. The first problem I encountered was whether to order a single or double burger. The woman behind the counter was unsure how many ounces each patty was, and sort of guessed that it was 5 ounces. So I order a double, regular fries and a soda (which was warm from the bottle), and it came to around $13, which I can live with. There is a decent amount of tables and I like the space, it’s very minimal, industrial even, very sleek, even if the floors are rather dirty. Little things really grab me, both negatively and positively, and Four Burgers has more little annoyances than anything else. Nothing major, but enough to frustrate me.

I order chipotle aioli, but it comes on the side, and there is no ketchup or mustard inside the burger. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me, if a burger comes assembled (ie, closed bun) I expect some sort of condiment inside, I shouldn’t have to reconstruct. Again, the pickles come on the side, spears I understand, but chips, for me, should be in the burger. The meat is good, juicy and cooked more rare than medium rare, but I’ll take it under-cooked than over-cooked any day of the week. I know I’ve preached about the glories of salt before, but as easily as food can be under-seasoned, it can just as easily be over-seasoned as well. It doesn’t happen often, as I have a heavy hand with salt myself, but the beef was too salty and it was a little unpleasant. The fries were dismal. Overly greased, they had no salt, complete opposite of the burgers. They tasted old and more like a potato chip, a true disappointment.

Overall, everything was a bit too greasy. I realize we are eating fast food essentially, but I want the grease in the food, not all over my hands, if that makes sense. In general, I like the concept, I like having options and all, but there seemed to be a lack of attention to detail, like they seemed in a rush to open a burger place. They throw around buzz words like, “fresh, local and environmentally friendly,” but really they should have spent more time on the burgers, overall flow and service of the restaurant to be more successful. A tasty burger? You bet, if not a little salty, and there really is something for everyone, but certainly not burger perfection.

Overall Score: 80

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