Today I was hanging out with my little brother and making sure to spend as much time basking in air conditioning as possible (I don’t do the whole “feels like 105 degrees” thing very well). I had a place in mind to take him for lunch nearby and earlier he mentioned milkshakes, which totally fit with my idea to visit BurgerFi.
I had been to BurgerFi one time before for a meeting at their Aventura location, but only grabbed a Diet Coke or something. NO WAIT as I’m writing this I realize that’s actually a lie. I had been there another time as a late night snack in Delray Beach. I can’t even remember what I got, but I think I might have gotten something small like fries. Definitely not a distinct experience to share many details. Anyways I had heard BurgerFi mentioned here and there as a good burger chain, but it didn’t compel me enough to seek it out. The closest one was in Aventura, which isn’t that far, but I just don’t head that direction often.
Then about a month ago I was totally blown away to discover there was a new BurgerFi location like twelve blocks from me. How “new” it is I can’t actually say because I realized then I hadn’t driven up Collins Ave between 30th and 70th streets in months. It might not have come through in many/any of my posts, but I really don’t like traffic and driving in Miami. If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t add me duh- PDXerMIAmian) or know me in person (I think people still interact face to face?) you probably already knew this. I try to get from point A to point B with as little trouble and road rage as possible (there’s always going to be a little bit of the latter in me in Miami). And Collins Ave is just not the route to go to ensure that. Lost drivers, tourists, double parked cars, delivery trucks blocking lanes, slow turners… the list goes on (trust me I could go on and on). I always take Alton and/or Indian Creek to get north on the beach. So even though I literally had been within feet of BurgerFi grocery shopping every week at the Publix next door, I never saw it was opening/opened. Seeing it open and the realization of how long it had been since driving up Collins kind of blew my mind (right I already said that).
So my little brother and I headed there for lunch after watching Turbo (a pretty hilarious movie I must admit) in the comfort of our air conditioning. The BurgerFi location in North Beach is in a strip mall on Collins between 67th and 69th. There’s a Sudsies and a Radio Shack there as well (Radio Shack being the reason I finally saw a BurgerFi existed there). From visiting those places I knew parking wasn’t the best in the lot and certainly is not easy along Collins. I snagged some street parking along Harding Ave off 67th and we were able to take a shortcut through the Publix parking lot. That was a lucky thing to do because as we entered BurgerFi there was a sign saying there is no parking in the strip mall lot. That’s kind of crazy given the lack of parking options in the area, but it is what it is. I would definitely recommend walking to BurgerFi if possible. But if not then I’d look for street parking on Harding, Abbott, 67th, or 69th before trying your luck on Collins. Worse case there is a public lot on 72nd and Collins, but it was way to hot for me to have started there (and I’m usually one who will totally park farther away to avoid a hassle).
So I hope that if any BurgerFi people read this they don’t take it offensively, but to give all other readers a clear picture of what BurgerFi is like I have to say it. It’s pretty much like Shake Shack. They have the buzzing pagers and hip, metal chairs (although Shake Shack’s chairs might not be made out of recycled Coca-Cola bottles like BurgerFi’s!). BurgerFi’s menu has burgers, hot dogs, fries, and custard desserts, plus craft beer and wine.
Pretty much Exactly Shake Shack’s menu categories. Some of its desserts are even called concretes, although I know that’s a more generic desert. I don’t mean it really as a knock to BurgerFi at all, especially since it was in South Florida before Shake Shack expanded down here. But you get a good idea of what BurgeFi is like from the comparison (if it was a Venn diagram there would be a lot in that middle slice though).
Burger Fi does have fresh cut fries and Shake Shack didn’t add that until a few months ago! So that’s a difference! BurgerFi also has a few other things that sets it apart like its quinoa burger and some more gourmet toppings (different kinds of cheese, salt and vinegar potato chips, Peter Luger BBQ sauce). Plus onion rings, although that doesn’t do me much good… (I promise this gluten-free isn’t bitter. Much.). All their meat is made from humanely raised animals so that and the recycled chairs make it a very “green” burger chain.
Looking at the menu the brisket burger definitely caught my attention. What I like is that they have “Green Style” clearly listed on their menu, where you can swap the bun for a lettuce wrap. Not the same as a gluten-free bun, but I always like seeing lettuce wrap as an option. For whatever reason I was pretty self-conscious growing up about needing to order burgers without a bun, so green style is just way easier to say. It also shows their workers are at least aware of no-bun as an option. I even remember an incident maybe two-three years ago in Miami where someone was like “HUH?! You don’t want the bun?!”. That was more hilarious than traumatizing though.
Having it listed on the menu I thought why not just say it for a hot dog too. I rarely ever get hot dogs at restaurants because ordering it without a bun seems even more weird to me. I’ll just go ahead and say it- hot dogs are really meant to be eaten with buns when you’re not in the comfort of your own home. Maybe it’s due to our Puritan ancestors, but that just seems to be the American way. But green style seemed like a somewhat appropriate exception. And I figured for the benefit of my readers I should also get a hot dog to be able to comment on them. So readers for your benefit completely (since I would NEVER order that much food on my own…Right?) I also ordered a Wagyu Kobe Beef Dog green style. And how could I not get fries! I got a large fresh cut fries with cheese sauce added to share with my little brother. He got a regular hot dog and a strawberry milkshake.
I’ve had Kobe beef burgers before, but I didn’t really have any preconceived expectations about the hot dog. Despite that I was kind of disappointed just in that it tasted kind of like a normal hot dog. I’ll need to compare it with their regular hot dogs next time. It was a good quality hot dog I could tell that though. My little brother was a fan of his (the more American one with the bun in the pics below).
I liked the brisket burger, although it took a few bites for the flavor to really sink in. Growing up without buns I think my style is more simple burger patties where the meat and cheese are the main flavors. There wasn’t a crazy number of toppings on this burger (blue cheese, tomato, pickles, BurgerFi sauce), but I think the toppings plus the lettuce wrap (which I think kind of dilutes the flavor) made me think “where’s the brisket flavor?” for the first couple bites. It became more distinct as I ate away however. I don’t remember tasting the blue cheese very much though. It did come with two patties, which I appreciated (although if I had read the menu the normal amount it’s pretty clearly stated). Overall a good burger, although I’m definitely interested in comparing it to their regular burgers.
The fries I was really surprised by given that they were pretty huge! BurgerFi definitely takes their “large” size very literally. The fries themselves were pretty good by themselves and decent with the cheese sauce. There were just so many and the cheese sauce made them a bit heavy. Plus I had just eaten a double burger and a hot dog (you’re welcome readers!). My little brother was pretty full after his burger and shake, so he was only able to help somewhat with the fries.We did decent work on them though. I’m easily satisfied with fries and these definitely did the trick. The next time I definitely want to get them with Parmesan cheese and herbs on top. BurgerFi’s fries seem perfectly made for that.
BurgerFi has a lot of things going for it, including ones that make it similar to Shake Shack and sets it apart. They even have a secret menu (though not so secret since it’s actually on their menu), which Shake Shake does not have (but In N’ Out does…Hmm). I’d be very curious to have a vegetarian friend tell me their opinion on their quinoa burger (sorry I may be willing to make a sacrifice for my readers and get a hot dog AND a burger, but don’t think forgoing meat is one I’ll make). There are also a lot more BurgerFi locations in South Florida than Shake Shack (and many across the nation), but I really hope to not have it be Shake Shack vs. BurgerFi. They’re similar, but BurgerFi is worth considering in it’s own right. Next time I definitely want to try their regular burgers, Parmesan and herb fries, and maybe a shake (my brother really liked his).
BurgerFi- 6812 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL (and numerous locations across the country)