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Apr 7, 2009 11:21 AM

Boston Burger Co.

The new Boston Burger Co. opened yesterday in the former Antonia's space in Davis Square. Their menu -- mostly "Angus Burgers " -- has many standard gourmet-style burger toppings (such as a 'black & blue burger' and a 'buffalo burger') with a few oddball ideas thrown in, like the Artery Clogger (a deep-fried beer-battered burger topped with bacon, cheese, and bbq sauce), the King (topped with bacon, bananas, and peanutbutter), and a conch burger topped with mango salsa and jerk mayo.

Their prices are in the $8-$10 range for a burger, while their fries (plain, flavored, and sweet-potato) are $4-$7 for a side, which seems pricey.

All of their burgers can be substituted with a veggie or turkey burger for an additional $1, which is an unusual surcharge, seems to me.

Anyhow, I'd love to hear anyone's experience with the place.

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  1. They are charging MORE for a veggie burger?

    3 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      That's the same thing they are all whining about on the Davis Square Live Journal where I first saw this. Charging *more* for a veggie burger seems out of step with the norm, but charging this much for a burger and fries seems tone deaf right now.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        I know it's an old thread, sorry for the bump, but this is a common annoyance that many people have with restaurants who serve veggie items that I'd like to give another perspective on.

        At wholesale prices, average quality fresh ground beef is usually about a buck and a half per pound (topping out at just under $3/lb at savenors wholesale prices), which is about $.10/oz and requires almost no labor to assemble. A typical frozen veggie burger from a purveyor is going to be about $.20/oz or more, the old pricing sheet that I just grabbed gives $0.22/oz... they're about $.40/oz in a typical grocery store. These require even less labor than forming ground beef patties but have fairly low quality.Making it yourself (which they absolutely should be doing given how much it sounds like they're charging, though they're obviously not) generally requires fairly expensive ingredients (Tofu, TVP, Nuts, etc), so it would still cost more than ground beef per oz, but probably less than frozen patties. The amount of labor required is significantly greater though.

        Although the percieved value is certainly lower for items like this, the cost is often significantly higher (double in this case). It's one of the toughest parts of running a restaurant kitchen, trying to balance spending on different ingredients, paying more for things you can sell for more while cutting costs on things that people don't pay attention to as much.

        Another good example is everything that comes with the burger. Decent quality buns, typical condiments, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, etc. could easily make up as much as 1/3 of the cost of the burger, probably over half if you're using a really good quality bun, probably the majority of the cost if you're using something like heirloom tomatoes, but generally these items aren't charged for (extra/sub etc) because there isn't a significant percieved value in the general dining public. A slice of cheddar on the other hand which most likely cost the restaurant a dime can easily fetch another dollar plus.

      2. Are you saying a burger and fries run from $12-$17? Wow! Real recession busters!! I have seen those prices in Manhattan but in the rent that high?

        5 Replies
        1. re: bakerboyz

          The rent's not cheap in Davis Square, but charging $8 for a burger that doesn't even come with chips -- and then offering 'seasoned fries' for $7 on the side -- is a little ridiculous.

          And yeah, I find it hard to believe that a veggie patty costs more than an "Angus burger", so the $1 charge for a veggie burger substitution is also kind of ridiculous.

          1. re: bakerboyz

            Gargoyle's (also in Davis) charges $10 for good sized burger- the most recent iteration was with cheese, bacon and a pimento aioli I believe, and it comes with a generous portion of waffle fries. I've always said that for that style space and atmosphere, it's a bargain. This helps prove it. Plus you get a basket of foccacia when you sit down, even if you're just ordering off the bar menu.

            1. re: bakerboyz

              With those prices, you can start counting down the days till they close.

              1. re: treb

                Yep - those prices are soooo 2007!
                Did one of the food gods put a curse on that space?
                I'll save my $10 for a run to Johnny's Foodmaster for a couple of lbs. of ground beef, some rolls, ketchup, an onion, some Velveeta - make me a whole plate at that price, and the indigestion will be earned honestly.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. To follow up: I went to BBC last night with some friends, and we were all impressed.

                For apps, we tried the Mac & Cheese bites (with a thick marinara) and the Conch Bites (with a yummy 'bloomin onion' style horseradish dip). Both were tasty little piles-o-grease.

                Two of us got the Waikiki (bacon, ham, pineapple, teriyaki), one got the Alpine (mushrooms in garlic parmesan butter with swiss), and I got the Bahama Mama (a conch patty with mango salsa & jerk mayo). The Angus burgers were large, meaty, perfectly cooked, and well-seasoned, with a nice pile of toppings. My conch burger was nice and crispy with a tender conch interior, and the jerk mayo was excellent.

                Nicely crisp, warm and tasty handmade potato chips were served on the side along with their own baked beans, which are worth getting a side of all by themselves. Fries are extra, but you get a more-than-ample pile; we split an order of the "BBC sweet potato fries", which are covered in cinnamon and caramel sauce and would make a great desert.

                The veggie burger, they confirmed, is just a frozen store-bought patty, and yes, it costs $1 to substitute it, which is a little ridiculous. But besides that quibble, the prices at the place aren't crazy for the portions and quality you get, and the people running the shop obviously really care; they don't cut corners. I'll definitely go back.

                1. Alright, I went there Tuesday Night and have a few things to say in defense of this place:

                  - The burgers DO come with chips. They also come with your choice of baked beans or coleslaw.
                  - The fries are HUGE plates and can easily fill two or three.

                  Overall? It was delicious. I got "The King" -- a burger topped with peanut butter, fried bananas, and bacon. I know it sounds strange (that's why I got it) -- but it was a delicate blend of sweet and salty and deliciousness. The lady got the Turkey burger w/ cranberry sauce and stuffing and all that Thanksgiving jazz. She enjoyed it.

                  It's surprisingly a sit-down-and-get-served-by-a-waitress kind of place. Not exactly what I was expecting -- I thought it would be more like a Four Burger / b.good / Flat Patties. It's not. It's better.

                  I do agree though, it is a little ridiculous to charge $1 more for store-bought veggie burger.

                  Attached is a photo of "The King", with Mac & Cheese bites in the background.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: gondaba

                    That does look good. Those chips look like they could be homemade, are they?

                    1. re: erwocky

                      Yes, the chips are homemade and come fresh and warm, lightly salted. They're great.

                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        Yeah, I have to agree that the price point isn't as bad as people are making it out to be... I had a half-pound Inferno burger (haberno salsa, spicy chili pepper mayo, cheddar) and homemade chips and cole slaw, plus a drink, which was more than enough, and it was $11. The women sitting next to me got chili cheese fries that could've easily fed a small, polite family of four. Plus, it can be table service, and they have those French doors that open onto Davis when it's a nice day... I think it was a very solid addition to the area.