originally this post was named pine twenty2 for a restaurant that came recommended by a friend at work and we visited over the weekend. It is in the heart of downtown Orlando and we got there around 6:20 on Friday night. We were a little surprised at how empty it was and figured we were just too early. It says build your own burgers, Bordeaux and barbeque in giant letters on the wall. When we walked in we were confronted with a counter service where you have to fill out a big checklist for your burger that has sections starting with burger type, bun, cheese, sauces, toppings and finally premium toppings. There were also check boxes for sweet potato or pine fries (shoestring) on the front and various others on the back of the form where all the pre-decided burgers resided. We missed quite a bit of menu options based on feeling hurried through the process. I messed up my first form with their golf pencils and had to stash it in my bag and grab another. I do see now where I missed fried pies on the back which surely would have been added to our order and how did I miss the Bordeaux? Anyhow, I settled on beef, regular bun, mild cheddar, Chipotle aioli, charred onions and Applewood smoked bacon. Not too inventive but I would know based on those items if I would be back to potentially try something a bit more challenging. The burgers came out pretty quickly. I am happy to report the burgers were super juicy and my choice of toppings were goopy enough to satisfy me. I inexplicably love a goopy burger. The fries were kinda funny and I felt like I was shoving them in my face and realized after the fact I should have used a fork on them. We really enjoyed the food though and will be returning soon.
The reason for changing the name of this post from pine twenty2 to burgers is this. I really don’t think the burger landscape in Orlando is that great but due to the fact that it is national burger month it is popping up everywhere I look. I popped in to let my friend know we had checked out the restaurant and enjoyed it and we were talking about the burger scene. Not an hour later he was in my office saying an Orlando Sentinel reporter wanted to chat about burgers based on a tweet he made. Something about Five Guys, Pine twenty2 or American Graffiti. He and I had a brief conversation that there weren’t many places around for a great burger. At lunch, I followed up with my table in the cafe and asked, ‘What is the best burger in town?’ I got three four of six responses of Five Guys. I don’t know how I feel about that exactly. I think their burger is ok – pretty good even, but hate the fries and wish that some of the comments had been something other than one chain. Five Guys can’t be all that there is. No one else could think of anything. That took us to a conversation about gourmet burgers, which I can’t decide should even be a real thing. Gourmet? Top quality ingredients. Check. Careful prep and cooking. Check. Not pressing every ounce of juice out of the patty. Check. I have a rather lengthy bucket list of burger joints across the US to try as we travel but chains they aren’t.
Picked up my mail as I came in the door tonight and there was a Publix Grape (quarterly wine circular from our local market) advertising turning your house into a gourmet burger bistro on the front cover. I guess gourmet burgers are a generic term in America now like love or Kleenex or Coke. Good thing I love them.