The Scott’s Addition location, having debuted this previous December between Ardent Craft Ales and ZZQ, is their flagship, a proving floor for the Eazzy Burger idea, which Fultz, Graf and their traders have plans to construct upon sooner or later. And one can simply see it being scaled right into a fast-casual franchise of its personal.
“We positively wish to construct a neighborhood chain that would even perhaps unfold throughout Virginia,” Fultz says.
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Don’t come anticipating dainty, feel-good burgers. Those listed below are extremely messy — to a napkin-destroying diploma. Served on a silver canteen tray, just about the one factor maintaining their contents from spilling out is a sheet of parchment folded round them like origami.
All of the burgers have decidedly large personalities. The “Cheazzy” ($11) greets you with a sloppy smooch of cheddar and orange sauce: the creamy, zesty variety that each burger spot claims to be their very own “secret” recipe. It’s the identical greasy, juicy carhop-style cheeseburger you’ve identified and liked your complete life, solely a extra grownup model of it. A salad’s value of vedge — lettuce, purple onions, tomatoes, pickled cukes — fills out its buns like wads of money at a strip membership, including a flirty quantity of freshness to every mouthful.
One other by the identify of “Guthrie” ($12) vows to tug in your heartstrings. Its luscious layers of American cheese and Duke’s mayo and candy, achingly-soft onions woo you with all types of pleasantries. And a pickled jalapeno or two pipes in each from time to time to maintain the banter full of life and attention-grabbing.
Or maybe you’ll be courted by the “Large Iron,” ZZQ’s closest kin, a burly however tenderhearted Texas cowboy of a burger ($15). For a patty that’s been chilly smoked, then topped in smoked cheddar and smokehouse bacon, this large man just isn’t fairly the smoke present you’d count on — and but, it’s truthfully a reduction. The very last thing you need from a burger is the feeling of inhaling an open campfire. A schmear of onion jam imparts simply sufficient chirpy sweetness to keep away from that. I solely want the jam had extra of a twang to it.
“Agriculturally, the best way the meat trade has been managed for many years and many years and many years is basically horrible on the planet,” says Fultz, who admits that, as a lot as he hates the entire scenario, the quantity of brisket wanted to maintain the barbecue enterprise at ZZQ has at all times saved them from renouncing the usage of industrially-raised cattle.
It’s a identified truth: business meat manufacturing has led to an enormous enhance in greenhouse gases, water contamination and deforestation. 1 / 4 of all meals manufacturing emissions is brought on by the meat trade alone. And till lab-grown proteins develop into a actuality (and we’re not far off, from what I hear), we must always most likely discover some center floor between going chilly turkey on beef and, fairly actually, consuming ourselves into oblivion.
At Eazzy Burger, they’ve been in a position to obtain this moral steadiness.
Even their serving ware is eco-friendly. As indicators across the restaurant helpfully inform you, “all the things in your tray is compostable — the papers, the previous few fries, forks, the sauce cups and lids, even these consuming cups.”
Whereas a way of morality and social consciousness helps defy its company identification, the enterprise additionally runs like a well-oiled machine. It jogs my memory of Shake Shack within the early days, earlier than the Danny Meyer-owned burger model grew to become a world chain.
The menu, the handiwork of a skilled graphic designer, optimizes an array of face sorts and colours in a neat however visually interesting manner. Service is streamlined but courteous. And orders are dispatched effectively and constantly — with the choice of textual content notifications for purchasers eating indoors or at one of many picnic tables within the Ardent beer backyard.
The place has combined success with its non-burger menu choices. Fries are reliably scrumptious, a détente of crunchiness on the skin, creaminess on the within. And I’d gladly partake in a rugged tangle of the shoestring onions.
However the Not-A-Fish sandwich ($12) is a flop. They are saying a jury might indict a ham sandwich. Nonetheless, I’m not so certain any jury, from right here to Alaska, would discover something remotely fishy in regards to the restaurant’s meatless different to a Lengthy John Silver’s fried fishwich. It’s, in concept, a cool idea; the unflaky and decidedly soy-based texture and taste of it isn’t. Even when it weren’t as overfried because it was, the entire thing is, sadly, only a block of tofu in cod’s clothes.
Someday, we could also be asking ourselves, “What number of burger joints is just too many?” Not simply from an environmental standpoint, however from the angle of an oversaturated market. There have been so many new additions to this class with Richmond’s newest burger increase that it was named “No. 1 burger metropolis in America,” in keeping with one web site’s algorithm.
Even so, Eazzy Burger has proven that there’s nonetheless room left on this metropolis — and the world — for extra of something, even burgers, at the very least if one is keen to do issues in a different way and just a bit bit higher.
PHOTOS: Eazzy Burger
Justin Lo is the Occasions-Dispatch eating critic. Observe him on Twitter or Instagram @justinsjlo.