Long a supporter of local and unique dining options who shies away from the big chains whenever possible, I left The Burger Joint (BGR) in Columbia surprisingly satisfied and sure of one thing: I’ll be back. Soon.
Featured nationally on several shows, as well as in several publications, BGR lives up to the hype. Sticking with the “take a number and pick up your order at the counter” system popular throughout the country at present, BGR allows for minimal staffing with the emphasis on keeping prices reasonable while producing quality food quickly.
With about ten burger choices from which to choose, I selected the recommended Wellington. A former “burger of the month” so popular it became the house specialty, the Wellington is made-to-order, but generally comes with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, black truffles, blue cheese, mojo sauce , seasonings and my favorite component: foie gras.
Unlike at many other casual chain restaurants, my medium-rare burger actually came exactly as ordered and juicy and bursting with flavor. The respective ingredients blended well together in the given portions and I could taste and identify the minerally delicious foie gras, but I couldn’t see it in quantity. Upon bringing this to the attention of the cook, he brought me back to the counter, showed me the mixture of mushrooms and foie gras placed on the burger, and gave me a heaping sample which I (naturally) could not refuse.
Although I generally gravitate to the more unique of choices, my dining companions opted for the more traditional burger topped with American cheese, and were also very pleased with the preparation and flavor. In fact, the only point of slight contention among us was the fact that the burgers were so juicy that they needed to be enjoyed rather quickly in order to avoid allowing the bun, delicious and fresh in its own right, to become soggy. Personally, I wouldn’t even consider this to be a problem. Besides, mine did not last long enough for me to even consider that possibility.
Finally, I would be remiss in failing to mention that the à la carte sides, specifically the sweet potato fries, were fresh, delicious, and of generous portions. Additionally the “freestyle” Coca Cola machine provided many drink options, even an oft hard to come by variety of good diet soda selections.
Although it may have multiple locations, The Burger Joint should not be viewed as just another chain. While growing in size, this “burger joint” is clearly also growing in fan base and can now add one more to the list.