Some pregnant women crave odd combinations like pickles and ice cream. Because my regular food choices already included combinations like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, I expected that I’d either be eating completely wacky foods or completely bland foods. My biggest pregnancy craving fell somewhere in the middle: for burgers. During my second trimester, I took a special education licensure course at Madison Park High School. That burger pregnancy craving got triggered by Beta Burger’s “opening summer 2015” sign every time I went to the neighboring Dunkin Donuts before class, so I was psyched to get invited to try out Beta Burger this past weekend!
Customization + Technology = Beta Burger
Founder Adrian Wong sought to bring innovation and culture to the food industry via customization and technology. He made a career change from advising startups at Morgan Stanley, adding to his finance experience by working at Chipotle and Grass Fed along the way. Chains like Chipotle can pre-cook proteins such as carnitas or barbacoa, enabling a fast customization assembly line process. However, burgers must be made to order for optimum taste. You can’t maintain the same quality and cut prep time by pre-cooking burgers and storing them before a lunch rush. Inspired by sous vide cooking, he did research to see if bulk sous vide cooking could be possible for burgers and settled on the CVap oven.
The CVap oven cooks burgers with water vapor. The burgers are then finished on the grill for 30 seconds. This searing with high heat creates the Malliard effect on the burgers. The combination of slow cooker and grill consistently yields juicy, non-greasy burgers quicker than a grill-only process. If I take a lengthy class at Madison Park again, I’ll definitely come here for lunch breaks—it’s fast enough to get a burger and fries during a 30-minute break! The process can be made even faster by ordering website or with their app (on the App Store or Google Play).
I liked the customization process much better than trying to pick from a long list of pre-made burger combos and having to make slight changes like “no tomato.” There were ample choices for bread and toppings, but not enough to be overwhelming. There are low-carb options such as the skinny bun or the “turn a burger into a salad.” There are two seasonal toppings (currently, there are marshmallows and roasted peppers).
I tried the Beta burger on a potato roll (with cheddar, Beta steak sauce, lettuce, and roasted peppers) and garlic parmesan fries.
My husband tried the limited edition Toasted Snowman and buffalo fries. At first I was skeptical of this Frozen-themed burger, but Adrian explained that the marshmallow adds a subtle sweetness that goes well with the salt and fat of the burger. My skepticism was proved wrong because the marshmallow does work well as a topping!
On both of our burgers, the ratio of burger : bun : toppings was appropriate. Adrian and his staff are very receptive to feedback about the burgers—the patties were initially smaller, and were made bigger after customer feedback. As a new mom, I now order food based on its spill potential. I’ve often spilled burger toppings all over my son when the bun couldn’t hold up to the burger or when the toppings slid around. I managed to eat my Beta burger with one hand while holding Parker with the other, and he remained spill-free! We also noted that the burgers were delicious without leading to the “slowies.”
The fries were well-cooked—very thin and crispy. The seasoning got distributed well by the bag-shaking process.
Beta Burger’s space is simple and clean, with lots of orange and little touches like Bob’s Burgers playing on next to the menu and an Ugly Sweater discount until New Year’s Eve. The bathrooms are large and clean. Though there aren’t any changing tables, I would be okay with changing a diaper on the floor. There is counter space and one table on the main floor, with additional seating downstairs. Street parking is reasonably easy to find.