Burger Mania: No End in Sight


If you want a good test of the economy, just look at the restaurant industry hereabouts. It wasn’t all that long ago that restaurateurs were vying to outdo one another with high-end eateries that oozed high-style design and sex appeal, with glittering bars, top-flight chefs and global menus. Then came bistros, cafés and tapas bars, more casual eateries that seemed to suit the zeitgeist. Now, we’ve descended another rung or two—every other new restaurant opening seems to be a burger place—or a taco bar or pizza joint. What’s next, peanut butter and jelly?

I like a good burger as much as the next person, I really do, and restaurateurs are obviously giving people what they want (and can afford). There are just so many burger places now, it’s hard to get excited when a new one comes along.

That being said, there’s still plenty of life in the trend, as demonstrated by the debut of BGR: The Burger Joint in West Hartford last week. The BGR chain has 14 franchises, mostly in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and South Carolina, with three more on the way.

The burgers are primo, made with dry-aged all-natural (no hormones, fillers or antibiotics) grain-fed beef, cooked over an open flame, and served on a brioche bun.

There’s also a veggie burger, a turkey burger, what the Washingtonian magazine called “the best lobster roll in Washington,” sliders—and The Greek, an outrageous sounding lamb burger (“fresh-ground leg of lamb seasoned with cumin, mint and garlic, topped with tzatziki sauce and feta cheese”), a winning creation on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.”

Also on the menu: onion rings, sweet potato fries, shakes and floats. And beer and wine, an important advance in the world of fast food. I especially like that you can get something green here—grilled asparagus spears sprinkled with Parmesan. Sign me up!

BGR, The Burger Joint, 938 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, 860/523-3152.

Burger Mania: No End in Sight

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