Pressman said the pair is planning to offer duck, lamb, pork, turkey and tofu burgers.
“I’ve always loved turkey burgers,” she said. “And we’ve been nailing down our protein blends and I’m really happy with the turkey, it tastes like turkey.”
Other celebrity chefs who have already climbed on the burger bandwagon include Govind Armstrong, who launched his 8 oz. Burger Bar on Melrose Avenue near Fairfax Avenue last year. The trendy establishment offers diners grass-fed Estancia beef burgers with heirloom tomato ketchup and Humboldt Fog cheese for about $12.
Father’s Office in Santa Monica made the gourmet burger a must-eat in the early 2000s, when chef-owner Sang Yoon came up with his now famous “office burger.” The patty is smothered in a bacon-caramelized onion reduction, melted Gruyere blue cheese, arugula and costs about $12.
The success of the Santa Monica restaurant prompted Yoon to open a second location last year in the Helms Bakery complex near Culver City.
“We could have had five or six of these places by now,” Yoon said. “But we grew slowly on purpose. For me, I needed to make sure that I knew what we were doing was not a fluke.”
Father’s Office is an upscale pub that serves an assortment of craft beers and wine alongside its burgers.
And the burger bar concept is the formula for newcomers such as Stout in Hollywood and the Rowdy Red Burger & Wine Bar in downtown Los Angeles.
While Counter serves beer and wine, its restaurants lean more toward traditional diner than gastropub.
Counter’s menu allows diners to customize their burgers, and includes a choice of beef, turkey and veggie patties, or grilled chicken. Diners can also choose from an array of cheeses, toppings and sauces. There are more than 300,000 combinations.
“People want to be in control of what they are eating,” Weinstein said. “We consider it the me generation. Everyone wants to personalize and customize, and Counter strives to give everyone the ability to do that in a fun, energetic forum.”
Although Weinstein considers Counter to be an original purveyor of the gourmet burger, new entrants have started an all-out burger war.
Umami Burger opened its first restaurant in February on La Brea Avenue south of Wilshire Boulevard, and the burger quickly gained a cult following.
Founder Adam Fleischman named the burger joint umami after the Japanese word meaning “tasty.” The word is also referred to as the fifth taste, a combination of the other four: sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
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