3.24.2010

We Heart More Burgers

I don't understand the need to declare one burger joint the best. There are plenty of styles and variations of burgers to go around. And go around we do. The fact that Eddie now requests "buggahs" and "fies" has only encouraged our habit. Here are a few additions to last year's list.

Iceberg Drive Inn
Locations: Riverton, Salt Lake, Bountiful, Etc.

We used to frequent the very first Iceberg over on 3900 South for shakes when we lived in Sugar House. Then, not long after we moved to the south end of the valley, a Riverton location opened and we discovered their burgers and fries are not to be overlooked. But the "thick thick thick" shakes are still the primary draw.

In-N-Out Burger
Locations: West Jordan, Draper, American Fork, Orem

Kristen and I have observed with bewilderment the ridiculous hype that has accompanied In-N-Out Burger's arrival to the Wasatch Front. 20 cars in line at the drive-thru at nine in the morning? Really? The West Jordan location is only about two minutes from my office, so I have eaten there a few times now. The burgers themselves are good. They have a memorable, distinctive flavor. The fries are another matter. They are inexcusably bad. I have heard them defended as "healthier than other fries" and "an acquired taste." Well, I suppose I could acquire the taste of styrofoam if I ate enough of it.

I have a few theories about In-N-Out's insane popularity. First, the prices are low enough that you can feed a large Mormon family for like $10. Second, the brand has been shrewdly marketed to have a certain amount of mystique. For those of us not blessed to live in California (sarcasm alert), In-N-Out represents something out of the ordinary. Something you could only get when you went somewhere. Perhaps it conjures that elusive good feeling of being on vacation. I can only speculate that the next generation of Utahns won't feel quite the same way about In-N-Out now that they are all over the place.

SmashBurger
Locations: Draper, Sugar House, West Valley, Orem

After trying SmashBurger in Sugar House last summer, we had been waiting for the new Draper location to open with In-N-Out-esque anticipation. These burgers are a little more high end, and the price does reflect that. Their name is derived from the unique way they cook their meat. According to their website, they place a ball of angus beef on the grill, then smash it into a patty to "sear in the juices and flavor." I'll admit I was a bit skeptical of this gimmick at first, but it was hard to argue with the results. On our first visit Kristen declared it to be one of the best burgers she had ever eaten. The soft egg bun and tender patty seem to melt in your mouth as you sink your teeth in. A tasty companion to the burgers are the "smashfries," which are lightly seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, garlic, and rosemary.




Knock-Off Corner


Chadder's
Locations: American Fork, West Valley, Provo

The similarities between Chadder's and In-N-Out are transparent enough that legal action was being pursued at one point, and supposedly prompted In-N-Out to mount their Wasatch Front invasion. I did eat at Chadder's once, but it was over a year before In-N-Out's arrival so I can't compare them very accurately. It can't be a straight copycat though because I seem to remember actually liking their fries.

JCW's Burger Boys
Locations: Lehi, American Fork

I'm not sure if JCW's is a deliberate knock-off or not, but the menu and overall vibe of the restaurant reminded me quite a bit of the Training Table, sans phones.

Jumbo Burgers
Locations: Riverton, Ogden

Just what we needed... another Crown Burger clone.

10 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'm curious if you frequent 5 Guys Burgers and Fries and how they compare to Smashburger. 5 Guys is pretty darn good. I will have to agree with you on the In and Out fries, we got some the other day, not good.

Christie said...

We tried Smashburger for the first time this weekend. Very tasty, especially the buns. I haven't tried 5 guys, so am curious how it compares. Ditto on the in-n-out fries.. why do I eat them anyway?

The big H is still my fave :-)

Dave said...

Five Guys made my first burger list, as did Hires Big H. As far as comparing Five Guys to SmashBurger, they are both good, just different. Five Guys is a little more blue collar, SmashBurger is a little more upscale. Both have created a taste and style all their own.

Kristina Carter said...

I'm with you on the In-n-Out thing. I had it the first time on a design trip in California. I couldn't believe anyone liked it. I thought it was terrible. The burger was subpar the fries disgusting and the shake was good but pretty much exactly like McDonald's shakes.

Cheeseboy said...

I'm with you all the way... who cares what name is on the front of the burger joint - just as long as it is a good burger.

There is a new place on 21st south and 3rd west, by the Costco that is terrific too. I can't think of it's name, but they have 2-3 locations I think. DANG IT! WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT JOINT!

Jessica said...

theres a burger place i've been meaning to check out for my blog up 90th south area called Salt City Burger or something like that. Anyway.. thanks for the updated list! I heard smash burgers were pretty tasty. I am partial to Millies burgers on 21st south.

Krissy said...

I would say that 5 Guys does not really compare to Smashburger. Of course, I am quite partial to Smashburger. I think that Smashburger is the only place I have ever gone to where I bit into a hamburger and said, "I think this is the best hamburger I have ever eaten." And on our second visit, I was not disappointed.

Cheeseboy said...

I believe the new place that I was thinking about is called "Scaddy's". It's on about 2100 south and 3rd west. I think there is another in American fork.

Eric and Shelene said...

Salt City Burger in Sandy is definately worth checking out.

Dave said...

I guess I must have missed the memo that Salt City was introducing burgers to supplement the candles.