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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 Somerville...is 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. 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.

                2. They don't answer the phone, or at least the number that Google gives me.
                  Does anyone have a contact number?

                  2 Replies
                  1. Tried them for lunch today. It was the thought of homemade chips that got me there. My verdict:


                    I ordered the jalapeno burger. It was a good size patty with sliced jalapenos and cheese enveloping them. The burger was slightly overcooked. But, the biggest strike was that it was dry. Not a hint of juice. I also didn't like the bun - too big and too soft.

                    The big disappointment were the chips. Well shaped but undersalted and not that different than fancy kettle chips from the store. I was expecting and hoping for really thin and really light chips. Alas.

                    I'm glad I tried it but have no need or desire to ever return.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: beetlebug

                      Totally agree about the burger itself. Dry, even though it appeared to be medium rare as ordered. Also it was underseasoned ... I recall your putting S&P on the meat more than once. My bun was large and not soft at all. It almost seemed stale as it sort of crumbled apart as I ate. Thankfully it wasn't a big gooey brioche, but it wasn't good either.

                      The beans were good (mmm bacon) but the cole slaw and chips were average. I don't need to go back.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        That's one thing I like about Four Burgers. Even when they overcook the burgers - I always ask for Med Rare and sometimes get Medium (by old standards, not modern healthy froo froo standards) it always ends up super juicy.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I like the juice to drip down my arms. Some call it fat, some call it juice ... whatevs.... I want it.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            That's the best part!

                            I made some burgers the other day by making a compound burger and putting them inside the patty. The stuff exploded in your mouth when you bit into it. For some reason, some of my friends thought that sounded gross :)

                            But yeah, dry & unseasoned doesn't bode well, that's my issue with O'Sullivans as well.

                        2. re: beetlebug

                          Does an "ennh" rate above or below a "meh"?

                          1. re: Parsnipity

                            ennh and meh are the same to me.


                            Either way, I won't be returning to the dry burger and disappointing chips.

                        3. And this is why I try to avoid places that have Flash navigation and/or PDF menus ...

                          Randomly ended up here over the weekend and could not have been more underwhelmed. The nacho fries were just some fries with a small amount of cheese, a small amount of lettuce and a few black olives on top. Looking around it appeared that other fries were similar (teensy amount of whatever made them 'special').

                          Burgers were uniformly well done - might have had to something to do with the obvious fact that they had a gajillion patties on the flat top and were not cooking to order. If you're going to cook everything well done, why bother asking me?

                          Ignoring that fact, burgers themselves were ok at best.

                          Chips were kinda crappy.

                          1. I'm surprised this thread is as positive as it is.

                            Stopped here this afternoon thinking it would be a UBurger type of place--you know, just wanting to concentrate on the humble burger and make it delicious. Partner in Crime had a burger, which was reported dry and bland (I had a bite; it was true). Also got some lemon pepper fries. Not sure what I was expecting (and may I say it is bizarre that you can't just get a normal portion of fries as a side with your burger, but must order a gigantic bowlful at $4 to $7 [!!] or so), but they were soaked in some kind of slimy, hugely artificial-tasting dressing, really gross. I got "boneless wings" (oh, whatever) in a flavor called "buttery garlic parmesan." Chicken fingers are sort of a guilty pleasure for me, what can I say. They were totally saturated with the ersatz butter-flavored (but not) substance found on bad movie popcorn. I am pretty easy to please compared to some Chowhounds, but whole thing was really kind of enraging. They seem to create this vibe of CARING, then go way out of their way to drench everything in these insanely, garishly artificial flavors. I just don't get why anyone would do this to food.

                            1. Hey, at least Antonia's is gone!

                              1. The gumbo is awesome. Had burgers there 2x now, both times they were very good.

                                1. I was the first to dismiss it when I saw they opened up in Davis but my friends and I really had a fabulous meal there after all. It IS expensive and not superbly juicy but it is also very tasty with tons of sides and a giant helping all-in-all. I would recommend it: http://blogs.townonline.com/bostonfoo...

                                  1. Is this place without beer? burgers without beer?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: RoseWethersfield

                                      They didn't have beer when they first opened...but are supposed to be taking care of that.
                                      Whether they have or not yet, I'm not sure.

                                    2. Went there for lunch today and I have to say I was disappointed. The meat itself was cooked to my liking and juicy. The bun on the other hand had very light grill marks but was stone cold. Obviously the roll was previously grilled well before the burger was ready. Plus, a little butter on the roll would certainly have improved the flavor. I'm a firm believer in a good meat to roll ratio and the roll was too big for the pattie.
                                      For 8+ dollars for an 8 oz. mushroom swiss burger I would expect basic amenities such as tomato, lettuce, pickle, and onions. None were offered or served. I wouldn't mind paying extra for them but they should be offered.
                                      Also, 6 dollars for an order of sweet potato fries and 4 dollars for a fountain drink? The serving of fries was definitely enough for two but still not worth 6 dollars. Especially when most burger joints throw in fries automatically. Instead, I got a handful of handcut cold unsalted chips. If you're going to take the time to make poor chips why not spend just a little extra and throw in some fries instead? I don't think I even need to comment on a 4 dollar fountain drink. It speaks for itself.
                                      A review I read here attempted to defend BBC by saying "Yeah, but you get free baked beans or cole slaw. Well, I had the baked beans. Which were very good. Unfortunately, you get about 2 bites worth so to me it doesn't seem like any sort of defense.
                                      All in all, the place has potential but obviously is NOT run by a true burger aficionado. It seems to me that whomever opened the place said "Burgers are hot right now. Let's do those" without taking the time to go to some of the competition and see how it's done right. There are some really good burger places in the area so why go somewhere that only gets the patty right?

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: str82hel

                                        So I haven't even been to the place but there appear to be a couple of inaccuracies in the above post:

                                        1) The menu (online) clearly states that basics such as tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion (and multiple condiments) come standard with your burger. I also notice that there is no pre-defined "mushroom swiss burger" on the menu - I suspect that the poster may have ordered a burger with mushroom and swiss (which are an additional .50 cents each), and there was a failure of communication on whether the basics were wanted as well. Shame on BBC for not asking - really, who does not want at least some of the basics on their burger?

                                        2) The menu (online) indicates that all fountain drinks are $1.99 with free refills, so not sure how the poster was charged $4 - perhaps an inadvertent overcharge.

                                        3) Most burger joints that I am aware of do not throw in fries automatically, e.g., Wild Willy's, Five Guys, etc. O'Sullivan's does and I wish they didn't.

                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                          "I also notice that there is no pre-defined "mushroom swiss burger" on the menu"

                                          While I know it's the cool thing around here to try and discredit new commenters that give negative (or overly positive) comments, the online menu clearly shows an "Alpine Burger" - mushrooms sauteed in garlic parmesan butter with swiss cheese.

                                          1. re: ChocolateMilkshake

                                            Well, I'm friggin' blind - totally correct. There it is at #3.
                                            But otherwise, Chocolate, not trying to discredit the poster - Just the idea that our collective reportage should be accurate. My BS detector went off when the poster wrote about a $4 soda and seemed to suggest that they did not offer basic fixin's as part of their menu.

                                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                            That third point about RFO is hilarious!

                                        2. Finally made it there last weekend. None of the specialty burgers were quite what I was looking for, so I ordered a build-your-own-burger with ketchup, mayo, mustard, pickles, grilled onions, tomato and American cheese. My girlfriend ordered the black and bleu.

                                          Our order came promptly (it was about 4 p.m., so kind of a lull maybe). Overall impressions:

                                          I ordered my burger medium rare but the result was closer to rare. Next time I'll order medium.

                                          The bun was nothing special - I prefer a thin sesame roll - sort of a biggish potato-type roll and room temperature.

                                          The quality of the ground beef seemed top-notch. Bravo.

                                          With all of the wet toppings I ordered, it was a very sloppy burger, the type where you have a hard time making sure that the burger doesn't slide out between the buns. But tasty.

                                          The cole slaw was a little on the sweet side for me. Needs more vinegar. The homemade chips were salty and good.

                                          My girlfriend said she likes the black and bleu at O'Sullivan's better. Felt shorted on the blue cheese.

                                          Overall: I'm more of a West Coast In-n-Out style burger guy (or Five Guys), but I enjoyed this more than an O'Sullivan's. I'm going to give this place another shot soon, knowing what I do now, and tweak my order accordingly.

                                          And I need to get to Flat Patties one of these days.

                                          1. Okay, adding my two cents. Had burgers here with some out of town guests 2 weeks ago. I was very underwhelmed and have been putting off commenting because I enjoy writing about good food much more than bad food. But it has to be done.

                                            I ordered a basic cheeseburger to get an idea of how they do the basics. It was correctly cooked medium rare, but underseasoned and bland. Needless to say, watery pale tomato. ("Don't even ask for tomatoes til August"- Tony Maws, loosely quoted) And the fries-- it's all true, people. You have to order a separate side; it's overpriced and THEY DON'T MAKE THEM IN HOUSE!! Yes, the death knell- frozen, bought-in fries. The onion rings they claim to make there, but frankly I don't believe them. The potato crisps that come as a side were cold, floppy and greasy.

                                            There are some pricing oddities on the menu that bugged me. The gist of it is that if you get a cheeseburger it's one price, but if you add cheese to a burger it's a different price. Someone flunked basic arithmetic.

                                            Anyways, perhaps some pressure from the foodie community will be enough to make them realize you can't run a respectable burger place serving frozen fries. But until I see something here about that having been corrected, I won't be going back. Gargoyles with a delicious $11 burger including house made waffle fries is right down the block.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: Parsnipity

                                              I agree- with Gargoyle's right there, why go anywhere else in Davis for a burger?

                                              1. re: bobot

                                                How is Mike's for burgers? I have not been but I note that for $11, you can get two large cheeseburgers and a side of fries.

                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                  The burgers are ok at Mike's, but whenever I go there to order food in general, I feel like I should be saying, "Excuse me, but could I place an order to go or should I just go %&$# myself?"

                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                      Worse. Think Cheddar's in Fresh Pond, but without the sarcastic humor.

                                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                                        That woman is really unpleasant. I used to always feel like telling her "look, I'm sorry your restaurant serves lousy food too, but don't take it out on me."

                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                          I would think that you would probably find yourself lying on the floor somewhere between "lousy" and "food." :-b

                                                        2. re: hiddenboston

                                                          Weird, I had really nice service the one time I went to Cheddar's. Maybe I caught them on a very good day?

                                                      2. re: hiddenboston

                                                        Hmmm..the food at Mike's nothing to write home about - agreed - but we've never had anything but efficient service (read : gruff in an Ess-a-Bagel-NYC kind of way).

                                                        1. re: digga

                                                          That's been my experience as well. The folks who work there don't exactly turn on the charm, but I've never found them to be rude or unpleasant (we go maybe once or twice a month to have dinner and watch the Red Sox).

                                                    2. re: bobot

                                                      I've had 15-20 burgers over the years at Gargoyles and have always loved them. Until last Friday night (July 24), when our burgers were suddenly nowhere near as good. The bun was a white tasteless doughy thing. Fewer fries than usual. And on top of that, they've downsized the Murphy's stout from a full imperial pint to what looked to me like less than 16oz, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Still $5.25 though. They skimped on the quality of the bread basket too. Was it a bad night or is this what the burger is like at G's now?

                                                      1. re: stefanc

                                                        I haven't been in a while but I hope it was just an off night. We'll see next time I go in!

                                                    3. re: Parsnipity

                                                      I think they also need to realize that you can't run a respectable burger place serving burgers that bad. I also got a pretty plain burger and it was amazingly tasteless. Like they vacuumed out the beefy flavor. I won't go back except as a spectator to watch friends eat deep-fried burgers and burgers with bacon and peanut butter on them. There are too many places serving delicious burgers to bother with BBC.

                                                    4. I was driving down Thayer St in Providence today and I think I saw a sign for Boston Burger CO. opening right there. Am I sorely mistaken?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. We went last night... I don't know if they've cleaned up their act in the last few months, but it was nothing like the negative reviews on this thread. I had the King (peanut butter, bananas, bacon and this cinamon sugar stuff), which was perfectly cooked medium rare. It wasn't the juiciest ever, but there was some drippage. The girlfriend got the Veggie burger which the waitress had admitted was not made in house, but it was really good anyway, not just a garden burger or boca.

                                                        Fries are expensive but that's because they aren't portioned as a side dish. We got the nacho fries with cheddar, lettuce, olives, etc and a side of sour cream. It was big enough to be a meal in and of itself, and we couldn't even finish all of them.

                                                        There WAS beer being sold. I didn't see a beer list, but I think it was probably verbal. People were definitely drinking beer.

                                                        The coleslaw was tangy and delightful. The homemade potato chips were nice but unnecessary since we had fries.

                                                        Overall it was a lovely dining experience. The only thing I didn't like was that I had the chips AND the fries. I think they should offer a side-dish portion of fries as a substitution for chips.

                                                        Boston Burger Company
                                                        37 Davis Square, Somerville, MA

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sourcandy

                                                          Placed right in the middle of Davis Square in Somerville, The Boston Burger Company certainly has a great location going for it, and not much else. We arrive on an absolutely perfect Sunday afternoon, seated right by the open bay window in this small, but inviting twelve table spot. The menu, as expected, is mostly burgers, but in order to please everyone they boast a few chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, and an assortment of salads that have been done a million times over. (wedge salad with blue cheese anyone?) The menu is written in a faux style chalk board, giving the impression of daily menu changes and a homestyle feel, but anyone can see through that. The smells are nice, you can pick up the griddled aromas blocks away and I am excited to dive in. The burgers (twenty-two in all if you count conch and veggie) all come with homemade potato chips and a choice of baked beans or coleslaw. Fries and onion rings are to be ordered separately, and some toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, etc.) are free, while others are an additional charge, pretty standard fare. I order a cheddar cheese burger and as a group we split the classic fries, garlic parm fries and onion rings. There are eleven different fries options in all, as well as conch bites and the like. Bad sign number one as our rings and fries arrive first, a good five minutes ahead of our burgers. I realize they may seem more like a side dish at this point, but c'mon, serve the fries with the burgers please. One bite into the fries and I'm upset, while crispy on the outside, the fries are barely cooked on the inside, more like potato wedges than anything, and lack any salt whatsoever. The onion rings have a nice batter, text book actually, but have zero onion taste in them, they're all batter. The garlic parm fries are decent, but a poor quality of parm, which is unmelted, is duly noted. The burgers come, mine is of course over-cooked, and there is way too much lettuce, at least 6 thick pieces. The cheese is nicely melted, but almost nonexistent, the saving grace might be the bun, which comes from Piantedosi in Malden, and is delicious, although I wish it had been griddled or toasted. The homemade chips are abysmal, totally over-cooked, and we all agree they are barely edible, a complete afterthought. The coleslaw is nice, well seasoned. The burger overall is pretty good, made from Angus beef, it is, well, beefy, seasoned the best of anything else on the menu, but still not enough for me. It does have good flavor and is relatively juicy, I just wish it was cooked to order. Nick's is cooked perfectly, and I can't understand the inconsistencies, not just here, but almost everywhere in Boston, in cooking a burger to order. All in all, for three of us, we spend $55 including tip, but probably didn't need the onion rings and two different fries, one would have been enough. The surroundings are good here, the service is attentive and it looks the part, but never fully delivers.

                                                          Boston Burger Company
                                                          37 Davis Square, Somerville, MA

                                                        2. I eat here for lunch about every other week and think the quality has gone up over the past few months. They seem to have a new cook who does a better job with cooking burgers to the correct doneness. That said, even when they do cook it to a medium rare, the patty seems much drier than a med rare at say fuddruckers.(If I could combine the fuddruckers patty with bbc's topping options I think I would be in heaven) They have a special right now that is disgusting and delicious: the hot mess- a burger topped with chopped lettuce, onions, pickles, and bacon all mixed up with thousand island dressing and then plops some sweet potatoe fries on for good measure.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: joth68

                                                            Do you know if they're making their own fries or still buying pre-cut frozen? Until someone can assure me that they've got some actual potatoes in that kitchen, I'm staying away.