BurgerFi: A Beachside Shake Shack for the Modern Age

BurgerFi: A Beachside Shake Shack for the Modern Age
Photo by CandaceWest.com
Kristen Harlin, Shift Supervisor at BurgerFi, shows off the 1/2 Burger.Click here to see more photos from BurgerFi.

Summer Sundays during my childhood, we would pile in the car and Dad would drive us out to Long Island or Orchard Beach for burgers and shakes. We could get the same food back in Brooklyn, sure, but it was the whole package — wood picnic tables so worn they were shiny, the hint of salt air in the breeze, the seagulls stealing the last French fry from the checkered paper boat — that made the memories.

I know it sounds schmaltzy, but every once in a while, the smell of a burger on the grill or the exquisite brain freeze of a frozen custard instantly brings me back. I swear it happened at BurgerFi.

That might be unexpected, because the guy behind this venture is better-known for his upscale and fine-casual eateries. Restaurateur David Manero's hits include Vic & Angelo (fine Italian with locations in Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens), the Office (a modern gastropub in Delray), and DeVito South Beach (an "Italian chop house" with a touch of Hollywood glam and actor Danny DeVito as its namesake) . BurgerFi is his first foray into the category of "fast casual" dining. Though Manero has plans to take over the country with his hormone-free meat and "concretes" (frozen custard with toppings mixed in), this first concept restaurant is located in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, itself a little seaside town steeped in nostalgia. It's actually a perfect setting for this indoor/outdoor "burger meets beach" bistro. A second, Delray Beach location is scheduled to open the first week of August.

There's no mistaking where this burger comes from.
There's no mistaking where this burger comes from.

Location Info

Map

BurgerFi

4343 N. Ocean Drive
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL 33308

Category: Restaurant > Burgers

Region: Beaches

Details

BurgerFi, 4343 N. Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and 6 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. Call 954-489-0110, or click here.

Manero gutted a shuttered Burger King on beachfront drag A1A until the only possible remnant that could be recognized with a good eye is the sloped and shingled roof. Other than that, the space, which was designed by his wife, Lynn Manero, was turned into a fast-food fantasy where beachy classic meets ultramodern. LCD menu boards flash the options in black, white, and neon green. Light fixtures made from chromed meat hooks are lit by old-fashioned Edison-style bulbs. A long communal bar-height table invites large parties, and picnic tables made of recycled materials lend a pop of color.

Though the menu is relatively simple (burgers, dogs, craft beer, wine, concretes, and cupcakes), customers linger at the counter because they are dazed and confused by those LCD screens, which flash back and forth as they recycle. The varieties of fixings and burger toppings are vast and typed in a cursive-like font that seems too small for the screen.

Our order taker, sensing my distress, offered me a print version of the menu, which includes the BurgerFi "secret" menu options on the back (a play on the secret menu items that have become urban myths and legends, like the Fatburger hypocrite — a veggie burger topped with bacon). After being able to finally see what my options were, I ordered. Our server then read back every single add-on and quirk to the order, which was a relief. We were given the kind of buzzer you get at mall restaurants and chose a table under the giant industrial ceiling fan on the patio.

It was a Saturday evening about 9:30 p.m., and the restaurant sound system was blaring some mindless song whose chorus consists of some guy saying "Barbra Streisand" over and over. It was too loud for people wanting to connect over their evening meal. Maybe dance music is de rigueur in South Beach, but this is Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, home of Elvis impersonators and Bob Marley tribute bands. Thankfully, our buzzer notified us rather quickly that our food was ready.

My half and half stack ($7.97) — BurgerFi's quinoa burger topped with an Angus burger and topped with American cheese, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and secret sauce — came with a sunny-side-up egg and cherry peppers as additional toppings ($1 each) and arrived on a potato bun, which wasn't quite sturdy enough to support the thick sandwich. Messy as it was, I forged ahead to bite down on a greasy but soul-soothing bite of vegetarian goodness interspersed with the taste of Angus beef. I did the unthinkable and used a fork to deconstruct the sandwich for the sake of science. The quinoa patty was moist and flavorful. Many times, a veggie burger resembles a hockey puck, but this burger stood out on its own.

On a carnivorous note, the Angus meat was brown on the outside and pink on the inside. The beef used at BurgerFi has a better pedigree than I do. While I have my driver's license to verify my identity, these burgers come from cows that are humane certified, source verified, age verified, and vegetarian fed and have been given no antibiotics or hormones. All that good meat is formed into a smallish, oval-like patty and cooked on a flat-top griddle, which allows for the cooking of meat with a higher fat content. Though I couldn't verify the fat ratio with the manager on duty, the burger was substantially juicy.

Low-carb dieters can also rejoice, because all burger and quinoa patty options are available wrapped in iceburg lettuce instead of the bun at no additional charge. Although that sounds messy, I was pleasantly surprised that the lettuce wrap held up until the last bite of burger without falling all over my lap.

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20 comments
v-pills
v-pills

Dude, unless your one of the investors (which wouldn't surprise me), you need to get out more. Try Gilberts on 17th Causeway or Le Tub or even order from Built Burger for better.

JL
JL

I ate at the Lauderdale By The Sea location and the food was less than HORRIBLE. The manager was one of the most arrogant not to mention creepy people I have ever came across. He gawks at every woman walking in the door while he stands behind the counter doing absolutely nothing. It should have stayed as a Burger King, hopefully they wont last too long.

gammish
gammish

Dude, unless your one of the investors (which wouldn't surprise me), you need to get out more. Try Gilberts on 17th Causeway or Le Tub or even order from Built Burger for better.

And Fudruckers? Really? Dude!

CTMV
CTMV

Has to be the best burger so far since I have been in South Florida for the past 16 years. The only other burger that I enjoyed was Fudruckers. But Burger Fi is the only way to  go. The Fries and Onion rings are amazing, similar to Coney Island Flavor. The NY Hot dog was the best Dog I have eaten in 30 years. This place Rocks. The only thing is I dont particulary care for the style of music they play and it is a bit loud. Great choice of Bun. Love the Potato Bread they use....Go, Go and Go there for a bite!

Steve Lieber
Steve Lieber

Thank you for the kind words! Feel good about eating!

pass01001
pass01001

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Jamienboca
Jamienboca

I ate here for the first time a few weeks ago, the food was greasy, and heavy, and sat in my stomach like a lead weight (I had a small burger and shared plain fries with my friend).  I was sick to my stomach the entire day.  In my opinion, it's overprices and is equivalent to any other fast food restaurant that serves fried burgers.

Msh
Msh

Best place i've ate so far the share is amazing, kudos. Definetly loyal customer.

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Miriam Sheridan
Miriam Sheridan

I just started going to Burger Fi on my lunch hour, the food and staff is great!!!!!!!

Natalie O
Natalie O

After I wrote a "mediocre" review on my blog, one of the managers commented on it and was a prick.  I will not go back now!

Gammish
Gammish

Everyone wants to do burgers now....and this looks cool but is not very good. I do not recommend it.

Bradftl
Bradftl

This place blows..OVERPRICED  LOUD ANNOYING  and IGNORANT STAFF

Ducksauce
Ducksauce

"It was a Saturday evening about 9:30 p.m., and the restaurant sound system was blaring some mindless song whose chorus consists of some guy saying "Barbra Streisand" over and over. It was too loud for people wanting to connect over their evening meal." Everything was great about this article and left me smiling and thinking about how much I love Burger-Fi until that specific line. Dude, IT WAS SATURDAY @ 9:30pm and you wanted to hear WHAT? Get real... you know you were listening to ducksauce and everyone in south florida knows that song. Furthermore, for what people connecting over a meal? YOU didn't like it, so say, "I was trying to connect over my meal and it made it very difficult, but I could see were the saturday night crowd could enjoy it." You were there for work, everyone else was out for their saturday night.  That isn't thought provoking.  Pointless, but that's the extra retarded two cents that keeps people from being interested in this paper.  

Pauly
Pauly

Burgers suck. Like you ever got a tomato as ripe as the one in that picture.

Max
Max

We can't be vindictive about it. There's no more need for people to go around trashing owners they don't care for any more than we want owners refusing to serve people who voice some criticism. It's (still) a free country, and owners and managers are entitled to their opinion of us as well. 

Carl
Carl

More importantly, You can't see, hear or smell the beach from BurgerFI, so the entire premise of the piece is bogus.

Toni
Toni

How can it be a modern shake shack? Shake shack is only a lil bit more than 5 yrs old and it's kicks this places ass big time! Keep doing ur copy cat thing manero!

Capt Obvious
Capt Obvious

You realize 'shake shack' is a term right?

 
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