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Cover 06/12/2013

Burger time!

Reviews of three new Orlando burger bars, plus 25 notable burgers around town



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Burger 21
4192 Conroy Road,
407-203-2848; also 11551 University Blvd., 407-985-3541

So what’s the answer to “life, the universe and everything” in the hamburger galaxy? The folks behind this burgeoning regional chain figure it’s “21” and, hey, maybe they’re right. When I crave a burger, I really don’t want to be boggled by a mind-blasting array of options, and Burger 21 keeps it manageable with a semi-prime number of selections. A kindly staffer may assist you if you seem overwhelmed by the fast-casual ordering process, but once you get your number and take a seat, the only thing left to do is head to the sauce bar, then take in the faintly antiseptic, modern-retro (or is it retro-modern?) decor while awaiting delivery of your burger.

There are a couple of notable features: 1) the inviting milkshake bar and 2) the convenient hand-wash sink next to the exit (and next to the sauce bar). The latter came in particularly handy on completion of the super-drippy OMG! burger ($10.50), a vertically impressive stack of two thick and flavorful patties, applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar and all requisite veggies. Unfortunately, the brioche bun couldn’t handle the juice and quickly disintegrated to a bready pulp. The shroom burger ($7.29) held up, but the burger would’ve benefited from a few more cremini mushrooms. Burgers, by the by, are cooked to medium-well, unless you inform the staff otherwise.

There’s also a gluten-free menu – my dining partner felt the French Meadow Bakery bun was “above average” as far as gluten-free buns go, and that his black & bleu burger ($8.09) was one he’d happily order again. We went gluten-free with the one-pound basket ($6.49) of stringy and satisfying sweet-potato fries and the regular fries, neither of which required saucing. A sweet milkshake fashioned from Blue Bell ice cream is no bad ending.


That One Spot
10968 W. Colonial Drive, Ocoee

There appears to be a food renaissance of sorts going on in Ocoee, and Maguire Road is the strip du jour. In recent months, we’ve lauded RusTeak and the Red Eye Grill, and now we can add the drolly named That One Spot, at the corner of Colonial and Maguire, to the list. It’s a hipster-oriented burger joint right down to the graffiti hamburger mural, but that hasn’t scared off the suburbanites. The sizable crowd occupying the dining room, and the one forming behind us in line, was an encouraging sign, though it prompted a hurried order and a quick dash to an empty table outside (and the watchful, envious gaze of those in line).

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