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Elevation Burger, A Virginia-Based, Quick-Serve Hamburger Franchise Expanded To Multiple States and Countries


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We had dinner on a whim at Elevation Burger last night, and it was a very pleasant experience. The place is clean and well-lit, the people were friendly and informative, and the food was fresh, good, fast, and cheap. They have all-natural beef and two different kinds of veggie burger, which are cooked separately from the meat burgers. Their milkshakes are thick and delicious -- you know it's going to be good when they have to use a spatula to coax the shake out of the metal thingy! Their fries are lovely -- very thin and cut and cooked (in olive oil!) fresh just for you. I had the veggie burger number 1 (I believe -- the one that "tastes kind of like meat" versus the one that's entirely vegetables) with cheddar, mayo, and ketchup, and my companion had the Phat Burger (twice the meat and twice the cheese biggrin.gif ). We both had fries, and I had a chocolate milkshake with Oreo in it. Clearly not the most healthy meal! But tasty and hot and perfect after a lousy day sad.gif All in all, I believe that for the two of us, it came to about $15. We'll definitely be back!

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These last three posts prove, definitively, that there *is* no correct answer to who has the best hamburger.

I'm not quite sure what to think about locations of "known" restaurants that are in airports, food courts, etc. Are they representative of the "real" restaurant, or are they to be graded on a(n expens

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Elevation Burger will spread. Their fries taste virtually identical to "well done" fries at In 'n Out and their version of the In 'n Out "double double" is vaguely similar. Their shakes are also excellent. Overall the burgers lack some of the "juice" of In 'n Out-possibly because of Kobe beef-and the grilled onions don't melt into the cheese quite the same way (perhaps the absence of fat ground chuck is again the reason) and the buns are a bit different but despite the obvious comparisons to Five Guys (which I view as really inconsistent) Elevation Burger is a decent imitation of the California legend.

Order a "Phat Burger" with everything, extra sauce and grilled onions and you'll have 90% of a double double.

The "Vertical" burger is a 3 x 3, 4 x 4, etc.

Their owner is as obsessed with hamburgers as anyone on this or any board. He grew up in San Bernadino and lived in Texas for three years. He knows In 'n Out, the Texas burger joints (hamburgers are a BIG deal there) and Five Guys.

I'd choose Elevation Burger over Five Guys down the street from me. In 'n Out still sets the standard but this is a big step closer to it.

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Rats. A friend wanted to go there for lunch earlier this week and I declined and choose pizza instead. Now I'm sorry. We'll have to give it a try VERY soon. My friend said she and her kids had been there three times in the past week.

Edited by Free Wilma
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I shouldn't read this website just before lunchtime!

I snuck out of work and drove over to Elevation Burger at about 12:15. It's a little further afield than I usually go for lunch from work, but I had to try it.

The place was pretty deserted when I got there. The staff are very pleasant, but I don't know what they would do if they actually had a lunch (or dinner) rush, because their production line is very slow. I didn't check my watch, but with no one else ahead of me, it seemed to take a long time for my order to be ready.

I drove back to work, eating the fries in the car, while they were hot. I don't think I've ever had fries cooked in olive oil before. They were fresh and crisp and brown, and somewhat oily, but not a gross oily. They were perfectly salted (to my taste). They cut their fries much thinner than 5Guys, and I think that makes them crisper.

My Big Phat Burger was lukewarm when I finally got to it, but it was very tasty. The meat had decent flavor (I agree that it's pretty lean, though), and their special sauce is enjoyable. Everything did taste pretty fresh.

I wish I could have tried their shakes, but the burger and fries was enough for one meal. Maybe I'll get a smaller burger next time and indulge in ice creamy goodness.

It's too far away for me to make a habit of lunching there, but I do like them a little better than 5 Guys. They just have to get their assembly act together before they get really popular!

[edited to add: Their parking lot is tiny! I noticed when I backed out of my space that, if there had been a car parked in the space directly across from mine, I would not have been able to get out very easily. I had to back my Toyota Corolla wagon (compact) into the space across the aisle so as to get enough room to turn toward the exit. Next time I'll park on that side street, where spaces are reserved for that shopping center.]

Edited by ScotteeM
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:lol:

Shades of Carnac the Magnificent!

Man oh man, that phat burger and fries were a taste treat!

I noticed a sign on one of their doors saying that they are closed Sundays for staff training, administrative work, etc. Maybe they are still working on getting the line up to speed.

Edited by tripewriter
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I met the owner Hans Hess today (he was working the register). He's friendly, enthusiastic and setting an infectiously upbeat tone for the cooks making the burgers and fries - it's great to see people working together that actually seem to like each other and enjoy themselves.

The burgers aren't perfect, but they're more than good enough. The patties (in my Big Phat Burger) came out medium-well, but I suspect you could ask for them medium-rare (can anyone confirm this?). Joe H is right about the juiciness. The tomato slice was blah and the buns are ordinary, but the cheddar tastes like cheese, and the sandwich as a whole is exactly what you seek. For anyone new to the area, this important burger joint will give you a glimpse of what Five Guys was, way back W.I.D.S.

My fries were a bit too limp at first, but were so hot that they actually continued to cook and crisp for a couple of minutes. Elevation Burger takes obvious pride in its fries: they're very good, and the olive oil imparts a bit less 911-ness than does peanut oil.

If there's a better place in the area for this type of food right now, I haven't found it. Not necessarily worth a journey, but certainly worth a detour.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. Note to Hans: You may want to turn your tubs of Blue Bunny ice cream around so the ingredients are NOT facing the glass case. :lol:

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If there's a better place in the area for this type of food right now, I haven't found it.  Not necessarily worth a journey, but certainly worth a detour.

Does that mean when the co-branded Don Rocks/Michelin guide to Washington comes out this will be getting two rosettes (or would they be referred to as two ventworm nuts)? Edited by Sthitch
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The burgers aren't perfect, but they're more than good enough.  The patties (in my Big Phat Burger) came out medium-well, but I suspect you could ask for them medium-rare (can anyone confirm this?).
One of the patties in my burger yesterday was medium-well, the other was medium rare. I didn't ask for a specific temp, but was pleased they weren't cooked through.

I did notice the person at the grill station had a habit of pressing down on each patty several times with the spatula while cooking. I bet the burgers would be even tastier and juicier if those fresh beef patties didn't get such a vigorous workout.

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In' n Out does the same thing when they cook their fresh ground chuck, i.e. flattening the patties on the grill. If you order extra sauce/spread it will help compensate for the somewhat drier meat. I also think the Phat burger-with two patties-is much better and lends itself to a juicier burger. GRILLED ONIONS AND CHEESE are also absolutely essential to this combination.

The location of Elevation Burger is terrible. No foot traffic, not that many office buildings nearby-not much of anything except Falls Church Yellow Cab and a roadhouse selling Hazel's chili almost across the street. This will catch on because of the "feeling" inside as well as the food. But I'd really like to see what this would do on, say, Connecticut Avenue around L street or in Reston Town Center.

Last: the Phat Burger is NOT In 'n Out but it is "reminiscent" of a double double. I am convinced the french fries (olive oil or not) are carbon copies of off the menu "well done" fries at In 'n Out. Ask Hans to do his fries "animal style." That's taking the fries and adding melted cheese, grilled onions and sauce on top of them.

In 'n Out is not fast either despite the name.

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I wonder if you could order your burgers 'unsmashed."

I also wonder just what kind of meat they use. Whether they use "Virginia Kobe beef" or "fresh ground chuck" does not tell me much. The kobe could be chuck. The question to ask is "is the meat graded prime, choice, select, standard, utility, cutter or canner." At least in theory, that information would give you a better indication of how much fat is in the meat. Of course, they could add fat to an inferior cut of meat to enhance its juiciness. More fat=better hamburger.

*

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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Threads like these are why I love this board. Went with a couple of coworkers today. They raved about the fries. My burger actually tasted like beef! The shake was excellent as well.

Totally put our meal at Five Guys earlier this week to shame, and it even cost less. Undoubtedly worth driving an extra five minutes. The location is not ideal, but I suspect this is why they can afford to charge so little for a quality product.

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To amend my opinion from above.  Based on a visit tonight with my wife I now view Elevation Burger's fries superior (yes, superior) to In 'n Out.  I would also place their cheeseburger at 95% of In 'n Out (up from 90%).

Janet and I were in there yesterday as well, about 5:30 (probably a bit earlier than you). My experience was not as positive. The fries were crisp, but maybe too crisp--the insides, especially the smaller ones were hardened up; personally I like a crisp exterior but a soft interior--I was thinking they would have been much better fried that long if they had been cut a bit thicker. One problem with frying small cuts (shoestrings especially) is avoiding overcooking, and maybe they just have consistency problems. For the burger, I had the single pattie, which might have been a mistake--the double may be a better way to go. There was no pink in the center, and it was over sauced and over lettuced. It didn't seem juicy to me, but it was hard to tell under the sauce. The pickles were good tho I must say. As was the chocolate malt. I'll try it again some day soon. But my next visit to the spot will take me across the street to P&P for a chili mac. Maybe I'll do a twofer!

As an aside, I don't understand the point in grinding up "Kobe" style beef into burgers. AFAIK the virtue of Kobe is tenderness, not taste or juiciness. If you grind it, you lose it's main virtue anyway, and it is no better than other forms of beef. Personally I'll stick with good ol' 80-20 chuck.

Edited by johnb
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I'm with johnb...my burger didn't have great flavor, and my shake had huge ice crystals. I loved the fries though; they had great flavor--though they're not as good as the best 5G's fries, for the reasons johnb stated above. And you do have to like them well done. And the people were nice, and the burger was decent (nice to see someone in this area unveiling a "spread"), so I'll be back.

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I went today, had a Phat Burger, I hated the name, loved the burger. I thought that it was handsdown better than any 5 Guys I have had in the past 4 or 5 years. I agree with Silent Bob that my burger actually tasted like beef, not something less like I seem to find at other restaurants. My wife felt the same way about her burger. I did not notice any ice in my vanilla shake, if I had, I would have been annoyed, but since I didn't I have to say I loved it. I am not sure that it is fair to compare the fries to 5 Guys. I would rather eat the Elevation fries, but I like the thinner crispier fries, over the limp grease bomb beach fries from 5 Guys. Next time I go I will try the spread.

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A quick FYI for those investigating the Elevation website: the site lists their Sunday-Thursday hours as 11.30-9.00, but they're in fact closed on Sundays (a little lesson learned the hard way this afternoon).

le sigh

Ah well, I'll have to give them a try again next time I'm out in the Tysons area.

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A quick FYI for those investigating the Elevation website: the site lists their Sunday-Thursday hours as 11.30-9.00, but they're in fact closed on Sundays (a little lesson learned the hard way this afternoon).

Another lesson learned about the website - don't trust the google map. I wound up hunting up and down the 400 block of NORTH Washington this afternoon :P , based on the directions Google gave me.

Fortunately though, I got turned around and made my way south to a very tasty burger and fries. Fries cooked in olive oil, mmmm, flavorful and salty. Maybe not quite as crispy as I'd been hoping based on earlier comments here, but, IMHO, I do believe they're better than 5 Guys. A couple of bottles of malt vinegar around the place wouldn't be a bad idea :( .

The cheeseburger was good, not dry or overcooked, but lordy, was it a mess to eat. And I only got the regular old cheeseburger, not the double meat Phat burger. It was a little easier to handle once I removed the huge hunks of iceberg that were throwing things off balance. The balsamic mustard and fried onions both added good flavor to the standard toppings of ketchup, lettuce, pickle, Elevation sauce, and tomato .

Worth the trip - once in a while - I'm still feeling very full hours later :lol:

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Went last night....kinda disappointed. That picture of a thick juicy burger on their website is downright misleading. Had I gone expecting an In and Out burger I may have been less disappointed. I can confirm the inconsistency with doneness. I ordered one and got well done, ordered a second and got medium, ordered a third specifying medium, and got well done again.

The kids cooking those patties need a timer, and a lighter hand. I agree that they smash all the juicy goodness right out of the poor things. That said with all the sauces, and good toppings the damn thing is pretty tasty. Order one plain though and you'll see these burgers (if your expecting more than fast food) come up a bit short.

Edited by scottreitz
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It's really interesting reading through this thread and the differing opinions on Elevation Burger. My second burger WAS better than the first and the second time I had their fries these too were better. But the first visit was still really good. I believe it is fair to say that there really is inconsistency in the preparation of these. I suspect it also varies depending on who cooks them and who does the french fries. It would seem that when Kobe beef is smashed a few times too many or cooked a bit too long it makes greater difference in the finished product than, say, ground chuck which has much more fat to begin with. The french fries-at their best-are really good, though. I personally think they are better than Five Guys. But I also believe that the original Thrasher's on the south end of the boardwalk in Ocean City are FAR superior to any that I have ever had at Five Guys including the original near Bailey's Cross Roads ten years ago.

I know that the couple who own Elevation Burger follow this board and care very deeply about the opinions of everyone. I would suspect that timers will show up near the fryer that the potatoes are cooked in (similar to McDonald's) and that much more attention will be paid to the consistency of how the burgers are cooked.

I've probably been quite fortunate since I haven't had a dried out burger or overcooked fries-yet. Still, I really like this place and with their only being open a month or so I would expect their consistency to dramatically improve.

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A quick FYI for those investigating the Elevation website: the site lists their Sunday-Thursday hours as 11.30-9.00, but they're in fact closed on Sundays (a little lesson learned the hard way this afternoon).

le sigh

Ah well, I'll have to give them a try again next time I'm out in the Tysons area.

Made a successful trip to EB yesterday afternoon.

I was happy to see that they'd made a point of adding a big 'Closed Sundays' sign to the door (although their web guy is slacking; the hours are still wrong there). Apparently they're trying to set some time aside for training on a day when they won't be up to their ears in customers. It appeared that they're trying to cross-train their staff now, which is always a good idea, even if you wouldn't normally have your shake maven running the register.

It's so pretty and clean inside too, very bright and cheery, versus the Early Bathroom look common to every 5G's I've been to.

As for the comestibles:

If I hadn't been heading to Moorenko's right afterward, I'd have gotten one of the shakes. Their list of add-ins was sorely tempting.

I got a Veggie #2 with caramelized onions, the +1 got a regular cheeseburger. I enjoyed my burger thoroughly, with the caramelized onions as a particular highlight - the flavors melded in such a way that it tasted like I had bread and butter pickles on the sandwich, which I love.

The +1 enjoyed his burger, but was slightly put out by 1) the use of actual cheddar on the burger (gotta love him) because it didn't melt completely and 2) the uniform appearance of the patty, which threw him off because both he and I are pretty sure they patties aren't bought preformed. Perhaps they're using a patty cutter?

We both liked the fries a great deal, and appreciated that they're served in portions suitable for a single human being rather than the entire 83rd Airborne. They're quite a different style from those at 5G, and are definitely for those who appreciate a very browned fry - and preferring thin fries doesn't hurt either.

Although we did go at an off time of day, we were both a little worried that the location may not be well-trafficked enough to support EB in the long term. The +1 opined that Elevation would do obscenely well in a food court, especially given how reasonable their prices are.

Edited by Principia
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I think this is where I get embarrassed about how many times I've eaten there since "discovering" it :lol: ...Hi, my name is Anne, and I'm an Elevationaholic...and I'll be there again tonight!  :P

Elevation Burger is definitely provoking some interesting reactions. Some folks really hate it (see this thread on Chowhound: http://www.chowhound.com/midatlantic/board...ges/73929.html), some love it, some think it's ok if you're in the neighborhood, etc.

Speaking of the neighborhood, I work for a Falls Church concern that is moving to what is now the big hole in the ground in back of Elevation. Several of my co-workers are already Elevationaholics and no doubt that number will grow when we move next year.

I think their burgers are pretty good and the fries are really good -- but I'd like to see a bigger order of fries on the menu. Maybe not as big as Five Guys', but still something more than what they now give you.

Edited by Twinsdaddy
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Since I was such a good sport and allowed my wife to drag me to Tysons Corner so that she could shop, she treated me to lunch at Elevation. This time was different than the first, not in that I was less impressed, but more so.

This time I ordered a cheese burger (instead of the borishly named Phat Burger), with all of the regular toppings. I also decided to try the chocolate shake, with some banana. The shake arrived first, and was chocolaty with just enough banana flavor to make me happy, and no piece too large to block the straw. My burger was cooked to medium, and was juicy and flavorful. The toppings, including the special sauce were perfect. This is the type of burger eating experience I remember as a kid. I loved that I could taste each topping in each bite, and that the bun did not distract from the flavor (neither too much nor too little texture or flavor). The fries were as good as last time.

After this visit I would not hesitate to visit them again.

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We live close enough to Elevation that it's just inexcusable not to visit. We posted a review of our experience here (link includes pix of our experience). We wrote pretty much the most glowing review you've ever read. :P Unfortunately we've never been to In n' Out, but we've been to Danny Meyers' Shake Shack in Manhattan a number of times - it felt to us that Elevation was emulating the vibe of Shake Shack...and doing it mighty well. To the earlier poster - we also wondered about the point of grinding Kobe-style beef into a hamburger; isn't this like grinding up a tender-but-relatively-flavorless filet mignon up?

We loved it; it was a hamburger place that somehow made us leave feeling relatively virtuous calorically. Maybe that's just a testament to our powers of denial. :lol:

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I had the sad misfortune of dining at "Elevation Burger" tonight. I had read all the positive reviews on DR and decided to give it a try since I live so close. I wish I hadn't! As I walked through the door I could feel my apprehension building when I noticed zit faced teenagers behind the line. Not that there's anything wrong with that. At say McDonalds where there is a standardized method of cooking. However these guy's (and one young lady) were cooking on there own unsupervised. And to me that spelled disaster. And I was correct. I got a Phat Burger, Fries and a Chocolate shake. My shake was full of Ice crystals, salt and pepper had not touched my burger and the fries were so thin that the were cold by the time they were at my table. Not to mention the smell of burnt olive oil wreaked in the place. My dining companion ordered the 1/2 and 1/2 and threw 1/2 of it away. I would say the highlight of my misadventure was leaving. Five Guy's rules!!!!!! the next time I yearn for a Burger they'll get my money!

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Wow! From your description it almost sounds like you walked into another burger place by mistake, but I'm sure you didn't.

It sounds like a second-string staff might have been in play on your visit. It's not a perfect place, nor the source of gastronomic epiphany, by any means, but I like it a lot better than the Five Guys in Merrifield.

I've only been there for lunch, and only twice, so my experience could be a bit off from the norm--I don't know. But all of the other favorable reviews support my experience.

I hope that things will improve, and that you'll give it another change and have a better experience in the future.

To qualify my remark above about Five Guys, I used to love the Springfield location, a few years ago, but the Merrifield location is missing something. JMO, YMMV.

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I went today for lunch and would have to say that the negative experience above is probably just a function of an inexperienced staff, especially given the smell of burnt oil. Today it smelled fine, a guy who seemed like the owner was there (he said he knew donrocks), and everything was great. The burgers are great, although I made the mistake of getting ketchup and mayo, not realzing they already came with elevation sauce. The fries, however, are superb - perfectly crispy and well seasoned. I'd like it if they offered some vinegar or lemon with them, which I believe would compliment the hint of olive oil you get when eating them.

the only thing i don't really care for is the sign advertising "virginia kobe" beef, which to me is a bit of an oxymoron.

Edited by jasonc
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I'm with johnb...my burger didn't have great flavor, and my shake had huge ice crystals.  I loved the fries though; they had great flavor--though they're not as good as the best 5G's fries, for the reasons johnb stated above.  And you do have to like them well done.  And the people were nice, and the burger was decent (nice to see someone in this area unveiling a "spread"), so I'll be back.

I finally made it there and went for lunch today and agree completely with the above. The burger was missing flavor, five guys is much better. The fries were good but not as good as when five guys is on, but due to the inconsistency of five guys these days way better than five guys when they are off.

Not worth the drive from Montgomery County but if I am in the area worth a stop.

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I finally made it there and went for lunch today and agree completely with the above.  The burger was missing flavor, five guys is much better.  The fries were good but not as good as when five guys is on, but due to the inconsistency of five guys these days way better than five guys when they are off.

Not worth the drive from Montgomery County but if I am in the area worth a stop.

hm how would you compare both to Cheeburger Cheeburger?

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the only thing i don't really care for is the sign advertising "virginia kobe" beef, which to me is a bit of an oxymoron.

It's not an oxymoron, it's a crime. There is no such thing as Virginia "kobe" beef. Kobe beef comes from one place and one place only. Everything else is just overpriced low-fat beef. If this were indeed real Kobe beef, the burgers would be $75 each and they wouldn't be ground into hamburger patties.
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We'll be in tonight to see how Hans and April are doing -- and how the food's doing. Part of what might have contributed to some negative experiences may have been that April was extremely pregnant when the place opened. The family has now grown to include baby Ellie, which I'm sure has been taxing -- can you imagine opening a restaurant a couple months before having your first baby, and then trying to juggle the two? Makes me feel faint just thinking about it!

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I've been meaning to post -- we've been back twice now since our first visit was scuppered, and boy, howdy, are those burgers good!!! I was thrilled to see that the quality and flavor of the food there both remain high.

These are, as mentioned on the Burgers thread, the first meaty burgers I've had in over 10 years, and they are lovely. They are juicy but not greasy, with great flavor. The fries were, as always, crispy and salty -- perfect -- and the shakes can't be beat (real ice cream, real milk [real Oreo crumbs :) ]).

As we scrabbled for the last fry remnants our latest meal, we could only wonder why we don't get to EB more often.

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wash, DC Donslist > missed connections > you used to be Phat but now you're just Fat

Decent Burger in Falls Church - Where Did You Go?

Reply to: forlorn-171129225@craigslist.org

Date: 2006-06-13, 3:09 PM EDT

Elevation -- it was great seeing you a couple times earlier this year, when your burger was adequate (fresh ingredients, good sauce, but the meat lacking in texture and flavor) and your fries nearly put tears in my eyes with their fragrant, citrusy olive oil flavor and ideal outer-crunch-to-inner-squish ratio.

Lately I've been looking all over for you, but all I can find is some place pretending to be you. This "Elevation Burger" charges over a dollar more ($3.35 instead of $2.29) for the same cheeseburger you once made, and no, it isn't any better. Their fries perform poorly in the texture department, and lack that trademark kick from the olive oil that yours had. And they're charging more for them, too. The only thing they do the same is the cookie, but you know that isn't enough for someone unable to go more than 72 hours without a good burger. Call me. Please. And I'm sorry I called you fat.

* this is in or around Falls Church

* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or gripes about grammar

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Hey Capital Icebox,

Thanks for posting your grievances in a somewhat humorous form. For someone like me who obsesses over the quality of the meat and fries and literally loses sleep over them, it helps to hear it from someone who obviously cares. I hear complaints, some small and some large, every week. Often times, because of the nature of the business, I’m not at liberty to give a very detailed response to those expressing some of their "fatter" concerncs. So I’m taking the opportunity here. I’ve never responded to a post before, but your kind and thoughtful approach inspired me to put off sleeping so that I might try to explain the other side of the story.

Doing what we’re trying to do - serve an organic Wagyu burger and fries cooked in olive oil isn’t a straight-forward task. There’s a reason (in fact lots of reasons) that no one has done it before. Most people thought I was crazy to try to do what we’ve done, but we’ve given over three years of our lives (including planning, researching, etc) to doing it, we're doing it successfully, and we’re not about to give up now.

Elevation Burger uses organic Wagyu beef which is almost impossible to come by. Sunnyside is out of the market and we buy from their supplier now. (All Sunnyside was doing, was getting almost mature cattle shipped to them from another rancher, feeding them for a few months and slaughtering them.) Getting consistency with this beef is extremely difficult. There are times (evidently you haven’t experienced them) when the burger has optimal juiciness, and then there times when it doesn’t. This is mostly a function of how the cows are raised, how long they're kept before slaughter and what they’ve had to eat in the last few months before being slaughtered. Unfortunately, I don’t have any control over this. If I had another half million to invest though, I would gladly try to take control of it. But even with all of these uncontrollable factors, what is the result? You get a burger that is the same size, and (usually) better in taste to what the “other guys” are selling, while at the same time nutritionally superior, and comparable in price (I believe the other guys are 14 cents cheaper for a single cheeseburger and we are 3 cents less for a double cheeseburger.) I don’t think you’ll find a better deal out there.

Add to what I’ve just said the fact that the meat we buy is twice as expensive as normal ground beef and that fuel costs (note that farming, cattle ranching and olive growing are energy intensive endeavors) are rising rapidly (and getting passed through to us through every single product we sell) and I think you’ll see that Elevation Burger, even with some of the inconsistencies you point out, is still an outstanding value.

I’ve talked about the beef, now let’s drill down into the fries for a moment: We’ve gone through hoops too numerous to mention and too convoluted to explain in order to make the fries that we make. (We're actually patenting the process). Are they always perfect? No. Are they pretty good? 98% of the time they are. Are they better than 92% of what’s out there? I think so. We have recently been at the mercy of the world Olive Oil market. Because of rapid reduction in world supply, the particular brand that we used, and that you used to find so appealing, unfortunately ran out of stock. What they are now making in their place is, I agree, not quite as nice as the old stuff. So what I do I do? Usually, after everyone is asleep and I’ve put in a 10 hour day, I surf the web and track down alternate sources. What follows is an elaborate and sometimes frustrating effort of obtaining samples, testing them, and trying to find something comparable. So far, I'm finding nothing that is as good as the stuff we are getting. And olive oil is just one half of the problem. Come August, the market will run out of the kind of potato we use, and then we will be compelled to switch to its red headed stepchild, the Norkotah. This will, again, change the experience slightly and will inspire many comments to me and to Don Rockwell I'm sure.

Over the last nine months I’ve given a lot of thought to the main issue that you’re raising, and I think it’s this: People want conflicting things. They want the uniformity and speed of McDonalds, but they also expect a fresh and 100% consistent product. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to occur unless you go to one of two extremes: 1. You become a monster chain with thousands of stores that has the ability to dictate to suppliers exactly what it wants or 2. You become a sit down restaurant that charges extremely high prices. This second option allows you to be ultra picky and pay premiums for whatever you want to buy, and still be profitable. But if you’re running a single-location, high volume restaurant and charging relatively low prices, the reality is that there is a tradeoff. If you want fresh and un-homogenized, un-McDondaldized product, you have to deal with the variation, the seasonal differences, and the perturbations of nature that manifest themselves in the food you buy and serve. Will we be able to strike a better balance between these two poles (i.e. fresh/juicy and consistent) in the future? I think so, but we still have some things to learn about buying, sourcing and controlling the production of the products we buy for use in our restaurant. We also will probably have to get bigger so that we have more leverage in the market place (but of course when we do that, someone will complain that we're too big, not realizing that bigness sometimes allows you certain prerogatives, that directly influence your food, that are not possessed by the little guy!)

Anyway, thanks for listening, and I hope that when you come to Elevation Burger, you’ll realize that the best way to enable us to achieve these goals is by continuing to support us.

Sincerely,

Hans Hess

Owner

Elevation Burger

PS. Introduce yourself to me in the store. I'll buy you lunch and we can chat face to face!

wash, DC Donslist > missed connections > you used to be Phat but now you're just Fat

Decent Burger in Falls Church - Where Did You Go?

Reply to: forlorn-171129225@craigslist.org

Date: 2006-06-13, 3:09 PM EDT

Elevation -- it was great seeing you a couple times earlier this year, when your burger was adequate (fresh ingredients, good sauce, but the meat lacking in texture and flavor) and your fries nearly put tears in my eyes with their fragrant, citrusy olive oil flavor and ideal outer-crunch-to-inner-squish ratio.

Lately I've been looking all over for you, but all I can find is some place pretending to be you. This "Elevation Burger" charges over a dollar more ($3.35 instead of $2.29) for the same cheeseburger you once made, and no, it isn't any better. Their fries perform poorly in the texture department, and lack that trademark kick from the olive oil that yours had. And they're charging more for them, too. The only thing they do the same is the cookie, but you know that isn't enough for someone unable to go more than 72 hours without a good burger. Call me. Please. And I'm sorry I called you fat.

* this is in or around Falls Church

* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or gripes about grammar

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I haven't made it to Elevation Burger yet though I live only a couple miles away. Having one of the Five Guys that I find fairly consistent and good around the corner at Beauregard and King has meant that I don't have any particular drive to replace my burger fix. But reading your post, from someone that's obviously passionate about what he's doing, makes me want to stop by and see what the hubbub is about.

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Sincerely,

Hans Hess

Owner

Elevation Burger

PS. Introduce yourself to me in the store. I'll buy you lunch and we can chat face to face!

Hans,

Thank you for a very interesting piece on what goes on inside of your (and I am sure other) small shop. I think many of us do not take the time to think, even if we did I doubt that we would really realize the issues, about what it takes to source ingredients and put out a consistent product. Kind of reminds me of people that get freaked out when they see a bug on their organic pesticide free veggies that they buy at the farmer's market.

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Anyway, thanks for listening, and I hope that when you come to Elevation Burger, you'll realize that the best way to enable us to achieve these goals is by continuing to support us.

Sincerely,

Hans Hess

Owner

Elevation Burger

Wow. Probably one of the greatest 1st-posts ever. Welcome to DR.com, Hans. And like Treznor, I intend to stop by at the next opportunity.

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Sincerely,

Hans Hess

Owner

Elevation Burger

PS. Introduce yourself to me in the store. I'll buy you lunch and we can chat face to face!

Usually when you ask an adult what their favorite food is, they'll say something like "my grandmother's ravioli," or "the prime rib and such and such," or "a foie gras and white truffle milkshake with caviar cooked sous vide with a dodo egg." Or some other such "mature" response.

When you ask ME what MY favorite food is, I reply, much as a child would, "HAMBURGERS!"

For me, there is no food on Earth so delicious and VERSATILE as a hamburger. Name me ANY dish from ANY cuisine and I guaranty that there's some way of making it into a hambuger. But nothing beats a nice paddy made from quality meat and cheese with a heaping load of ketchup.

This is why I've spent my last five birthdays being taken out to Five Guys (among other places). It's why growing up my mom found ketchup in my hair and inside my shoes. It's why the first thing I did when getting to Vegas was eat a burger with foie gras and truffles on it, and subsequently came in a gustatory-satisfaction-inspired first in a poker tournament.

I think I definetly have to stop into Elevation at least once and see what such PASSION can lead to in a burger. I'm guessing I'll be thrilled beyond beleef. Get it? Beef? Beleef?

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