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What does "cooked to order" mean to you?

There's a thread about a burger joint in Boston that has a sign posted that their burgers are "cooked to order." The thread's original poster assumed that the restaurant cooks the burger to the doneness the patron wants (ie: well done, medium well, medium rare, etc.). And as a result tried to order a medium rare burger. The restaurant said that "cooked to order" means they cook the burger when the burger is ordered, as opposed to cooking it, and having it sit under a lamp.

I agree with the original posters definition of what "cooked to order" means, as in doneness, and not the restaurant's cooked when ordered. The phrase just seems like it means cooked to the order's specification.

What do you think? What do you expect when you see a sign that says "cooked to order"?

I didn't want to hijack the original thread, but here it is:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/351364

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  1. I guess they thought people wouldn't understand 'we cook your burger a' la minute'.

    1. I've always taken "cooked to order" means that they don't cook it until after you order and its not sitting around under a heat lamp ala mcdonalds.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ESNY

        Ditto.

        Speaking of ambiguous signs, an orchard I used to go to had a sign that said "Baked on Premises," which people took to mean their pies were homemade. Years later it came out that they bought Sara Lee pies and baked them in their ovens and put them into plain white boxes. Technically the sign didn't lie - the pies were literally baked on the premise.

        1. re: SarahEats

          When you think of it, what does "homemade" mean? Whose home? You mean this diner is someone's home?

      2. Well, it means whatever the restaurant that posted it says it means. In a different restaurant, it might mean something else altogether.

        But I've always understood it to mean what they said theirs means, we don't cook it until you order it.

        1. Add me to the list that when you order the burger, the raw meat hits the grill, not a fast foodie.

          Cooked to your specifications or to your desired doneness means they will try to meet the request on med-rare, arre, well, etc. Some states down south will not serve a burger less than medium.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood

            That's not just down south. Lots of restaurants on the West Coast won't either; their insurance companies are concerned about E-Coli.

          2. Cooked after receiving an order.