Longtime Philly caterer and restaurateur (The Commissary, Frog) Steve Poses is getting into the burger business with the upcoming launch of Frog Burger, a “backyard burger stand” opening May 29 on the Parkway at the Franklin Institute. We caught up with Poses, who was in the midst of tasting the Frog’s signature Love Burger (more on that later), to get the details on the project, which will be open through September under the stainless steel airplane on the Franklin’s front lawn. Click through to find out which local burger blend Poses picked over New York’s famed Pat LaFrieda, which of Poses’s signature desserts will be served blended into a milkshake and what that Love Burger is all about. Oh, and did we mention it has a liquor license?
“My ethic is this should be unpretentious and backyard-like,” says Poses. “It’s in a tent, there’s no structure, there’s picnic table seating, like you’re in your backyard, but it’s the front yard of the Franklin Institute. I’ve been involved with Center City development for 40 years and to see the Parkway getting energized — it’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Frog Burger will serve an eclectic menu: a basic burger; a marinara burger and a turkey burger; a Hebrew National hot dog; a Peekytoe “crab roll” (think lobster roll, but with crab); gazpacho; fried green tomatoes; grilled sweet corn with chili lime butter; fresh corn and sweet pepper salad; plus garlic, jalapeno, cheese or regular fries. But, says Poses, “The burgers are the centerpiece.”
The signature “Love” Burger is — hang on to your statins — a triple-decker of a sort, composed of a beef patty inserted between two grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with a remoulade amped up with chopped bacon. The burger is the handiwork of Poses’s 23-year-old son Noah. “I was skeptical, but it was terrific,” Poses said after the final tasting.
Poses and his team did four rounds of burger meat tasting — all blind — sampling 18 different burger blends, including a number from famed NYC meat man Pat LaFrieda, plus multiple “local fancy blends,” as Poses puts it, which included cuts of oxtail, skirt steak and brisket. “Our motto is ‘juicy burgers’ and the three categories we judged on were taste, texture and juiciness.” In the end, says Poses, “how it’s cooked is a more important factor than having an exotic blend. Burgers must be handled gently, you can’t press them to hard, you have to have a hot enough grill to get a good char.” Ultimately, an 80/20 house blend from local purveyor Esposito’s beat out the other contenders.
For dessert, Poses is serving his signature carrot cake and chocolate fudge “killer cake” either in solid form or blended up in shakes. If you want something more spirited, they’ll be serving beer, wine and sangria on weekdays after 4 p.m. and all day on weekends.
Frog Burger, Franklin Institute, Opens May 29