That One Spot

Written by Scott Joseph on .

One Spot interior

I had been hearing a lot lately about That One Spot, the flippantly named burger flipper in Ocoee, and just about all of it good. So when I found myself in the neighborhood, I stopped by to give it a try. Frankly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Except for receiving a burger that was cooked precisely to my preferred temperature, a beautiful medium rare, there was nothing else about the experience that would make me return.

Beth's Burger Bar

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Beths burger

Finally had a chance to stop by Beth’s Burger Bar in downtown Orlando the other day, and found it to be a fairly underwhelming experience.

As is becoming the predominant style among new restaurants, Beth’s is a fast casual concept wherein guests order at the counter and then take a seat to wait for a staff member to deliver the food.

Ordering is a three step process. You must first decide on the patty -- single, double, triple, veggie or chicken. Then you choose toppings -- cheese, sauce, and other usual accouterments, such as lettuce, tomatoe and onions. And then a side item, if desired, of “classic” fries, sweet potato fries, chips or deep fried pickles, called frickles.

A humorless young woman took my order: single patty, swiss cheese, classic fries. To my request to have the burger prepared medium-rare, she responded, “They come out medium anyway,” as if that were the same thing. It’s not, of course.

B&B Junction

Written by Scott Joseph on .

BandB burgerThe grand opening of B&B Junction, the business that took over the space previously occupied by the original 4 Rivers Smokehouse, is Sunday. However, the invitation for the event, which is to feature “free burgers, salads, and more” plus samples from local purveyors, mentions “complimentary trolley rides to event from the corner of Park Ave. and Fairbanks Ave.,” which is about two miles away. Picturing crushing crowds (did I mention the part about free food?) I decided I would stop in for a pre-grand opening visit.

Burger 21

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Burger 21 burgerNext up in the burgerization of Central Florida: Burger 21. Despite the name, this is not an adults-only restaurant. I don’t know why 21 was the number the burgery decided to go with, but I suppose it’s as good a number as any. There are 21 burgers on the menu, and the franchise says that it supports neighborhood charities and organizations on the 21st of each month. But that’s about it for the 21 trope. The place makes more use, to the point of overuse, with the first letter of burger -- B cause, B different, B gluten-free...you get the idea.

BurgerFi (Fie)

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Burgerfi burgerI just paid my last visit to BurgerFi, the latest player to enter Central Florida’s resurgent burger market. Inasmuch as it was also my first visit to Park Avenue operation of the Delray-based chain, you can probably tell how things went.

BurgerFi joins other mid-level burger joints such as Five Guys and Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries, which I reviewed recently. I call them mid-level because they rise above the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, but they aren’t in the upscale category, such as you’d find at Fleming’s or Morton’s.

BurgerFi is certainly closer to the fast-fooders in its operation. It’s actually a fast-casual restaurant, one where you order at a counter and then take a seat to have your food delivered when ready. That part involves an interesting bit of technology. The checkout person hands the customer a device similar to a coaster-style pager like you might get at a full service restaurant to notify you when your table is ready. But rather than vibrating and lighting up to signify you should return to the host stand, the BurgerFi device lets the food runner know which table you’re sitting at so he or she can deliver your food.

L'Autre Table

Written by Scott Joseph on .

lautre table schranksREIMS, FRANCE -- Benjamin Schrank, the chef owner of a small restaurant in Reims, France, speaks fluent English and has a slight French accent. The English isn’t surprising, given that Schrank was born and raised in Central Florida. The accent is curious, however, seeing that by his own admission until only a few years ago his French vocabulary was restricted to bonjour, merci and au revoir.

Schrank, 30, operates l’Autre Table, which occupies a corner space on Boulevard General Leclerc across from the park that stretches along the north side of the old city. He was classically trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and following his graduation he cooked at Cafe de France on Winter Park’s Park Avenue.

But it’s a big leap to go from cooking at a French restaurant in Florida to being an American living and cooking in the heart of the Champagne region. At the center of the explanation, as is so often the case, is a love story.

Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Boardwalk BurgerIt’s pretty difficult to walk in to the recently opened Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries franchise on Colonial Drive and not think of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I mean, besides that they both sell burgers and fries. It seems clear, at least to me, that Boardwalk is emulating the Five Guys style, even though a comparison of the two companies’ timelines would suggest Boardwalk has been around longer.

Boardwalk had burger franchises “coast to coast” in 1987, according to its website; Five Guys opened five locations (one for each guy?) between 1986 and 2001, all in the Washington, D.C., area. A closer look at Boardwalk’s story shows that after those “coast to coast” franchises opened in ’87, customers started asking for more than just burgers, so they added the fries. Sort of makes you wonder if the customers who asked for more said, “You know, like Five Guys.” Something else that makes me curious: Five Guys is out of D.C.; Boardwalk started in White Marsh, Maryland. 

Dive Bar

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Dive_BarDive Bar certainly is aptly named.

 

It’s of course meant to be a play on words for the type of establishment that is perhaps a bit shady, and also, in this case, for its decor, which is marine-like. DB’s Facebook page includes this definition by quote: “A church for down-and-outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows — bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities. It’s a place that wears its history proudly,” although it gives no attribution for the quote (it’s from Playboy).

Best Burger in Orlando Search 2011

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Here is the final ballot in our 2011 Best Burger in Orlando Search. All tallies have been reset to zero, so be sure to vote again. Think of the last two weeks as the primaries; now is the general election.

Please vote only once, but you're welcome to cheer on your favorite by leaving a comment below. Voting will end at midnight on November 14. Winner will be announce on Nov. 15. May the best burger win.

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Twisted Burger

Written by Scott Joseph on .

I recently popped in to Twisted Burger, the ground beeferia that took over the space vacated by Pizza Fusion on Sand Lake Road. Things got off to an inauspicious start.

Twisted_Burger_InteriorThe young woman behind the counter was just finishing with the order of the couple in front of me as I looked over the menu board on the back wall. As the couple walked away, the staffer looked at me and said, “Are you ready to order?”

Why, I’m just fine, thanks for asking, and I appreciate the warm welcome to your place of business.

I requested a Twisted Burger, which I figured was the signature item. As near as I could tell from the menu board, the thing that makes it twisted is that it is grilled with cheddar cheese. Wow, that is just sick! Who comes up with these crazy combinations?

I waited for the young woman to ask me how I would like the burger cooked, and when she didn’t I told her I would like it medium-rare. She explained that they usually cook them medium-well, and that medium was the best she could do. “We’re not supposed to cook them less than that because of health reasons,” she said.

Well, at least she didn’t say they couldn’t do it because it’s a state law, which is a dodge a lot of restaurants employ. To go over it one more time, state law says that a restaurant must cook ground beef burgers medium-well unless -- unless -- the customer requests otherwise. At TB, apparently, the customer’s request doesn’t matter.