2009-08-26 / Restaurant of the Week

Bareburger...Organic and Eco-Friendly

The classic burger joint just got a cool, new twist by serving only certified organic meats, vegetables and beverages. Burgers are essentially re-defined by these organic principles which offer superior taste and quality with a healthy respect for food and the environment. All the food is purchased from farms and food cooperatives and even the cups, straws and bags are made from biodegradable

corn and sugar cane. BareBurger's ideal corner location is so inviting with its floors made of eco-friendly bamboo, recycled tin ceiling, exposed brick walls and a facade made of glass garage doors that roll up to create an outdoor restaurant indoors. Even the clever chandeliers are made from spoons collected by one of the owner's grandfather. BareBurger is the brainchild of six good friends who wanted to elevate the burger experience by making it healthy and environmentally friendly.

One of the first things you'll notice is that burgers can be ordered using a variety of organic meats that are typically healthier, including Piemontese beef, bison, chicken, turkey, elk, lamb or veggie burgers for those eschewing meat altogether. You may also choose among freshly baked artisanal breads such as the 7-grain bun, the brioche, wrap or order your burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf to enjoy the pure taste of the high quality meat. Ostrich meat is 97% lean, has little cholesterol and more protein than beef, for example.

The friendly waitress, Effie, does a fine job explaining all the options to diners and helps you choose among the tantalizing choices. My bison burger was remarkably rich and flavorful, yet very lean, topped with a slice of Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and the special BareBurger sauce that makes this original BareBurger so delicious ($8.95). My dining companion opted for the avocado California burger made from Piemontese beef and topped with fresh slices of avocado, aged cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. The 7-grain bun was sturdy enough to hold it all together, but two hands are required to delve into this delicious meal. After declaring it "excellent", he went on to the shoestring French fries, made from organic potatoes. The onion rings are also popular, made with a special batter and served with peppercorn steak sauce, curry ketchup and Bare- Burger special sauce. Other dipping sauces include spicy chipotle mayo, ranch, horseradish, dill mayo, orange and ginger mayo and honey mustard. Try these delicious dips on your burger, fries, rings, or the panko coated chicken tenders, made from organic, boneless chicken ($8.95).

Diners at the next table ordered the lamb Bareburger and the savory aroma made me want to plan my next visit so I can order one. The caramelized onions and cucumber mint yogurt that accompanies this juicy burger brings out the wonderful flavor of this high quality, natural lamb ($10.95). A perfectly grilled Portobello mushroom tastes like a good steak and BareBurger's Portobello burger will make you forget about meat, topped with Danish blue cheese, roasted red peppers, baby arugula and organic dressing ($8.95). I'm curious to try the elk burger and was told that it's a particularly good choice for the Jalapeno Express burger, since it holds its own against the jalapeno jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. Go for the works and order the bacon cheese BareBurger topped with aged cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion. This is also a good option for the chicken or turkey burgers.

Wash it all down with organic iced tea, sweetened with Agave syrup, made from cactus, or all natural sugar cane sodas in a number of flavors. The coffee is organic as well, and purchased from fair trade suppliers. The organic milk shakes are too good to be missed, made with farm fresh ice creams and milk in 7 flavors to enjoy alone or to share ($5.95). Soon beer and wine will be served and these will also be organic!

Your children will love the "Cubby Meals" made for wee ones. Named Grizzly meal, Panda meal and Polar meal, these petite meals feature organic burgers, chicken tenders or a chicken wrap.

I normally do not describe bathrooms, but alas, even these are eco-friendly, with cork wall-covering, a specially designed toilet and hand dryer. It's easy to see that a lot of thought and consideration went into the design of both the restaurant and its menu and ingredients. That's all great, but all you need to know is how delicious these burgers are. Whether you prefer to eat organic food or not, you ought to try a meal at BareBurger and be reminded of what real meat tastes like. It's a palate-opening experience. Bare- Burger opened just two months ago, but is already buzzing thanks to the great burgers, friendly, efficient staff and a commitment to quality. Visit their Web site for more information.

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