Tuesday, 19 May 2009

South St. Burger Co.

Still on the quest for the world's best burger... (as if that's my place to say)

I have eaten at South Street Burger Co. probably 8 times in the last two years as I continue to seek my favourite burger. This one has a lot going for it, which is why I keep coming back. It's really good, but what stops me from declaring it my favourite?

1. If I did, I'd have to take up a new hobby.
2. And, there's room for improvement. But that's just my opinion - you should check it out yourself; you won't be sorry you did.

I really want South St. to be the most amazing burger experience ever. It has a lot going for it, probably because of the drive and business savvy of Jay Gould of New York Fries fame. The burger is fresh and free from all fillers, antibiotics and other stuff. There are no heat lamps. The 1/3 pound burger is served on your choice of toasted white or whole wheat bun. The topping choice is simple, but it is your choice. Everything is made right in front of you, pretty quickly. They have a cool combo set-up - just choose a burger, fries and a beverage and they'll take a buck off the cumulative total and call it a combo.

Good: The burger itself, the toppings, the fresh bun. It's just fine, but not memorable. I wonder if it is deliberate that it's not seasoned in any way I can taste. If so, I think that might be a mistake. The right seasoning could set this experience apart.

Great: The fries of course. You can't have a great burger without great fries, and New York fries come with this burger.

Room for Growth: A little more attitude. The decor is funky and secure with itself, the restaurant is spotless and the flow from cash register to assembly to presentation works just fine. But apart from the classic rock playing softly through overhead speakers, I can't find the "oomph" that makes this experience fun and different. I'm not suggesting they emulate Licks with all that singing and yelling, but they could turn up the tunes and have some interaction with the patrons other than the topping conversation. Don't get me wrong, the staff are friendly and polite, but not outgoing. If they're allowed to smile most of them haven't gotten the memo.

Would I come back? As it stands, South St. is an upscale Harvey's. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't think that was the goal. Yeah, I come back but I haven't recommended it. If South St. Burger Co. took it up several notches in the energy department, I'd bring friends and family with me next time and every time!

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