DIY Dining Comes to Boca Raton: Butcher & the Burger and Dandelion Opening in the Town Center

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Are you the type of person that likes to do everything yourself? You change your car's oil in the garage, do your taxes online, service your own pool -- and even mow your lawn without a single complaint. Why? Because it's getting done the right way, that's why!

Now, if only you could get the same kind of stellar service you provide for your family while dining out -- just one of many activities you simply can't take into your own hands.

But what if you could customize and create your meal at a restaurant down to the most seemingly miniscule detail? Would that be something on your to-do list? Well, wait no longer: all your DIY dreams for seasoning, dressing and prepping your own food have finally come true at a new burger spot in Boca Raton that lets you customize everything down to the very last detail.

Where? The new Butcher & the Burger -- and sister concept Dandelion -- set to open at the shops of the Town Center of Boca Raton next week. (UPDATE: In the original version of this story, we wrote that the restaurant would be opening April 10. After it was published, we learned the opening had been pushed back a week and made the correction. Sorry for any confusion.)

Both innovative dining concepts have been conceived by Chef Allen Sternweiler, who has spent the past several decades in Chicago earning a reputation as a chef with an exceptional talent for cooking game meats, in addition to a well-rounded repertoire of market-driven American cuisine with European influences. After graduating from Johnson and Wales College with an associates degree in culinary arts, Sternweiler joined the team at Chicago's Printer's Row Restaurant, working his way from line cook to chef de cuisine, and earning the restaurant a three-star review from the Chicago Tribune.

After a successful career, Sternweiler decided to bring a long-time dream to fruition, offering Chicagoans an innovative dining concept that marries a butcher shop and made-to-order burger counter, featuring prime cuts of locally sourced meats and an assortment of all-natural signature seasoning blends. As its name suggests, the Butcher & the Burger is a burger joint, but with a modern spin on the old-fashioned butcher shop, offering a wide selection of prime meats and standard butcher services, as well as a spot snag a bite to eat.

The restaurant is designed to appeal to a wide range of patrons, from foodies to families. When choosing a burger, all patrons go through four basic steps to build their own burger, which include choosing a bun, meat, seasonings and toppings:

1. Choose a bun. Options include old-fashion split top butter-egg roll, wheat, pretzel, croissant or lettuce wrap.

2. Select a 6-oz. protein patty. Options include a house-blend natural beef, grass-fed beef, turkey, La Pryor Farm pork, salmon, elk, bison, shrimp -- even a vegan lentil brown rice burger. There's also a rotating selection of butcher's specials like duck, wild boar, ostrich, and others.

3. Select a seasoning. There's a traditional sea salt and cracked pepper, or a variety of signature spice blends, such as cajun, Chicago steakhouse, Sonora Desert chili, curry coconut and honey, a game mix and onion soup.

4. Give it a topping. Customize your burger by topping it with a variety of complimentary extras, including all the standards and cheeses you could want, plus artisanal ingredients (a la carte) that include Benton's Tennessee hickory smoked country bacon and Hudson Valley sautéed foie gras, or a fried egg and black truffle aioli.

All burgers are cooked on a char broiler, made by the Chicago-based Emberglo, providing a crisp, juicy texture. A rotating selection of sides and salads complement the main course, with seasonal offerings including sweet corn, local heirloom tomato and a housemade burrata salad. For patrons with a sweet tooth, the restaurant also offers a wide selection of housemade frozen custards.

The butcher part of the equation comes in with the restaurant's classic McCray butcher case displaying the highest quality traditional meats, such as prime black angus and cube steak, as well as a rotating selection of unique proteins including Waygu beef, soft-shell crab, ostrich and elk.

All items can be purchased as raw, prepared patties, meatballs or loaves, based on availability. Organic whole turkeys, suckling pigs and special cuts of steak can also be ordered during the holiday season. Throughout each month, Butcher & the Burger also offers an ongoing series of culinary classes that invite guests to get hands-on with a wide variety of proteins while learning the art of butchery with a variety of classes that include fish mongering, hog butchery, sausage making, summer grilling and more. Classes can be held as semi-private for group events, or private classes for one or two people.

The interior space at the Butcher & the Burger is a recreation of the founder's amassed collections of antique food preparation devices, many of which are put to practical use in the restaurant, from the 1930s Deco Hobart coffee bean grinder that prepares the daily roasts, to a manually-operated cuber that uses 19 blades to score perfect cuts (known as "minute steaks" by earlier generations) in the cross-hatch fashion. Other stores include a mid-19th century where butcher's rendering oven, Dayton scales, a 75 year-old walk-in refrigerator door and an 1880s Gloekler's figural butcher iron.

Similarly, Dandelion is a new "healthy" eating destination that lets you customize your own gyros. Step one lets you pick whether your food comes on a pita, flatbread or as a salad over greens.

Step two: choose from chicken breast, lamb, prime steak, local fresh fish or grilled vegetables. Then add your toppings, which include cucumber, tomato, onion, feta cheese, hummus, spinach, lettuce, olives, mushrooms and pepperoncini,

tzatziki sauce, oil and lemon sauce, Greek dressing or honey mustard dressing.

There's also a variety of sides, soups and salads, including Kotosoup (traditional chicken soup with rice, lemon and egg), dolmades, horta (steamed seasonal wild greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil) and saganaki sticks (the Greek version of mozzarella stick lightly pan-seared).

For more information, visit the Butcher & the Burger website or Dandelion website.

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