John Collazo, the chef and owner of the Foodster Award-winning Bad As’s Sandwich shop in the Milk District, has opened a burger version called Bad As’s Burgers in Curry Ford West District. Yes, you could make the argument that a burger is also a sandwich but let’s not niggle.
Also known as B.A. Burgers, at least on its Facebook page, the new concept moved into the storefront that previously was Kathi Rolls and before that the inaccurately named Forever Naan. (It started out as a Hungry Howie’s Pizza; anyone who ever ate one knew why Howie was hungry.) (I assume by calling it B.A. Burgers or even using the unnecessary apostrophe in As’s is meant to thwart social media algorithms.)
The menu is true to its name – all burgers and all made with meat. No chicken, no pretend meat, no vegetables or mushrooms served between buns. And the beef is all Australian wagyu. (We’ll save the discussion about the mainstreaming of the wagyu classification for another time, too, right after we get around to talking about what 100 percent angus beef means.)
Like the sandwiches from the sister operation – or brother operation; I can never tell with sandwiches – the burgers are substantial and well crafted. I sampled three: the BA Original; the Italian Job; and the Apocalypto.
I think I preferred the original most. It had two patties uncomplicatedly topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and house-made pickles, with melted havarti cheese and a sesame-dotted bun slathered with a garlic-infused blend of mayo and ketchup.
The Italian Job (thank you for not using the more common derogatory name) had the same two patties decorated with candied tomatoes, sliced pepperoni and mozzarella and manchego cheeses. I didn’t detect the arugula that was promised in the menu listing, just regular chopped lettuce. But it was also a nice burger.
The Apocalypto wasn’t as destructive as it might sound unless you consider bacon, smoked cheddar and deep fried jalapeño poppers on a burger to be a sign of the end of civilization.
You can order the jalapeño poppers as a side item, as I did, but you may be disappointed in paying $3.69 for three poppers, as I was.
I had expected to be more taken with the beef tallow fries, which were also $3.69. (Most of the signature burgers are $16 or $17, a reasonable price for the quality.) The fries were rather mundane and not very flavorful. Some people may remember that McDonald’s originally got its reputation for addictive fries because they were boiled in tallow. Must have been another secret.
I also got a side order of the seasonal mushrooms, which would probably serve better as a burger topping, that is if the burgers weren’t already substantially topped.
As with many small operations, BA Burgers encourages online ordering or the use of a digital kiosk for walk-in customers. The variations and add ons are a bit more extensive than they need to be. And there is no option to request a burger to be cooked to a specific temperature. Despite the do-it-yourself ordering, the staff was warm and welcoming when I arrived to pick up my food.
The burgers might have been a bit better if they had been medium-rare, but they were just fine as they were.
Bad As’s Burgers is at 4205 Curry Ford Road, Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily (closes at 5 p.m. Sundays). The phone number is 407-601-4363.