Shake Shack may have a new contender in the burger arena.
The full-service chain caters to the health-conscious crowd, using organic ingredients and offering more healthy and exotic alternatives – elk, duck, and wild boar burgers are all options, as well as a myriad of vegan choices.
Bareburger’s first location opened in 2009 in Queens, and they have now grown to 27 locations nationwide, with a further nine US locations planned to open this fall including a massive 5,000 square foot multilevel restaurant in Midtown NYC.
The chain also has locations in Canada, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.
I headed to their Chelsea location to see if Bareburger has what it takes to tackle the ever-crowded burger industry and bring something new with its elevated ingredients.
Bareburger has over 20 locations in New York state alone - I set my sights on their Chelsea restaurant on 8th Ave. and 18th.
It's a full table service chain, so you have to wait to be seated. Luckily, I got a little table right away.
Even the kitchen area keeps in line with the trendy homespun vibe, with hammered metal accents, lots of bare wood, and quirky illustrations.
The menu is one page, double-sided, with a separate beer and wine menu. But don't let that fool you - there are many choices to be made. You can order a burger off the menu, or build your own custom masterpiece. You can choose everything from the meat down to the special sauces.
They also make use of local produce and food products, including ice cream, cheeses, breads, veggies, and sodas.
They really embrace the bear themed decor - there are tons of these guys on the walls, all decorated differently.
I had my meal within 12 minutes of ordering, which didn't seem that bad for a busy time of day. I ordered the 'Blue Elk' burger with a side of onion rings with some iced tea.
I like to consider myself something of an onion ring connoisseur, and these ones priced at $5 do not disappoint. They're piping hot - clearly just fried.
The batter is crispy and well seasoned, and the ring holds together. Plus, there's actual onion in every bite. I just can't stand onion-less onion rings.
The iced tea comes in three flavours - I chose white peach. It's incredibly refreshing, and tastes like real tea! Also, it's barely sweetened, which is a welcome respite from most sugar-water flavours.
Back to the important stuff: the burger. It's loaded. At $12.65, it's not cheap, but you get what you pay for in both quantity and quality.
The Blue Elk burger is a huge elk patty slathered in Amish blue cheese, caramelised onions, and a sweet tomato fig jam. On top of that are slices of thick country bacon, which add a perfect salty compliment to the fig spread. All of this is sandwiched in what seemed to be a hearty whole wheat bun.
The burgers are cooked to order, and I prefer mine medium-rare. And they delivered; almost a little rarer than I like, but delicious nonetheless. And the patty is just so huge!
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