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Aug 2, 2013 03:05 PM

Upmarket 'Chain' burgers.

We've always loved Five Guys, especially their fries so we usually just go there, but this last week we've tried two more places. Last week we got a coupon for Smashburger. DH had a bacon cheeseburger and regular fries and I had the 'seasoned' fries and veggie burger. I couldn't taste the rosemary on my fries but they were lovely and crispy, and I loved the veggie burger, and John was happy with his. We'll go back there again... and today we went to a movie in Boca so I said 'let's try Shake Shack.' We were very disappointed. The caramel shake tasted exactly like it came from Wendys, my Chicago dog was okay but I like the one at Five Guys better. And DH was super disappointed in his burger, which seemed on a par with McDonalds. The fries were nice and crispy though. But we won't be going back - why go out of our way when we can get something virtually the same at Wendys right by our house?

So, what's your opinion? What other burger places should we look out for? There's no Sonic in our area so we can't go there... John's into burgers, I love shakes.

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  1. Forget Sonic burgers anyway -- they're revolting, IMO. If you want a _real_ upmarket chain burger, find a Fleming's steakhouse, and go there during happy hour, when their Prime Burger (normally something like $14) is $6. Made from aged steak trimmings, comes with cheese, bacon, and fries. Best deal around.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Steve Green

      I just discovered the greatness of the Fleming's happy hour prime burger. I'd never go there on my own -- I think of it as a restaurant for special occasions or rich people only -- but happened to be in the neighborhood a few Fridays ago at 5 PM, the bar was empty, and the burger was a classic. Definitely a great deal.

      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

        +3 on that fleming's burger special. i live in boston which has no "happy hours", so can't enjoy a cocktail promo with it, but that burger is amazing.

        same can be said for all the upscale steakhouse chains. burgers are generally around $12-$18. spendy compared to a sonic, yes, but usually prime beef, ginormous and not garbage.

      2. re: Steve Green

        Could not agree more about the Sonic burger. Got one once, thought it was horrible.

        Sonic is all about the Coney dogs, tots and shakes though a lot of people love their lime ades.

        I'm not sure if it's "Upmarket" or not since I've never been and don't live anywhere near one but supposedly Culver's does an outstanding burger.


        1. re: Davwud

          Culver's is decidedly not upmarket but is a terriffic chain.

        2. re: Steve Green

          Along these same lines, at least here in LA, McCormick & Schmick offers their burger for only a couple of dollars during happy hour - one of the best deals in town. Not sure if they have any locations in your area, however.

          1. re: Marvin

            oh! yeah! forgot about that! here in boston it's like $2-$3 with fries and is very good!

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              The McCormick & Schmick happy hour burger is big and cheap, but IMO several notches down in quality from Fleming's.

              1. re: Steve Green

                totes agree. but since the m&s burger is about the same price as mickey d's? ;)

        3. For an upmarket burger chain I like The Counter Burger. They have a good burger cooked medium so it's pink and topped with toppings of your choice. The fries are good if you like the skinny fries [I like Five Guys fries more]. I think they mostly a CA chain... unfortunately they closed their Seattle store.

          2 Replies
          1. re: knowspicker

            The Counter is good. I also like Unami Burger. Again, a mostly LA chain.

            1. re: knowspicker

              I loved The Counter when I lived in Chicago. Looks like that location is closed now though :(

            2. They've opened a few BurgerFi locations in Georgia near me, I like their burgers and their mocha shake was really good. Have not tried their hot dogs yet.

              1. The Longhorn chain does a very good burger & they'll cook it to whatever level of doneness you prefer.

                1. I like shake shack burgers, but certainly the hot dogs and ice cream are nothing special. however the burgers to me taste of much better quality meat than wendys' (at least the way it's handled) and it's also very very consistent, whereas I cannot say that about wendys. they also serve alcohol!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: fara

                    Second this. I've never had a bad burger at Shake Shake. Great bun (none of this bloated Wonder Bread bun) and it's cooked medium rare, unlike Five Guys' "juicy well done" whateverthehell that means. I've pretty much given up on Five Guys given their wild inconsistency: soggy fries (and way the hell too many) and soggy burgers. Shake Shack half wraps theirs like In N Out so the steam doesn't build up. Shake Shack's frozen crinkle cuts are always consistently crispy. I don't see the point of bragging about your fresh cut potatoes if you don't know how to fry them properly.

                    Another place I don't understand is Red Robin. Been to two and they were both deafening and mediocre. Fortunately, I have THREE Roy Rogers nearby so I'm never that far from a Double R Bar Burger or their Gold Rush Chicken Sandwich, which makes Chik Fil A look like a pile of puke.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                      I guess it depends on what your expectations are for the bun whether it's 'great' or not. I HATE those squishy sweet yellow buns. Give me a cuban roll or a proper white roll any day with some real substance to it. That was something I liked about Smashburger - you have the choice of 5 different styles of bread. I DID like shake shack's fries though...

                      1. re: Kajikit

                        "Squishy sweet yellow buns?" Do you mean brioche? I HATE brioche. If it's not on Martin's Potato Rolls, for me, it's not worth eating.