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Dupont Circle Burger Wars

Soon there will be a:

Five Guys (opened a few years ago)
BGR (opened late 2009)
Rogue States (opening early 2010)
BLT Burger (opening Spring 2010)

BLT Burger is really, really good (at least the one in Las Vegas is). It is way better than BGR -- much better shakes and better burgers. BGR does have some really neat stuff on its menu (tuna, lobster) that could help it stand out. Five Guys serves its niche, and will be much cheaper than BGR or BLT. Rogue States won't last long if the burgers aren't dynamite.

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  1. BLT Burger doesn't look so promising from the website. Kind of artificially upscale/overdone for this area (despite the grating, hypocritical copy). Not to mention that the badly photographed burger & fries themselves look unappetizing.

    BGR is fantastic, in presentation and product, and the Dupont Circle one seems even better than the Bethesda branch. That or they upgraded the offerings for both with the new DC opening.

    5 Replies
    1. re: drsnacks

      I have no idea if the Dupont BLT will be as good as the Vegas one, but the Vegas BLT Burger is much better than BGR. I'd give a slight edge to BLT Burger's actual burgers -- they are maybe only marginally better than BGR. And BGR has the tuna burgers, lobster and better specialty items. BLT has better sides. But BLT wins the grand prize on shakes. No comparison. BLT shakes are amazing and they have great, innovative flavors. BGR shakes are terrible, worst shakes I ever had.

      1. re: masonuc

        I think BRG in Bethesda is great- Have not tried the DC one.
        I tried the Bethesda 5-Guys and was shocked by the puny size of the burger.
        In my opinion, not much of a deal at all because there is barely any meat in the bun.

        1. re: chicken kabob

          I had a Maker's Mark milkshake at the BLT Burger in Las Vegas just two nights ago. LOVED it! If they are going to put one at Dupont Circle, I hope they do this flavor!

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            I hadn't even envisioned the shocking and terrible reality that the Dupont menu might be different than the one in Vegas. If they don't have the Toasted Marshmallow milkshake, I'm out.

          2. re: chicken kabob

            My suggestion for Five Guys is to focus on fries, and maybe get a hot dog (split and fried on the griddle) or grilled cheese if you want a sandwich. I have no idea why people rave about the burgers.

      2. Jeebus Christo look @ those prices. @ (blt)

        Don't let Ray (of Hell Burger/Steaks/Classics fame) find out about this.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WestIndianArchie

          The BLT prices are pretty reasonable for an upscale burger joint in NYC - the Vegas ones seem to be $2 higher across the board. I'd imagine that the DC pricing will probably be equivelent to the NYC ones.

        2. What about that other Top Chef guy, Richard Blais? Wasn't there a rumor he was planning to open a gourmet burger place in Gallery Place, a Flip Burger Boutique? That menu (for the Atlanta location) looked awesome.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hamster

            Hey, that would be cool. I googled and found the rumor you're refering to, so I emailed Flip Burger to see what they have to say. I'll let you know if they respond.

              1. re: hamster

                They wrote me back and said that it's true and they're looking for a location currently. They hope to be up by end of 2010.

                Very cool!

          2. Just walked by Rogue States, and it's open for business. It's on Connecticut south of Dupont. Very short menu, hopefully they execute well.

            1. BGR is good - if they sold beer it would be waaaaaay better. Can't wait for BLT to open.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dcgdc

                Any idea on when this will happen? It supposedly was going to be in the salad bar space (Salad O'Mia, or something?) on Connecticut, between Heritage India and Starbucks. But that spot is still vacant and I don't see any work going on.

              2. I went to Rogue States a few days ago and was pretty disappointed with the burger. The entire thing fell apart with in second of trying to bite into it. A well balanced, built burger is very important and this just turned in to a mess.

                So far my favorite is BGR, although I still appreciate Five Guys for a truly fast food experience. Can't wait to try BLT Burger.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa

                  I thought BGR did sell beer (at least the one in Bethesda) ???

                  1. re: chicken kabob

                    I don't know...I've only done take out from BGR.

                    1. re: chicken kabob

                      the one in dupont didn't have beer

                      1. re: chicken kabob

                        They have an application for liquor license in the window now!

                      2. re: Elyssa

                        Thanks for your review. The yelp reviews also look quite negative...too bad.

                      3. I tried out BGR about a week ago, a Friday night. I had the tuna burger and sweet potato fries, and my boyfriend had the Southwestern burger.

                        My tuna burger was a giant slab of tuna, nicely rare as ordered, with pickled ginger and some kind of mayonaisey sauce. The problem was that it was served warm/borderline lukewarm. This may have been because they wanted to serve it together with my dining partner's burger, and the timing got off, but I was a little peeved. For $13 (for just the tuna burger, I remind you), I would expect a properly served dish. I thought the sweet potato fries were good. A very large serving, not greasy, pleasantly sweet potato flavored. My boyfriend's burger was covered in chili, which was not my cup of tea, but he was pretty happy with it.

                        I would say this place is worth it for the lunch special (burger, fries, soda for $9 IIRC), but otherwise it's kinda pricey for what you get. I also thought the decor was pretty hideous, but to each his own...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: hamster

                          Wait, I'm a little confused - if it was rare in the middle, then it will be lukewarm. That's sort of the definition of rare. Or, are you saying the fries were lukewarm as well?

                          1. re: reiflame

                            No, the fries were hot.
                            I ordered the tuna medium-rare, and I just found it a bit unpleasantly lukewarm. Perhaps you are right about what I should have expected.

                            1. re: hamster

                              Yeah, there's something of a conflict when ordering medium-rare tuna. When you order a medium rare burger, that's warm, red center. But for tuna to stay red, it really can't be much past lukewarm in the center, or it would turn pink super fast. So they have to sear it on really hot flame, and serve immediately. The interior would still be lukewarm at best, but at least the outside could be pretty hot.

                              1. re: DanielK

                                I still think BGR is the best in it's group. The burgers have a great flavor and fries and other sides are top notch. I will try BLT though to compare when it opens.

                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                  Alas.....another burger wars......I'm sorry to say I have overall been disappointed by BGR.....granted its convenient to dupont but Its far from the best burger in the area. But alot of flash for not so great a burger.

                                  I have to say BIG BUNS GOURMET GRILL, RAY'S HELLBURGER, and the even RUGBY are better. I do miss the way FIVE GUYS used to be before they franchised.....which is why I stop by the original joint in VA on 7.

                          1. re: masonuc

                            Shake Shack? That's exciting!! Where and when?

                            Desperadoes Burgers and Fries just opened at 1342 U St.

                              1. re: beauxgoris

                                I've been wanting to go to Shake Shack for years on trips to NYC. For one reason or another I've never made it. I'm really excited about this news!

                                I see from the article below that it will be located at 1216 18th St., and will be opening something during the first half of 2011.


                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                  It's opening in the old Fudruckers in Dupont Circle.

                                  Can't wait! But $8.75 for a milk shake....really???

                              2. re: woodleyparkhound

                                Yep. Shake Shack is on the way. I was just there in NYC and it is awfully good, much better than 5 Guys that's for sure. I like their juicy, greazy burger served poking out of a soft paper pouch.

                                See my post titled "NYC Shake Shack to DC". The Wash Post article is there.

                                5 Guys
                                6210 Quander Rd, Alexandria, VA 22307

                            1. Bobby Flay will also be opening a burger place at 2121 K St NW. Probably some time next year. I think the area is becoming oversaturated with burger places, why can't we get some good BBQ instead?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: jenniferpdc

                                Especially if BF is coming to DC - isn't he known for BBQ? Why would he come here and do burgers instead of BBQ? That's a high ranker in the list of missed opportunities.

                                1. re: Dennis S

                                  He's not really known for BBQ so much as Southwestern Cuisine. But he has been throwing a lot of time and money into this burger chain. I've heard a lot about them. He even has an all burger cookbook out now.

                                2. re: jenniferpdc

                                  Jesus Christ if Flay opens his Burger place at 21 + K then Dupont/'Golden Triangle will be the upscale burger capital of the world. It is getting comical. What's next... In N' Out?

                                    1. re: masonuc

                                      Up next is Go Burger, from the folks at BLT Steak. It will be at Dupont Circle (where else???) south of the circle.

                                      1. re: masonuc

                                        From your mouth to God's ears re: In N' Out. haha

                                    2. I'm glad that DC's crazy for burgers and that Dupont's getting even more burger joints packed inside its small circle, but let's face it: None of those burgers really compares to Ray's. I've eaten and review every burger there is in DC, and the only one that keeps me coming back consistently for more is Ray's because it just cuts out all the gimmicks with its monstrous patty and countless toppings.

                                      What's your take here? Do you guys think anything in Dupont can really be called "best burger" in DC?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: The Food Buster

                                        I'm with you, FB. No, I don't think anything in Dupont can be called "best burger in DC". Though others will disagree, that title belongs to Ray's, IMHO.

                                        1. re: The Food Buster

                                          The BGR at Spout Run in Arlington consistently makes a compact, super juicy burger with a very nice bark. I crave that more than RHB, although I love an RHB, plain of course, no toppings. The toppings at RHB easily overtake the flavor of the burger.

                                          1. re: The Food Buster

                                            Eh, I sorta agree. Ray's is better than BGR, Shake Shack, Rogue States (by a mile), Five Guys. But let me say this, would I rather have a Ray's or Shake Shack? I'd go Shake Shack -- overall it is better. Very slightly worse burger, better bun and then a million other options, including awesome shakes. And compared to BLT Burger -- it's not even close. BLT Burger is unbelievable. Appetizers, tons of burger options, amazing, amazing shakes and desserts. I mean the Vegas BLT Burger is the best burger restaurant in the country I think. But are the actual hamburgers a tiny notch below Ray's... yes. And I realize we are getting a Go Burger, not a BLT, so TBD on how good it is or what they offer from the menu.

                                            1. re: masonuc

                                              Apparently, Smash Burger is highly thought of by foodies and bloggers. Not sure where they are located but their style, as I understand it, is similar to Shake Shack and Five Guys in that they sort of smash the meat down on the griddle hence the name. I understand Penn Quarter and Dupont are hot spot locales in the area, but why don't some of these places come to Bethesda or Rockville or other burbs? I'm in Mont. Co. and I am certainly not going downtown with parking issues and all the rest for a burger. Bethesda has Five Guys now, but that's really low on the list now as these other spots have cropped up. BGR is in Bethesda too but I think it's a little pricey. Ray's has them beat on quality and price.

                                            2. re: The Food Buster

                                              I finally made it to Rays Too. The service was lacking and my onion rings finally came at the end of the meal but DAMN it was the best fracking burger I have ever had. I had the soulful burger. I would compare it to BGFs wellington burger. BGR Wellington was so smothered and salty, I could not taste the meat. Ray's was a perfect balance. With that being said, BGR wins on onion rings and OMG their sweet potato fries...

                                            3. glad this threat came back - we went to BGR the other night. two burgers, one fry, one onion ring, two drinks. $32. WHAT?

                                              Never going back. It wasn't even good. Should have gone with my gut and had sweetgreen instead.

                                              22 Replies
                                              1. re: Jeserf

                                                Yep. My first and only visit their was with my mom and we each had burgers and drinks and one order of fries and it was nearly what you paid. Never again. Tastee Diner in Bethesda isn't a premium burger joint but doesn't serve a bad greasy burger if that's what you like and I do.

                                                Tastee Diner
                                                118 Washington Blvd S, Laurel, MD 20707

                                                1. re: jac0077

                                                  We'll go to Good Stuff. Best veggie burgers we've ever had. My only beef with them is the tiny/short fries. The dip is good, so make longer fries!

                                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                                    Spike Mendelson's place? Yeah, been meaning to try it. I hear he has a new place nearby which I want to say is pizza but I can't remember.

                                                2. re: Jeserf

                                                  What on earth did you order?

                                                  Weekday lunch, burger, fries and a soda is $9.

                                                  At other times, basic burger is $7, fries $3, onion rings $4, and $2 for a soda. So I count $25, not $32. Did you order shakes? Put a lot of extra toppings on the burger?

                                                  FWIW, this is the same price at places like Cheeburger, TGIFridays, etc., so not sure why this is considered expensive.

                                                  1. re: DanielK

                                                    We had two burgers with cheese, fries, onion rings, and two drinks. with tax, $32.

                                                    1. re: Jeserf

                                                      Still doesn't add up for me, unless one of those drinks was a shake. $27 + tax is just shy of $30, not $32.

                                                      Just for price comparison's sake, I went to the Silver Diner website. Now, nobody is comparing the quality of burgers here, and SD patties are much smaller than BGR, but with tax, pretending for a moment that SD was in DC (so using the same tax rate), 2 cheeseburgers with fries, add a side of onion rings, and two sodas, $28.

                                                      So it's $2/person more to get BGR instead of Silver Diner, or $1/person using my math. I'm sure the other chains are comparable in price.

                                                      [before someone points out that adding a side at SD is 3 sides, not 2, I will point out that sides at SD are single-portion sized, and a side of fries at BGR can feed 2-3 people.]

                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                        ok, but our bill was $32 and that is what we got. So you can do as much math as you want, but that's what is on our receipt. Maybe iced tea costs more, but the card was swiped for $32.

                                                        I'm not comparing the price to other places. For $32, the food should have been good. As I said, it was bland, crowded, the tables weren't clean, etc. I think Good Stuff TASTES better for the cost. If i'm spending $30-$35 for BURGERS and fries, I'd want them to be flavorful.

                                                        And I've never been to a silver diner.

                                                        1. re: Jeserf

                                                          Actually, your review above doesn't say anything about bland, crowded, or cleanliness.

                                                          Good Stuff is more expensive than BGR, and IMHO, about half as good.

                                                          1. re: DanielK

                                                            it's half as good to you. not to me.
                                                            never paid $32 at good stuff and their mushroom burger is insane.
                                                            You have your opinion, and I have mine.

                                                            1. re: Jeserf

                                                              Menu prices at Good Stuff, are, almost to the penny, identical to BGR.

                                                              1. re: DanielK

                                                                dude, get over it - we did not like BGR. Our usual meal at Good Stuff with a shake that we share is about $30 and good. If you don't like it, don't eat there. In fact, you can have our spots at BGR. Enjoy sitting on the lap of your neighboring table, too.

                                                                1. re: Jeserf

                                                                  But that's not what you keep arguing. You only elucidated 3 or 4 posts in that you didn't like BGR - what you keep complaining about is the price, which (if you compare the online menus) is EXACTLY THE SAME as Good Stuff.

                                                                  If you don't like BGR, that's fine, and certainly your right. But the claim that they are somehow more expensive than comparable burger places is simply wrong.

                                                                  1. re: DanielK

                                                                    I went to BGR and had a greek lamb burger, a regular cheese burger, 2 beers served in plastic cups and sweet potatoes fries and it ran almost $45 with tax. I think they are vastly over priced/ I think they get the bun right, but I find the meat greasy and the toppings pedestrian at best.

                                                                    1. re: fudizgud

                                                                      I give up.

                                                                      fudizgud, your *food* was $25 before tax.

                                                                      Someone please show me a menu where one of the comparable quality burgers is any cheaper than BGR.

                                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                                        So $25 is cheap for a burger that was greasy, pedestrian toppings and a lamb burger with unplesanat feta and boring tzatziki plus soggy sweet potato fried that have not inspired my partner and I to a return visit? And when you charge $6 for a beer, it shouldn't come in plastic cups but a bottle or real glass. Quality is worth paying more money for. But I don't ahve the quality image that you do for BGR's product you have.

                                                                        1. re: fudizgud

                                                                          Sounds like you got a bad meal. Why didn't you send it back, tell them your problems, and either go somewhere else to eat or get a replacement?

                                                                          There's no point in complaining about price when it's the food that you didn't like. Would you have cheerfully eaten it if it was $10 instead of $25?

                                                                          Frankly, I think a lamb burger with feta and tzatziki is an abomination. If that's what you wanted, you should have gone to a kabob place, not a burger place.

                                                                          There's no excuse for soggy fries, though. Even if you didn't have the heart to take the burgers back, you certainly should have returned the fries and asked for a batch fresh out of the fryer. But to be fair, sweep potato fries are usually a bit softer than regular potato fries. I've occasionally had soggy or lukewarm fries at Five Guys and they've cheerfully replaced them. The replacement has always been as good as they can make them, which is pretty darn good.

                                                                      2. re: fudizgud

                                                                        I so much enjoy hearing someone complain about a simple lunch costing more than $20 per person. I finally bit the bullet this year and set $6 (up from $5) as my benchmark for lunch and I still have a hard time making my goal. Baja Fresh, with their "return visit" discount used to work consistently, but now it's down to $1 off on an $8 ticket. Now and then I'll bust my budget and go for the BGR "Lunch box" special ($10 plus Arlington tax) or Ray's Hell Burger which is a little cheaper since I don't get fries.

                                                                        The burgers aren't such a bad deal by themselves, but the adding toppings, sides, and drinks can quickly double the cost. If you want a burger, eat a burger. If you can't enjoy it without the sweet potato fries and onion rings, fancy toppings, and $5.50 beer or shake, then be prepared for a $20 lunch and consider it a special occasion, just as you would a $75 dinner.

                                                                        1. re: fudizgud

                                                                          Personally I'm willing to pay a little more at BGR because the burger and fries are awesome in my opinion. They are certainly the best burger place (so far) in Dupont Circle. I think their meat is very good and you usually get a nice crust on it, juicy etc. I usually get a cheese burger. I got the turkey burger once and really didn't like it (I thought it was way too thick) so I've just stuck to the basic cheese burger and fries. Haven't tried any of the other specialty burgers yet. Anyone have a favorite?

                                                                    2. re: DanielK

                                                                      Portion size at BGR is considerably larger than that at Good Stuff. I like them both, bu Rogue States is my favorite.

                                                                      1. re: bcarter3

                                                                        Haven't been to Rogue States and may not get the chance. They are in a big law suit and the judge just ordered them to stop operations at least temporily.

                                                              2. re: DanielK

                                                                Not in DC- I think Fresh Grill's burger (Bethesda) w/ bacon & cheddar is excellent- Across the street from BGR (Next to Ben & Jerry's.)

                                                        2. Over it! On to the next trend, please...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                            Just want to throw my 2 cents in. My husband and I eat at BGR and found a way to make it pretty affordable. I order a kids meal: two sliders, fries and drink - and he gets a regular burger or regular sliders (4 to an order) and we split everything. I sometimes just get the kids meal myself for dinner (I'm a normal sized person with a good appetite) - Also their daily lunch special (from 11 - 2) is only 8.99 and includes a full sized burger, fries and a drink. For the quality (and I find it much higher than zburger or 5 guys) that price can't be beat - I mean it's not much more than a McDonald's big mac meal combo!

                                                            1. re: beauxgoris

                                                              That's actually a really good idea. 2 sliders are probably actually more than enough for me. As long as you can get cheese on the sliders and get them cooked to order, sounds like an affordable plan...especially for lunch.

                                                              I personally don't feel that BGR is that outrageously priced though. I highly doubt you will be saving money when Shake Shack or the other burger competitors come to town.

                                                          2. Anybody know when/if Go Burger is opening? Did they run scared from the Shake Shack announcement?

                                                            1. So, hubby and I went looking for a top notch burger yesterday and so I checked out this thread and a few others and I'm confused. Apparently we never got this BLT Burger? And it looks like Rogue States isn't open either? What happened here?

                                                              In the meantime, we went to BGR. Not that impressed. Except the soda-machine-of-the-future did have some novelty value. All I want is a nice, loose-packed burger - done by hand to order - like the bar back in my hometown used to dish up. Guess I didn't appreciate the value of that when I had it. I doubt I'll make a special trip back.

                                                              I appreciate the availability of gourmet options and all that, but first I'm just going to start with a basic burger and if it's not great I won't be moving on to the other parts of the menu.

                                                              ETA: Oops, missed the article about the nuisance lawsuit. Hopefully they fix the exhaust vent problem - must've been miserable for the employees that brought the suit where it was venting before. Cuba Libre appears to vent from their kitchen directly into the face of anyone walking down the sidewalk on H St and it's pretty unpleasant for the mere few seconds it takes to walk through there.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Raids

                                                                Does anyone know when shake shack is supposed to open?

                                                                1. re: beauxgoris

                                                                  The latest I've heard is Summer 2011 via this: http://www.welovedc.com/2011/01/21/al...

                                                                  I super excited to get a Shake Shack here!

                                                                  1. re: SandyCat

                                                                    I'm excited too. Wish they were opening even earlier.

                                                              2. I don't think BLT Burger will ever open.