Burger Mania: Three new burger joints offer a mind-boggling array of tasty options. | Wine | Salt Lake City Weekly

Burger Mania: Three new burger joints offer a mind-boggling array of tasty options. 

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Now that the holiday season is receding in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to put away the turkey, ham, eggnog and Champagne, and get on to some real food and drink. By which I mean, of course, burgers and beer. n

Three interesting new burger emporiums have recently landed on the scene—one in Sandy, another in Salt Lake City and the third up in Park City. Each is worth your while, but each is drastically different, too. The one thing they have in common: burgers and fries.


Folks in Sandy now have a good new alternative to the mega-franchises that rule the roost there: Salt City Burger Co. Located in the sprawling Quarry Bend Shopping Center, Salt City Burger Co. is brought to you by the owner of Su Casa. And if you happen to like walnut, you’re going to like the look of Salt City Burger Co. That’s because virtually everything in the large, spacious restaurant is walnut-colored: the walls, the tables, the booths, the chairs … even the burgers arrive cooked to a near-walnut finish.


The setup at Salt City Burger Co. is much like Fuddruckers’. What you get is a basic burger and then load it up yourself with toppings from the fixin’s bar. There’s table service at Salt City Burger Co., so you place your order with a server, who relays it instantly to the kitchen via a handheld wireless Palm-type device. This cuts down considerably on waiting time since the kitchen can get started charbroiling your burger before the server leaves to fetch your soda. Sadly, there’s no beer or wine at Salt City, but you can get a decent root beer float ($2.99), chocolate-peanut-butter shake ($3.99) and fresh lemonade ($2.49).


Salt City burgers are one-third pound of Premium USDA Choice Beef, which is charbroiled (in theory) to your liking. My medium-rare burger showed up closer to medium but still had tons of flavor. A plain burger is $5.29; cheeseburgers (with a choice of cheddar, Swiss, provolone or pepper jack) are $5.79. Free toppings include red onion, tomato, lettuce, pickles and fry sauce. Gourmet toppings (59¢-$1.29) range from sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions to teriyaki grilled pineapple and sliced pastrami.


What really rocked me, though, were the Salt City Burger Co. fries. I had a “Half & Half” order ($1.99) of crispy, skin-on potato fries and sweet-potato fries, and both were sensational—some of the best fries I’ve had. And the portion was plenty big enough for two people to share. The sweet-potato fries had a delicate crust and were crunchy, not chewy like sweet spud fries so often are. Go for the burgers; stay for the fries.


The Counter Custom Built Burgers is a national chain with a new store recently opened in The Gateway. If you’re into options and customization, you’ll be dazzled by the choices facing you at The Counter, where your first decision is to sit at the counter or at a table. There’s full service at both, which you’d expect at a place where the burgers start at $7.50. According to the folks at The Counter HQ, there are at least 312,120 possible burger permutations available. For starters, there are eight different burgers—from “The Purist” (one-third pound of 100-natural Angus beef) to the Burger of the Month (during my visit, it was a $13 ahi tuna burger with fresh avocado and saffron aioli).


Frankly, ordering lunch at The Counter can hurt your head. First, you choose your burger. Next, pick a type of cheese (there are 10, including Gruyere and Danish Blue). Now things get tricky: You’ll select up to four free toppings from a list of 18, which includes roasted red peppers, hard-boiled eggs and dried cranberries. To further complicate things, there’s another list of “Premium” toppings ($1 each), including sun-dried tomatoes and Black Forest ham. But wait! There’s more. You’ll need to select a sauce from a list of 18, ranging from ginger soy glaze or Russian dressing to peanut sauce or mayonnaise. But, not … quite … done … yet. You still haven’t selected a bun. There’s a regular hamburger bun, a honey-wheat bun, English muffin and, on the day I visited, Texas toast. For my money, The Counter burgers were good, not great, and certainly pricey. But if truly “having it your way” floats your boat, you’ll probably love The Counter’s custom built burgers.


At Flippin’ Burgers in Park City’s Snow Creek Plaza, the options aren’t quite so maddening. First, all of the 100 percent certified Angus beef quarter-pound burgers ($4.89/$5.59 w/cheese) are “cooked through.” Says so right on the menu. So don’t even think of asking for a rare burger. Not that you would anyway, since these burgers are thin, flapjack-style—flattened to about a quarter-inch thick. They’d be difficult to cook any way but “through.” And I like ’em that way, topped with a choice of American, cheddar, pepper jack, provolone or Swiss cheese. Order your burger at the walk-up counter (and why not a Wasatch beer while you’re there?) and it’s delivered to your table when ready. Free toppings include jalapeños, tomato, onion, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, mayo and pickles. In addition, there’s a cool collection of dozens of incendiary hot sauces. The thin-cut, skin-on fries are great, too, but the neatest thing about Flippin’ Burgers is the men’s room poster of Farah Fawcett skateboarding—and showing perfect form.


n18 S. Rio Grande Street, 801-297-1000, TheCounterBurger.com


n1300 Snow Creek Dr., Park City, 435-658-1809, FlippinBurgers.net


n9176 S. Village Shop Dr., Sandy, 801-495-4111, SaltCityBurgerCo.com

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