The Burger Bandwagon

In Eat, July/August 2020, Web Exclusive by Lauren Kruchten4 Comments

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WEB EXCLUSIVE Who doesn’t love a good burger? Whether you’re a meat eater or a vegetarian (hello veggie burgers, black bean burgers and Impossible burgers!) a burger comes in clutch for takeout during the summertime, a cue that many local restaurants are taking when adapting their menus for pickup and delivery. 

The newest Raleigh restaurant to jump on the burger bandwagon is Vidrio, which is starting a new “Burgers and Burgundy” concept this Friday, July 31. The concept will feature a menu of three different burgers, fries and boozy ice cream floats all available in Vidrio’s upstairs Fiera Lounge for dine-in or takeout. 

Katsuji Tanabe, Vidrio’s current chef in residence, always liked the idea of doing a high-end burger concept in a fine dining restaurant, such as Vidrio, with wine and other drinks available for pairing.

“Burgers are very approachable,” Tanabe says. “We wanted to showcase high-end, amazing ingredients in an upscale location.”

Tanabe’s burger creations include the Black Label Burger topped with Emmental cheese, onion-bacon jam, garlic aioli and a demi-glace made from black truffles and foie gras; the Blue Label Burger—a traditional, LA-style gastropub burger, as Tanabe describes it—with arugula, onion-bacon jam and blue cheese on a brioche bun; and the Gold Label Burger, a simple burger topped with heirloom tomatoes from a local farmer, house made pickles, cheddar cheese and garlic aioli. All burger patties are made from a mix of chuck, brisket and short rib.

The burgers will be available a la carte, with the option to add standard salt and pepper fries or truffle parmesan fries on the side. For dessert, Tanabe has crafted a classic double chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge and a variety of boozy ice cream floats. 

Over in Durham, popular cocktail bar Kingfisher, which opened shortly before COVID-19 forced the owners to close its doors in early March, are working on a new backyard pop-up concept called QueenBurger, expected to open mid-August.

QueenBurger by Kingfisher
QueenBurger | Photo courtesy of Kingfisher

Owners Sean Umstead and his wife, Michelle Vanderwalker, are transforming Kingfisher’s parking lot and adjacent upper deck into a pop-up burger bar serving both beef and vegan “smash burgers” with griddled onions, hoop cheese, Duke’s mayo and pickles. Pre-bottled cocktails, wine and beer will also be available to enjoy at socially distanced high top tables.

While we’re all certainly sick and tired of the COVID-19 pandemic by now, if our “new normal” involves more burgers, we personally can’t complain.

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