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Feb 8, 2013 11:41 AM

No Rare Burgers for You!

It was my understanding that, as of September, North Carolina changed it's rules to finally allow restaurants to serve rare burgers as long as a formulaic warning is printed on its menu. For at least the second time today, I encountered a restaurant that is unaware of/unwilling to comply with the new standard.

I had lunch today at the Red, Hot and Blue on Falls in Raleigh. One person tried to order a rare burger and was told in no uncertain terms that the kitchen would not serve a burger any less than well done. Not even medium, only well done. The proper warning was printed on the menu.

I don't even like rare burgers but this is ridiculous. We had a similar problem at the Leesville Taproom. At least they allowed medium burgers. Has anyone else encountered this problem since the rule change?

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  1. If you're in a restaurant that currently will not cook a burger under well, you're in the wrong restaurant

    1. I haven't had any problem getting a medium burger since the change, but that's as low as I'm willing to go with ground beef.

      1. LulusDad likes his MR and hasn't had any problem since the change. I'm trying to think of where we've been when he's ordered a burger. I know 501 Diner has done it; and I'm sure there have been other places but my mind seems to be blanking out of them.

        1. It has nothing to do with "complying" with a new standard. Just because the law is changed doesn't mean a business HAS to do it.

          I can see a small mom&pop serving under done burgers, but a large chain most likely will not be doing so. Their liability is much greater and on a much larger scale.

          6 Replies
          1. re: JayL

            What they are failing to comply with a reasonable customer request that many of their competitors will gladly do.. And their liability is covered by the warning printed on the menu.

            To the OP: strange that they would go to the trouble of printing the warning on the menu, and then either not train their servers or simply be unwilling to serve rare. Why bother printing the warning?

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Why bother, indeed? That's what we tried to ask the server. He did not have an answer.

              1. re: rockycat

                They'd create less negative feelings from their customers if, instead of the "consumption of undercooked ground beef" warning, they printed something to the effect that "we have decided not to serve ground meat that is cooked to an internal temperature of less than 155 degrees". At least then customers aren't left to wonder what the deal is.

              2. re: carolinadawg

                i'm no legal expert, but i doubt a warning on the menu covers them from litigation if a customer gets sick from a rare burger...

                1. re: FattyDumplin

                  That's exactly what a (relatively) new NC state law allows, as it does in many (most) other states. This issue has been thoroughly researched and discussed, and it is, in fact, true. Feel free to research it yourself if you'd like, which is probably a good idea before calling someone out.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    Sorry, wasn't trying to call you out... was offering a potential rationale why a restaurant wouldn't want to offer rare burgers. Always tough to properly pass on sentiment on posts :)

                    I wasn't able to find much on the issue, but the clear proxy for me was the McD's coffee case where they had printed warnings on the cup, but got sued anyways and lost.

                    The one article I did find indicated that the warning passes some, but not all of the liability back to the consumer:

                    That puts the emphasis to the customer. They know. You're putting the warning out there. So if they decide to still eat it, it puts more of the liability on them and takes some of it off the restaurants." The quote comes from a restaurant owner, so maybe the issue is that owners aren't sure how much the disclaimer protects them.

            2. i was going to say your first mistake was going to a Red Hot and Blue.... but thats just my experiences with them.

              3 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                My dining choices tend to be a bit limited when I'm eating with my 90-year-old father. But whether I'm at a chain 'cue restaurant or at Chuck's should not be the determinant. Besides, I'm not sure how the fact that you don't like RHB changes how they serve burgers and relate to their customers.

                1. re: rockycat

                  Options workable for my parents are much less interesting than they once were...but dining with them is about spending time together not about the food. At this point I'm happy they are still able to get out and have an enjoyable time!

                  Some meals are about the food, some are about the people. How fortunate we are when the meal is about both!