Trend Watch: Burgers, Burgers, Everywhere!

The burger-focused restaurant has been gaining traction nationally, and Philly is pulling in its fair share of the all-American trend. While chains like Cheeburger Cheeburger and Five Guys have infiltrated our area over the past few years (as well as a local outpost of NYC Goodburger — which char-grills its meat), we are starting to see a second round of options, both homegrown and new-concept chains.

New Chains
We are happy to report that The Counter, this kick-ass chain burger I had while visiting my brother in Charlotte, is opening up a Philly location as part of their planned expansion. The Jones-like retro interior is only half the fun: Here, you build your burger like you would build a salad or omelet, by checking of boxes on a form. Choose your meat (beef, turkey, chicken, and sometimes specials like lamb), cheese, toppings, sauce (think caramelized onion marmalade, Russian dressing, spicy sour cream, and ginger soy glaze, to name a few) and then your bun, which can even be an English muffin. You’ve got to get the “Fifty-Fifty,” an order of half regular and half sweet potato fries. If you can’t tell already, I’m really looking forward to The Counter’s Philly foray. I’ll keep you updated.

Phoodie recently reported that Elevation Burger is about to open in Wynnewood (with two more area locations coming soon). The Virginia-based company is jumping on the (relatively) good-for-everyone train by offering beef from organically raised cows and fresh-cut potatoes fried in olive oil. You can stack the patties as high as you like or order the “half the guilt burger” with one meat and one veggie patty. They’ve got shakes, malteds, and root beer floats too.

Stephen Starr recently opened up a still nameless burger shack in Franklin Square, serving burgers for $5 as well as dogs, fries, and shakes. The operation is running out of a tent while a permanent structure is being built.

Last week we reported on the June opening of Doghouse Burgers in Downingtown, from the same people who just opened up Firecreek Restaurant and Bar. (The two share a cool restored building.) They’ll be serving local, grass-fed beef, angus, and turkey burgers, with some gourmet toppings (brie, guac), fries, salads, and desserts.

Zac’s Burgers is a local chain with four locations, the newest having opened in Media in 2006. The prices couldn’t get any better — less than $3 for a bacon cheeseburger — and their fries come in a regular or waffle cut with some seasoning and chili/cheese options. Zac’s is food that was born to cure hangovers.

Southampton’s Great Burger has quite a following for being only two years old. Burgers here are fresh and buns are cooked locally. The dogs are just as tasty, and they have turkey and veggie options.