11922 Democracy Drive, Reston
The website of this upscale franchise fast food restaurant that originated out of California boasts “our 312,120+ different burger combinations make every burger as unique as each customer.”
At the bustling corner of Mon Ami Gabi in Reston Town Center, the setting of this establishment is an industrial diner that plays contemporary music and serves beer, wine and cocktails and yes, custom burgers to us, the affl uent Metro DC residents with discerning culinary taste.
Always looking for delectable hamburger choices, I was attracted to this locus and recently tested the food with some help from my wife and children. Upon arrival, we were greeted with the blinding smiles of the two hostesses offi ciating at the entrance of the restaurant. As soon as a table for four was available, we were summoned to our table and given a menu attached to clipboard. Our menu clearly outlined the 5 steps we would have to follow to order our burgers:
STEP 1- Choose a Burger
• Ranging from meat choices of Beef, Turkey, Veggie and Grilled Chicken, the sizes vary from the modest 1/3 lbs to 2/3 lbs, and the hard to imagine 1 lbs
• If you are suddenly attacked by the healthy side of your conscience, you can also build your burger in a bowl over a bed of salad
STEP 2- Choose a Cheese
• You can select from unusual Tillamook Cheddar or Greek Feta to Yellow American
STEP 3- Choose Toppings (Up to Four)
• An array of choices that include hard boiled eggs, grilled pineapple, dried cranberries as well as the usual suspects like grilled onions or the dill pickle chips
STEP 4- Choose a Sauce
• How about apricot sauce, sun dried tomato vinaigrette, or the horseradish mayo?
STEP 5- Choose a Bun
• I am partial to Hamburger bun, but you can try the English muffin or the honey wheat bun For our adult orders, we limited the burger size to 1/3 lbs. and ordered Mini Burgers for our children from the Kids Menu. We also saw that many of patrons were devouring the crispy onion rings, gave them a try as well. Our children loved the Mini Burgers which are your typical sliders and the crispy onion rings disappeared within minutes. We all loved the pink sauce with which they were served with that tasted like a spicy thousand island dressing.
The Counter Custom Build Burgers offers a mid-range style dining that is formulaic. It has to be if it intends to serve 312,120+ different burger combinations to hundreds of thousands of patrons per year. The owners found a formula that combines the quintessential American food served in industrial diner settings with modern necessities like popular music and alcohol. It is for people who have outgrown the musty air of college dive bars and the counterfeit authenticity of Johnny Rockets restaurants. Being a franchise, it also has that +4-% advantage for the closure rates of restaurants. It will continue to serve our community with additional locations in the next 12 months. You can quote me on that.