Burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers.
Tired of hearing about burgers yet? (Just wait.) Smashburger, which I first told you was coming to town in august, has opened in the former Boardwalk Fresh Burger space on Colonial Drive across from Fashion Square Mall.
But before we visit Smashburger, let's take a look at another new pattie pusher, this one a nonchain (so far) and from a local restaurateur, Manny Tato, owner of Spice Modern.
That restaurant lends its name, if not all of its vowels, to Spice Burgr, which has opened in the ground level of the Plaza highrise in downtown Orlando. It's similar to a number of other burgeries that dot the landscape these days, from Five Guys to BurgerFi to Burger 21. It's a fast casual concept: place your order at the counter then take a seat (or standby for takeout) and your food will be delivered when ready. (If you take a seat, avoid the booths, which for some reason were designed to prevent diners' feet from touching the floor.)
The space is not very attractive and rather spartan in its decor, but Spice Burgr has something to recommend, and that would be its burger, which is pretty darned good.
The meat is touted as "all organic, all natural and grass-fed" with no hormones, antibiotics, fillers or nitrites. The result is a patty that tastes like meat. I ordered a "traditional," which is a basic burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese with mayonnaise and pickles on a buttered bun. It comes as a single for $5.95 or a double for $7.95. I got the single, and it was plenty to eat.
The patty was juicy, thick enough to be cooked to order, and it still had plenty of pinkness in the middle. The cheese seemed to be a pre-melted ladled on sort of substance that wasn't bad but wasn't what I would have preferred. (I would have preferred swiss, but it was not an option.) The burger had plenty of good flavor and I wound up eating the whole thing. (Not that it's huge, but I generally eat half and take the rest with me.)
I got the burger with a side of tater tots. They did not seem to be of the frozen Ore-Ida variety, though these totted taters didn't have much in the way of flavor (some seasonings might help). They were easy to push aside. It was all served in a plastic basket lined with the sort of fake newspaper usually used for fish and chips, but it works.
The staff is eager and helpful and the food comes out of the kitchen at a decent pace. A good choice for downtowners on a lunch break.
Spice Burgr is in one of the storefronts in the unwelcomingly dark passageway that leads from the property's courtyard on Orange Avenue to its even darker drive-through between the highrises. I wondered what sort of architect would design such a dismal space for businesses but then realized it's probably the same person who designed the worst parking garage access in town.
Better to park elsewhere and take your burger someplace sunny to eat. I liked my Spice Burgr and am happy to recommend it.
Spice Burgr is at 165 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-650-9134.