The local burger wars just got a lot more interesting with the recent debut of a trio of new patty purveyors.
First up in April was Shake Shack in Boca, the third SoFla outpost of New York restaurateur Danny Meyer expanding burger chain. Then came Butcher & the Burger in Boca’s Town Center mall, from Chicago chef Allen Sternweiler. And then just a couple weeks ago, Florida football legend Don Shula opened the sixth Florida Shula Burger in the sprawling Delray Marketplace shopping complex.
For the skinny (or perhaps more appropriately, the fatty) on each of these posh patties, you’ll have to wait for the September-October issue of the magazine, where we put them to the (taste) test. But here’s something to nibble on...
We’ll start with Shula Burger (14917 Lyons Rd., 561/404-1347), then next week look at Butcher & the Burger and the following week at Shake Shack. The first thing you need to know is that this is a damn fine burger, a sizeable patty (1/3rd of a pound?) that tastes like real beef, cooked just slightly pink in the center and tucked inside a soft yet sturdy bun with American cheese, crispy lettuce, ripe tomato and pickle chips. Catsup, mustard, mayo and all that stuff you add yourself.
Oh, the fries? They’re better than what you’ll get at most white-tablecloth restaurants, served in frighteningly generous portion. As for prices, the basic Shula burger will set you back $6.49, the fries $2.49.
The other thing you need to know, if my midday-midweek experience is any indication, is that getting in this place may be more difficult than squeezing into a broom closet full of Dolphins’ offensive lineman. As word gets out, expect crowds and lines at anything approaching peak dining periods.
The place itself has a modestly upscale feel, done in earth tones with red and yellow accents and industrial accents like the exposed ductwork on the ceiling and a waist-high railing made of cast-iron pipe. There are plenty of hard surfaces so when things get busy, they also get pretty loud. You order at the counter at the entrance, then grab a table and wait for your food to be brought out to you, a service that gives makes it more of a “real” restaurant experience.
Frankly, based on my quick lunch, I want a Shula Burger in my neighborhood. Give it a try and I’ll bet you’ll want one in yours too.