The Reason Some Chefs Are Hesitant To Put Burgers On The Menu

From a road trip pitstop to room service at the fanciest hotel, or even frying one up at home, a great burger is something most of you crave — one in five of you, to be exact, according to a OnePoll study reported by SWNS. The research also concluded that when dining out, 58% of respondents said they frequently order burgers if given the choice.  

If you're a fan of the movie "The Menu," you know that the burger was Margot's saving grace. Even though Chef Slowik didn't feature a burger on that final menu, he took great joy in making her the best cheeseburger of his career. Acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn, who designed each course of "The Menu," including Slowik's cheeseburger, gave us the low-down on making the best burger. "It's comfort food," she reminded us, sharing that if it's cooked with love, you can't go wrong. 

Still, Anthony Bourdain once proposed to Insider that when designing a burger, one shouldn't get carried away. "Is this thing that I'm doing to a perfectly good classic dish, is it making it better?" he suggested cooks ask. But, this isn't the only question a chef or restauranteur asks themselves when considering a burger's place on their menu. Because the burger crave is real, some chefs ask themselves, "Will my burger overshadow my other dishes?," and others wonder whether to feature one at all.

Why the hesitation?

Burgers are often the most popular choice on fine-dining menus, which is an issue that resonates with Ember Kitchen in the Seaholm District of Austin, Texas. Director of operations Nick Meyer told Tasting Table that because the restaurant is new, they considered putting a secret burger on their bar menu limited to a few orders each night. And while they may still consider doing so in the future, their main goal is "to make sure any dish that gains cult status captures [their] menu's vibrancy." Meyer explained, "We'd much rather be known for salpicon de pulpo, crispy tamal and Josper-grilled items."

In comparison, Austin Ray, the founder of M.L.Rose in Nashville, Tennessee, chose to feature a burger on his menu when he opened his restaurant in 2008. Then, after paying close attention to the "changing needs of [the] neighborhood, the evolution of the craft beer scene, and the foods people come back for," Ray realized patrons were coming back for their burger and renamed the venue M.L.Rose Craft Beer and Burgers.

Now with multiple locations, the classic cheeseburger leads the menu with eight other burgers, including the Southern Belle, which is served with pimento cheese and smothered in Belle Meade Bourbon bbq sauce. "The public's seemingly eternal love of burgers, combined with our attention to creativity, detail and quality, is what will perpetuate our burger sales into the future," Ray noted.

So, where burgers are concerned, maybe the question should be, "Do you want fries with that?"