Friday, May 20, 2011

Burger Babies, Charleston, SC

Who's Your Burger Buddy?  Not So Much...
On the run we ate lunch today at Burger Babies, one of the newest restaurant additions on King Street.  Open only two weeks and still lacking signage (“It’s coming tonight.”), it was easy to find with its door propped open and the scents from the restaurant calling us.

The d├ęcor is clean, sleek and simple.  Stainless chairs, stools and several tables along a long banquette. There is a wall of “wood” that helps add to the openness of the place.

Ordering is easy.  You walk up to the one register they have (this may become prohibitive if they get busy), place your order, give your name, get a fountain drink if applicable and take a seat. They also offer a few beers.

Ordering At Burger Babies
The menu is limited, you have 8 options. Four on a Brioche toasted bun and four on a steamed bun. There protein options include a hamburger, turkey burger, chorizo, baby portabella cap, shredded chicken, pork belly, tempura shrimp and tofu.  They have many signature toppings that I’m certain can be mixed and matched. Sides of “Chips” include American fries, sweet potato tots, chips, and plantain chips. They also offer a variety of shakes and malts, and one dessert.

We ordered a hamburger without onions, a chorizo burger, American fries and a split a fountain beverage. Our lunch total was $10.78. I’d also like to add that the “chip” section of the menu is confusing. After the listing of American fries it said, “Cheddar”, so I expected melted cheese on them, but there wasn’t any.  Maybe it’s a topping?

They did have frequency cards – buy 12 burger babies, get one free, but unless we asked about them the cashier would have never budged from his post.  But we did take one in case we go back, which is unlikely.

We got our fountain beverage and took a seat.  From where we were seated we could see the line. There were four cooks on the ten foot line, a food runner, (one of the owners perhaps?), and the cashier. There were maybe 10 people in the restaurant. So I thought that they might be training new folks (let’s hope so), since they are so new. Otherwise this is a very expensive labor model.

With so many people working, can someone pay attention to table appearance??  Although our table was clean our Heinz ketchup bottle and many around us, had ketchup all over the bottle and slid out of my hand when I went to move it. I traded it with another table’s bottle.

In a flash our lunch was served. They call out your name and they bring you your order. The two Burger Babies sat on top of a very small (some might say a “suggestion”), of French Fries.  And although their tag line is “Small Burgers Big Flavor” the emphasis is on small. The Chorizo burger was at least 1” smaller than the hamburger. A preemie perhaps? (See photo)
Chorizo Burger
In Case Size Matters
Hamburger, Fries & Chorizo Baby




As Ray Kroc once said, “Everyone starts their meal with the fries,” which we did. They were so salty I felt my ankles swelling as I sat there. The hamburger was also incredibly salty.  The chorizo was tasty but not just small, tiny.
The onions I asked removed from my burger had not been.  With 5 people behind the line can’t someone read the tickets?!?

The “food runner” that we thought might be an owner sat at the counter in front of us and began to work on his laptop.  He then turned to us and said, “How was everything guys?”  My husband said, “OK.”  I shrugged my shoulders and if asked I was going to tell him what we thought.  I was surprised that with that type of response from a customer he wouldn’t have probed or said, “Just OK?” or something… But he simply turned back to the laptop and returned to work.

The concept can really have a chance if recipes are followed, the salt shaker is put on the shelf, and special requests are honored.  Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?


We gave Burger Babies 3 out of a possible 5 plates.




Burger Babies on Urbanspoon

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