Fast food gets gourmet twist

By Maya Fanjul-Debnam

Burger lovers searching for somewhere new to eat should look no further than Lakeview’s newest restaurant, Spritz Burger. Since its Feb. 14 opening, Spritz Burger, 3819 N. Broadway, has brought a brand new, beef-filled dining experience to the neighborhood. 

Spritz Burger is a casual, low-key eatery that provides Lakeview residents with a place that offers fast-food staples with a gourmet twist. The burger-focused menu and unique line of gourmet spritzes are a product of the collaboration among three expert chefs. 

Co-owner and award-winning pastry chef Gale Gand provides tempting desserts, while chef and co-owner Steve McDonagh is the mastermind behind the vintage-inspired seltzer cocktails and chef Dan Smith provides the mouth-watering burgers. McDonagh and Smith are best-known for their Food Network show, “Party Line with the Hearty Boys,” which premiered after they won the network’s reality competition series, “Food Network Star.” 

The Pub Crawl burger ($13), topped with rich English cheddar cheese, major gray chutney, roasted tomato, fresh greens and Colman’s mustard, is definitely not your average burger. It was overwhelming at first, but a treat for anyone looking to honor their taste buds. The restaurant also offers items such as its Amish B&B burger ($13), blue-cheese topped, Gale’s Root Beer ($4) and delicious spritzes with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and spicy ginger.

Spritz Burger uses beef from grass-fed cattle, but vegetarians will not miss out on too much because there are several delicious meatless alternatives. For a place that celebrates burgers, Smith can also whip up a delicious and flavorful falafel wrap ($11) that is sure to satisfy vegetarians and even die-hard carnivores. They also offer a spicy black bean veggie burger ($11), grilled Caesar salad ($11), spinach salad ($8) and  goat cheese salad ($10).

The restaurant also has a wide variety of house-made spritzes that can be served with or without alcohol. The drinks are expertly mixed at the bar before being filled with carbonated water through a soda siphon brought to the table by the waiter. The flavors range from a subtle mandarin orange ($3) to a rich salted caramel egg cream ($9) flavored with vanilla salt, dulce de leche and weizenbock.

The restaurant offers a gourmet spin on the hamburger’s best friend: the French fry. Instead of regular oil, the potatoes are fried in truffle oil and are available in fry or tot form.

For those looking for a more traditional dish to accompany their juicy burger, there are also classic fries seasoned with black pepper and parmesan cheese. Like their truffle counterpart, this savory side dish can be served in both fry and tot form. Both takes are the perfect complement to the rich taste of the burgers. 

For more adventurous diners, Spritz Burger serves macaroni and cheese topped with Cheetos ($11). Although it sounds like a snack invented by a drunk college student at 2 a.m., it is surprisingly palatable and the fusion of sharp cheddar with Romano, cheese sauce and Cheetos is intoxicatingly delicious. It would make a fantastic pairing with the unconventional Spam burger. 

These dishes both feel like a classy version of meals children beg their mothers to let them create. Despite the main component of these dishes being cheap food items often found in dorms, they are combined with expensive cheeses and, for the Spam burger, topped with fried cage-free eggs. It may seem out of place, but these juxtapositions are precisely what makes Spritz Burger a unique dining experience.

Instead of offering bread for its customers to munch on while perusing the menu, Spritz Burger supplies pickled vegetables in a mason jar. Although it may initially seem strange and unappetizing to people who loathe vinegar or vegetables, they prove to be yet another surprisingly good combination. They pickle the carrots, onions and artichoke hearts with just the right amount of vinegar and spices to heighten the tastiness. 

Offering a variety of burgers and other dishes, the menu is perfect for restaurant connoisseurs and fast-food junkies alike.