Austria, Eating Out

BURGERs: Linz Gets American Burgers (Mostly) Right

A new restaurant opened up on Linz’s main drag last month.  BURGERs: The American Way is a local chain that has finally made it’s way to Linz’s inner city.  Some friends (a group of British, Irish, and American TAs) and I decided to put their claims about “American-style” burgers to the test.

burgers linz

I was a bad food blogger and didn’t have my camera with me at the time, so you’ll have to bear with me and my borrowed photographs.

BURGERs is decorated in a slightly kitschy Old West style, complete with fake sun-bleached cows’ skulls, life-size cow statues, and stools covered in fake cow hide.  Somehow it all fits in with the modern layout, slate gray wall trimmings, and exposed brick back wall.

You can order a burger straight from the menu (they have names like “Smoke House,” “Most Wanted,” and “Route 66”) or customize your own, a la Chipotle, Subway, or Five Guys.  You then receive a number.  We didn’t have to wait long until our orders got called.  The menu consists basically of burgers and fries, and for fries you have four options: plain, cheesy, spicy (“Mexican”), or cheesy and spicy.  Fries, a burger, and a fountain drink cost €9,90.  This is about the cheapest a full meal from a restaurant ever gets.  I had a Route 66, which had lettuce, bacon, Swiss cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms, and “special sauce.”

Photo: from the BURGERs Facebook page

What makes BURGERs truly “American-style“?  A few things.  First of all, extra sauces are FREE.  Yes, you usually have to pay for ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise in Austria.  Second of all, there are so many sauce options, including several varieties of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbeque sauce, different brands of hot sauce, French’s mustard, Heinz ketchup, HP sauce for the Brits, and some European knock-off versions of barbeque sauces.  These were in little baskets labeled “For Free.”

Next, there was a soda fountain.  The kind where you can fill up your drink yourself, make a weird soda combination, or do whatever.  These are quite rare here.  The cups were significantly smaller than in the U.S., but certainly large enough.  Especially since you can refill your cup.  Oh, and the lids and straws?  Also labeled “For Free.”

Guess what else was free?  Peanuts!  Like at Five Guys!  So far BURGERs has done everything right.

Photo: from the BURGERs Facebook page
Photo: from the BURGERs Facebook page

Now, what about BURGERs doesn’t quite fit with their American burger-joint ideal?  There were three things my friends and I noticed that, had they been included, would have totally cemented BURGERs as a true American-style restaurant.  1. They only offered one drink size, which I am perfectly fine with but I know would cause trouble in America.  2. NO CHEDDAR CHEESE.  This is a serious oversight in my humble opinion.  Your options are American, Swiss, Gorgonzola, and Pepper Jack.  3. Little American flags in every burger.  This would never happen at a burger join in the U.S. –it takes too much effort and we may be a patriotic nation, but we’re not that patriotic.

Overall, though, we had a great experience at BURGERs.  The food was fresh, hot, and tasty.  We loved being able to add whatever sauces we wanted at no extra cost.  And it was clear that whoever came up with the concept certainly did their research.

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