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Local Chefs Have Some Love for Burger Chains

Burger Week's Burger Chain Power Hour continues with the opinions of some local chefs regarding burger chains.

Michael Schlow Burger Week portrait"You’re going to laugh at me. You know what chain — I haven’t been in a million years — but what chain used to have a great burger? Pizzeria Uno. I probably haven’t been in ten, twelve years, so I’m sure it’s changed, but I went in to a Pizzeria Uno one day and was pleasantly surprised how good the burger was." —Michael Schlow, chef/owner of Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada

Will Gilson burger week portrait"Growing up, [my favorite burger chain] was always Friendly’s. That was where we went when we’d go out for a burger. [Nowadays] I guess I'm over the Tasty Burger-to-Shake Shack comparison. I just think Tasty’s great; I obviously like to support local, and I think that those guys do a really great product. If I have to go up against whether I’m going to get a Shake Shack burger or not, I’d rather wait to travel to the West Coast to get an In-N-Out burger. I feel like if that’s the same burger you’re going for, the In-N-Out burger’s superior to a Shake Shack burger without a doubt. I don’t think that In-N-Out is going to be launching an IPO any time soon, but every time I go to California, it’s literally the first stop. If I’m in a car, I'm stopping on Highway 1 and getting an In-N-Out-burger. it’s pretty great. And the fact that they have special ways of ordering, too, is pretty ingenious." —Will Gilson, chef/owner of Puritan & Co.

Vincent Vela"[As a high schooler,] I convinced my friends that I could eat a 9x9 [at In-N-Out] — that is nine beef patties and nine pieces of cheese, sandwiched between one bun. As soon as class was over, we raced down to In-N-Out. I ordered my 9x9, with a side of fries and a shake. This six-foot, 140-pound scrawny kid began the challenge. It started off well. I ate, and ate, and ate. About 3/4th into the burger, and fries, and started to hit me. It was marathon eating. I took breaks, felt full, laid down. In the end I finished the whole lot, and never again have I attempted this challenge. I still eat a 4x4 occasionally when home, but that is the limit." —Vincent Vela, maître d’ and owner of 80 Thoreau

Brian Poe burger week portrait "Shoney's Big Boy in Dalton, Georgia is the first [burger] I remember falling in love with — it had special seasoning, sauce, iceberg lettuce mess." —Brian Poe, chef/owner of Tip Tap Room, Estelle's, Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, and Bukowski Tavern

Tim Wiechmann burger week portrait"[The first burger I ever ate] must have been McDonald's. I have fond childhood memories of Big Macs for sure. They are an excellent sandwich, perfectly thought-out." —Tim Wiechmann, chef/owner of Bronwyn and T.W. Food