October 13th, 2014 by Richard Chudy
Hey look, another Shake Shack look alike. I’m not talking the specific model, of course; fast causal burger and shake places far pre-date Shake Shack. But in terms of the actual color schemes and physical look and feel of the space, BurgerFi is far from original. The process is basic: you order at a counter with options aplenty, a few minutes pass and the food is ready. See, that’s not so hard, is it?BurgerFi, based out of Florida and with locations across the country, has the premise that they set themselves apart with different topping options from their competitors. That may be true, with options like neon relish, salt and vinegar chips and Peter Luger steak sauce all optional add-ons; some are free, some are an extra dollar. Pre-arranged burgers are limited (with a “secret” menu also available if you are in the know) to fairly normal options, and the menu is rounded out with the usual fries, onion rings, sodas, concretes and custards.
I opted for a single cheeseburger with neon relish, Peter Luger steak sauce, cry and fries (an onion rings and fry combo) and a red velvet shake. The bun, with an imprinted logo of BurgerFi, is a soggy, wasteland of an end product. It’s not a classic, squishy potato roll you may be expecting, but a sad, state of affairs grocery store bun one would be hard pressed to pass off to guests at a backyard barbecue. Needless to say it’s a mushy mess and a cheap and poor choice at that. The patty, however, is actually quite appealing, at least based on the scene and parameters at play. It’s your classic Angus beef, but a clear step up from the massive burger chains we all grew up with, but still not on the level of higher end fast casual burger spots, namely Shake Shack and Flat Patties. The seasoning is fine and although quite thin, the couple of bites it took me to gobble it all down wasn’t a huge misfire. I suspect doubling the beef/patty is probably the way to go in the future. Melted American cheese is gooey, one of the dominant flavors and totally works. Neon relish is a wacky, as promised, bright green and acidic relish with personality. The color is unnatural but who the hell cares; it’s got a nice zip and for a free add-on, I’m not mad at it. Peter Luger steak sauce (I’ve never had it, always been curious) comes on the side and is rather skimpy, especially for the extra dollar, is basically a horseradish heavy ketchup. Normally I’m not a lettuce and tomato guy on my burger, but for free filler I’d probably recommend the added vegetation to once again at least attempt a Shake Shack imitation. Fries are woefully under-seasoned but sort of crispy, and massive onion rings (like the size of a hubcap massive) are visually stunning but are not fried properly. You essentially receive half of a friggin’ onion, but they aren’t cooked long enough so it’s all grease, raw onion and slippery batter. The shake is fine and filling, not worth the trip on its own but serviceable by shake and custard standards.
BurgerFi isn’t trying to do much, if anything different, it’s merely another burger chain in a long line of ordinary burger chains. The beef is a step up from 5 Guys and McDonald’s I’d say, but “different” toppings and mediocre sides are not enough to warrant much of a recommendation or a return visit.
Overall Score: 75