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Another hamburger restaurant
I’m no economist, but if there’s one business that should be recession-proof, it’s hamburgers. They’re cheap and delicious, and America—the increasingly overweight nation that it is—loves them in all forms, (preferably) large or small.
Despite an unimaginative name, newly opened BGR The Burger Joint in Dupont Circle elevates the noble hamburger beyond its quotidian fast food status. It offers pretty standard burger joint fare, but with a handful of imaginative twists, like a ground lamb burger and sweet potato or asparagus spear French fries.
The restaurant itself thankfully forgoes the generic industrial look of other trendsetting “gourmet” burger joints like Good Stuff Eatery or Z “Five Guys Killer” Burger, and instead embraces a quirky and colorful 80s-influenced atmosphere. The decade’s classic album covers line one wall, hits from the era play over the speakers, and Roger Waters’ autographed axe hangs over one of the tables.
This clear attention to interior design carries over to the food. The burger patties, made with grain-fed, all-natural beef, are cooked over an open flame, all of which comes through in the quality of the patties’ taste and texture. They’re succulent and juicy, to the point that your fingers will quickly be soaked and your table littered with dirtied napkins. And the freshly baked, fluffy and slightly sweet buns do an admirable job of soaking up this juiciness.
The various accoutrements don’t disappoint either. My southwestern burger combined traditional pepper jack cheese and chipotle seasoning with a black bean and corn relish that, though mild compared to the meaty flavor of the burger, was still a refreshing contrast. The sweet potato fries—though a bit pricey at almost $4—are fresh, crispy and pleasantly sweet. The enormous portion is enough for two to split, and should probably be split—the entire serving becomes overpoweringly sweet about halfway through.
At over $15, a burger, fries and a drink is undeniably not cheap. The portions, however, are the hefty size one would expect from a restaurant that calls itself a burger joint, so that just a burger ($7 to $12) is more than enough.
McDonald’s has so profitably proven that Americans will eat just about any kind of hamburger, even one made with the lowest quality ingredients by a minimum wage-earning teenager. So it’s nice when, every once in awhile, joints like BGR The Burger Joint treat this venerated America icon with the respect it deserves.