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Rachael Ray scares us, er, announces again she plans to open a burger restaurant

Well, she talked about it back in 2006, then it went away, but it is back again this week. Not sure if it is to get some media attention away from her throat surgery, or get more attention to her Burger Bash.... but her immediate threat of a burger joint it back in the news.

"Meat-lover Rachael Ray hasn't given up on her dream of opening up a hamburger pub in midtown. She's been talking about it for years now, but you really want to believe her (or stop her) when she tells the Post, "I'm going for a '60s back-in-the-day Rat Pack-y kind of hangout, and I want the bar to be really central [and] the burgers to become a very social thing. I want people to come to the bar to see beautiful proper martinis being made and to enjoy some sliders."
The subject came up as Ray was promoting Friday's Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash in DUMBO. She's hosting the event, which features sixteen chefs—including Tom Colicchio, David Burke, and Al Roker—competing for the title of city's best burger baron. But they're going to have their work cut out for them to impress Ray; she says, "I've always been partial to the Whopper - no mayonnaise, add mustard. In California, I love In-N-Out." Those are good burgers, Rachael."

Other than tourists and die-hard RR fans.... do you think anyone would eat there?

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  1. Between tourist and fans she should do fine and if the burgers were really good, I'd eat there myself....if the the place wasn't filled with tourist and RR fans.

    1. She joins the ranks of Bobby Flay and Michel Richard in D.C. who are also touting their new burger concepts...give it a shot I say. Why not?

      1. Yes. Lots of people will eat there. Sigh. However, if Rachael Ray wasn't Rachel Ray I would eat there. A cool 60s style pub with an extensive burger menu and great martinis sounds kinda good. Unfortunatly she is Rachel Ray and if her favorite burger outside of CA is a Whooper no mayo... If she thinks that the Whopper is a "good burger" she has no business opening a burger joint.
        Let's all hang our heads in a moment of silence for the poor souls she gets to work in her kitchen. Imagine Rachel Ray owns your business and you have not choice but to listen to her. Ugh.

        1. Burgers and martinis is a weird concept but i'd give it a shot. nice list of interesting burgers is a concept that works well. Personally, I wish they'd have more than burgers. and yes it scares the hell out of me that she throws the whopper into conversation

          2 Replies
          1. re: Icantread

            <<Burgers and martinis is a weird concept>>

            I thought so, also. Were the members of the Rat Pack known for eating burgers? I just don't picture high-end martinis being served with burgers in the Rat Pack era, but I could be wrong.

            I love a good martini and a good burger, but I just don't think of eating them together, even "high-end" sliders.

            1. re: rweater

              rweater asked whether the members of the Rat Pack were known for eating burgers.

              Not that I've ever heard. I know they liked Italian food -- because Frank and liked it -- but I've never heard any mention of burgers.

          2. I can see all the little workers in the kitchen putting nutmeg and chicken stock in the meat, and then "scoring" it with their hands into quarters for even patties..... UGH

            2 Replies
            1. re: jackbauer

              Nutmeg: that little something that makes people go "hmmm"

              1. re: coney with everything

                Or as my husband says, "It's that little thing in the background that makes people go hmmmm, this tastes like eggnog:-)

            2. I bet it will be "yummo" !

              I can't wait ;-D

              12 Replies
              1. re: swsidejim

                Any thoughts on why there's a resurgence in burger restaurants? Here in San Diego there is "Burger Lounge", a chain of pricey but good burgers (turkey and beef). Our town has popular local-only, moderately-priced burger joints, as well as gourmet-style burger restaurants. I just think its interesting that this cuisine has come back in favor despite an increase in vegetarians, health-food crazes, and so many healthful alternatives for dining out (seafood particularly in the West).

                1. re: ginael

                  Gimmick of the week. Kind of like fondue.

                  1. re: ginael

                    Perhaps a throwback to a comfort food of sorts. Alot of people enjoy a good burger, and it is not an expensive indulgence for those who are watching their wallet.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I can't imagine these will be cheap with the white table clothes/china/martini service.

                      1. re: Firegoat

                        I was kind of speaking to the burger trend in general, I really didnt read much on RR's vision for her burger joint. Now that I have, I have to laugh even more.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          For me no matter how healthy I want to eat I still take great comfort and joy in a really good burger. I think that there was a nitch to be filled. There are probably enough people in the market for not simply a burger but a whole burger experience it created a market. When I think about all the problems the nation has nothing makes me feel better than sinking my death into a really good burger.

                          1. re: keith2000

                            Unless one has a cholesterol problem, a classic burger seems like a well-rounded meal. Protein, starch, tomato, onion, lettuce, pickle.

                            1. re: mpalmer6c

                              I love your logic and believe anything you say.

                              Also I just reread my post. I should really proofread before submitting. What I meant to say was "sinking my teeth" not "sinking my death" which doesn't really make sense. oops

                            2. re: keith2000

                              I love a really good burger. However, I'm not sure I want turkey burgers flavored to taste like cacciatore or spanikopita. The problem with Rachael Ray is she can't let a burger be a burger. She has to compound perfectly good non-burger dishes into burger form.

                              A good burger is a great guilty pleasure. A not-so-good burger, is just guilty.

                      2. re: ginael

                        Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post food critic, has discussed the rise in burger joints in DC as well. (Very popular here right now). He seems to think it has to do with comfort food during hard times in our country and also a burger is cheap and filling...therefore perfect for our crappy economic times.

                        I just realized that's a very "DC" take on things lol

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          elyssa, but the recent rise in burger joints has been in "upscale" burger joints, right? burgers are never out of style. and, now with the easy availability of better grades of meat to regular consumers, the restos have to stay ahead of the game, so to speak. other than ray's hell-burgers, how many dedicated burger places are in d.c. area? myself, i don't know.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I wouldn't necessarily say all of the DC burger joints are upscale (actually the only place I can think of that is upscale is Central, and that is far from a burger joint. They just offer a variety of interesting burgers on their bistro-based menu). The 2 most popular right now are Ray's Hell Burgers and Good Stuff Eatery (by Top Chef's Spike). And with those 2 places there seems to be renewed interest in some of the other area burger joints: 5 Guys, BGR Burger Joint in Bethesda, Urban Burger, and Elevation Burger.

                            But I agree burgers have never gone out of style...they just seem to go in waves of popularity. A couple of years ago it was the ultra high end burgers--the $100 burger with foie gras etc. Now there seems to be a re-found interest in cheap burgers done right--ala Ray's Hell Burgers or in NYC Shake Shack etc.

                    2. i'd eat there if it had good burgers.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal

                        Giant ditto on that. I love a good burger.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          I'm down. Burgers done well, oh yeah perfect, but martinis and burgers... for me, I'd rather have a nice red.

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            I"m worried about that done well part. At the Burger Bash in NY this last weekend, bloggers who sampled all the burgers gave hers the worst ratings. Could be because they were cooked to done, not rarer like the tastier burgers tho

                            1. re: Firegoat

                              Well, then I agree, medium rare is the way to go. No wonder she likes the burgers from in and out and burger k. I think they have to cook without any pink.
                              But really to be fair, are their any bloggers that think RR is a good cook? Or that would give her a thumbs up?

                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                i think rachel ray has helped a lot of people become more interested in home cooking and some different kinds of foods. i'm not a rachel basher. is she a gourmet cook? cordon bleu? could she? i'll bet she could if she put her mind to doing so. she has created and exploited a big slice of the american "cooking show" marketplace. bully for her!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I respect and agree with the way you feel about Rachel Ray. Really anyone that makes cooking attainable and exciting for people (no matter how grating that person's voice may be) is doing a good thing.

                                  Could she be a gourmet cordon bleu cook? I really doubt it. It takes a certain kind of person to be a professional chef. I am certain that Rachel Ray is not that kind of person.

                        2. If the burgers were good and I enjoyed the environment, I don't care whose brainchild it was. I would eat there.

                          1. If you put a great burger in front of many people on this board and told them Rachel Ray had anything to do with it, they would turn up their collective noses. Lighten up on the girl. Her Whopper comment was in BOLD PRINT, any chance she was taken out of context as in,"Rachel, what is your favorite fast food burger?" Well, maybe not. After all this is THE New York Post, way too classy an outfit for a cheap shot.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              I am actually of the opinion that, having one of Rachel Ray's burgers put right in front of them, most people on this board would dig in, if only for the opportunity to critique it. It would be a unique experience. Seeking it out might be another thing altogether.

                              1. re: lotta_cox

                                I worded that wrong. What is should have said is put a great burger in front of them, and after they acknowledged the greatness of said burger, then they would turn up their noses.

                              2. re: James Cristinian

                                True, but then again Rachael Ray shills for Burger King, so she kind of had to say their burger was her favorite.

                              3. I heard she's going to include a small candy counter as well as a loosely based HoJo concept with clam chowder and fries cooked in EEVO.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: porker

                                  i'll take the hojo fried clam strips all-you-can-eat! (ah, memories....) ;-)

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    HoJo clam chowder is such a growing up memory for me. crazy.

                                2. well...it's not like SHE is cooking them, a real cook is, and one who probably won't listen to her recipes either.

                                  of course...it will be full of RR fans so the atmosphere will be horrible...o.O

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                    never underestimate the power of the person who owns the restaurant and signs the paychecks. If RR has a vision for a restaurant she is funding only people who share that vision will be employed and kept.

                                    1. re: sugarsnapp

                                      Didn't know she was dreaming of opening a burger bar, but I have seen commercials recently for her own brand of dog food called Nutrish. Hmmmm burgers...dog food...burgers, the mind boggles :) But seriously if I lived in NYC instead of Alabama I would give her place a try.

                                    2. Ok so I just went to foodtv.com to find out exactly what we are talking about here. Here are, in no particular order, the names of some of the burgers she invented.

                                      1.Smokey beer burger with creamy mustard sauce,
                                      2.Blue-rugula burger,
                                      3.Spanish burger with manchego and chorizo hash brown,
                                      4. Chicken sausage burger w/ balsamic onion bbq,
                                      5. "A burger for Rachel" (A sirloin and pork burger with fennel seed, garlic, pepperflakes, and worcestershire topped with tomato, basil, and onion with a caper, olive, anchovey, and olive tapenade).
                                      5.5 .Danish burger with herb caper sauce/.
                                      6.Super tuscan burger
                                      7.Kentucky burgoo burger
                                      8. The T2 (turkey chili topped turkey burger)
                                      9. Spicy shrimp burger
                                      10. Paella burger
                                      11. Turkey cacciatore burger on portobello "buns"
                                      12. chicken cordon bleu burger
                                      13. open faced chili burgers on portobello bun with smoked cheese
                                      14. Sirloin bolognese burger
                                      15. ginger soy tuna burger
                                      16. Chili dog bacon cheeseburger (exactly what it sounds like)
                                      17. Jerky turkey burger
                                      18. Big blue burger
                                      19. curry turkey burger
                                      20. inside out bacon cheeseburger with grilled green onion mayo
                                      21. Island burger
                                      22. chicken or turkey spanikopeta burger

                                      Ok that is all I wrote down. This is actually a list of 23 but I repeated the 5 and dont want to fix the numbering. I am going to reserve my opinion on this list for later.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: keith2000

                                        keith, she must've read the chowboards on how our very own hounds "pimp" their burgers. i'm virtually positive every single one has been recommended by someone here on chowhound.

                                        WORD UP! {;^D

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          here is a start on the chowhound "pimped burger" list: http://www.chow.com/stories/10187

                                        2. re: keith2000

                                          #1, 3 and 20 would be the first I'd try. And I'll agree with alkapal above. My little sister wouldn't cook except to heat up leftover takeout until she watched some RR. A meal in 30 minutes with easy to find ingredients was something she could get her head around. Now she branches out a little and tries marinades, etc. Still won't spend more than 1/2 hour in the kitchen, though.

                                          1. re: keith2000

                                            Oh dear! How typical Rachael Ray. She piles waaaaayyy too many ingredients into one dish (just look at number 5) or else compresses perfectly good foods into crappy burger form (numbers 11, 22, and 7).

                                            How can we stop this woman?

                                            1. re: Avalondaughter

                                              Ignore her and don't buy her products?

                                              1. re: MattInNJ

                                                Ignoring her is impossible as long as one owns a TV, ever shops in Book Stores, ever sees billboards or buses.

                                                I don't buy her products though.

                                          2. Rural hick here w/o cable and not a big tv/food star fan. Who the hell is Rachel ray?

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              she also has a daytime talkshow on network tv. She does the dunkin doughnuts adds.

                                              1. re: keith2000

                                                wow, i had no idea about the daytime talkshow. (urban hick without television.)

                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                that is so refreshing!

                                                rachel ray is a cute / formerly cute / annoying (depending on whom you ask) down homey, girl-next-door type who has shows on food network featuring quick, 30 minute meals and food tourism. she specializes in down homey / easily prepped food, doesn't consider herself a chef / cook (though she's published a cookbook), and gets bashed on a lot on this board for having very proletariat tastes.

                                                she also does a lot of product endorsements, apparently.

                                                for the record: i've mostly forgotten what a whopper tastes like, but hey, if she makes a burger that's anything like in & out's, i'll definitely line up with the masses.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      Absolute bliss, if any of her shows are on when I'm channel flipping, I turn off the TV and read. Should of done that a long time ago.

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        Thought you'd appreciate that...just curious, were you able to watch the entire clip?

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          No, about 10 seconds. Was she a high school cheerleader?

                                                  1. If RR serves a 1/2 pound medium-rare burger on an onion bun with thinly sliced tomato, crispy lettuce, a sliver of sweet onion, extra-sharp cheddar, jalapenos, and wasabi mayo, I'm reserving a table NOW. I agree with so may of you...burgers are good eats! I eat nutritionally well 90% of the time, and when I'm bad, I like to be very, very bad. Oh, Oh! I'm getting hungry!!!

                                                    1. oh god I saw her chicken and beef stock in the grocery store the other day and some sheets/blankets with her face on the packaging.

                                                      she's EVERYWHERE

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: bitsubeats

                                                        My RR-branded favorite thing is still the $15 garbage bowl. Ordinary bowls just don't do the job as well...or something.

                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                          Oh yeah, or a freakin plastic bag doesn't do the trick? Yeah the garbage bowl is a stupid idea, and people are stupid for buying into it. Or hell why not just use a bowl that you already own? That's an idea ):

                                                              1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                >>Or just use the garbage.

                                                                Imagine bypassing this obvious idea? Gotta give her credit, though, for coming up with a stupid idea and finding a company to market and people to buy it.


                                                        2. A burger joint seems within her culinary capabilities. Shoot for the stars RR.

                                                          1. Just saw a commercial for Rachel Ray's new dog food, "nutrish" ):

                                                            at least all of the proceeds are going to shelters (right? I wasn't really paying attention) and her dog was really cute.

                                                            still scary though

                                                            1. Sounds like an upscale Johnny Rockets to me.

                                                              Btw notice how she is HOSTING Burger Bash...no competing in it.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                poor (rich) RR she so sets herself up for criticism-does she care?

                                                                EVO NO

                                                                1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                  "Sets herself up for criticism"? Hell! around here it seems she just has to breathe to be criticized. On a related issue why are positive RR comments deleted immediately? I guess the clock is ticking on my post.

                                                                    1. re: chipman

                                                                      Maybe she has bad breath?

                                                                      But seriously there's another side to that coin. Not here on CH but in the American marketplace, all she has to do is breathe and she made another few million dollars.

                                                                    2. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                      Apparently she does care. According to the Houston Chronicle, she just footed the bill for thirty three couples whose weddings were postponed by Hurricane Ike. The event was held at Minute Maid Park, home of the baseball Houston Astros. Some of the couples lost thousands of dollars in deposits. I tried to find the article, I think it was Monday, November 2nd. I could not find it. I think this speaks to my computer skills, or perhaps the Chronicle's website.

                                                                    3. re: Elyssa

                                                                      actually she did have a burger there. It did not get good reviews.