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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Burger of the Week: Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries

photo 2 I’m not sure what to make of — or how to attack — this burger.

Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries has opened in Sandy Springs with a squint-and-you’re-there vision of the Maryland shore in its beach-themed digs. It is one of the first national franchises of a Maryland-based company that grew out of the popular Boardwalk Fry chain of french fry concessions.

Here’s the drill: The basic “Boardwalk burger” ($4.99), a double patty behemoth piled high, comes with all kinds of free add-ons and sauces as well as a few non-free add-ons. The “Surf Burger” ($3.59) is a not-insubstantial lone patty. You can also get grilled chicken, chicken tenders, hot dogs and salads.

Here’s how I did it:

  • The Burger: Opted for the full Monty to preserve my honor as a professional eater. The patties were appealingly irregular and loosely packed. The menu boasted that it was 100% Georgia grass-fed beef, which I appreciated. That said, the meat really didn’t have a lot of flavor. It didn’t seem to have more character than, say, a chunk of hamburger you’d pull from your spaghetti sauce.
  • The Add-ons: I tried to go fairly simple. Cheese (Swiss — bad move), lettuce tomato, pickles and jalapeños. I got ketchup and mustard slathered directly on, and asked for some of the tasty chipotle mayonnaise on the side.
  • The Bun: Went with whole wheat over white. It was big and squishy.
  • The Gestalt: Here’s where things started to fall apart — literally. This puppy was impossible to eat, with waxy cheese, oddly flavorless meat and mustard slicked lettuce and tomato falling out of it perpetually until I just gave up. Me no likey.

photoThe fries, which are cooked in peanut oil and fried several times (according to the menu) had that kind of leathery-crisp texture that can be appealing. These are noisy fries that crackle when you bite them. The restaurant recommends eating them with malt vinegar and a shake of Old Bay Seasoning, Maryland boardwalk style. This is tasty, but then again, so is plain ketchup. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to try the fries, but I might be tempted when driving by.

I did find a silver lining to an otherwise gray cloud of burger hunting. I brought a burger back for my daughter — nothing too fancy, just cheddar cheese, mustard and ketchup. This is it after we unwrapped it an hour later:

photo 3

There was something real about this vision of greasy, cheesy, lumpy goodness. It was like a fast food hamburger, but better.

Even though there are so many free add-ons, maybe the trick is to say “no, thank you.”

I give Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries one out of five skee ball machines.

50 comments Add your comment

Baltisraul

May 12th, 2010
9:08 am

My mother, like most mothers was a great cook. Her rule on hamburgers was that the meat and extras should never be higher than the thickness of the bun. If the burger called for more toppings, they where to be served on the side and let the eater do his own building. Has anyone else heard of this serving tradition or was my mom just wacked?

Reds

May 12th, 2010
9:57 am

What a shame that the burger lacked in flavor. The picture looks amazing. Have to agree on the swiss though… not my favorite cheese. Give me cheddar any day. :) The tomato looks nice and red though, which is always a bonus. The one with cheddar looks…. really good. lol

RK

May 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

I was wondering if there was any relation to the legendary Boardwalk Fry of “fabulous” Ocean City MD. Do they serve Natty Boh?

RB

May 12th, 2010
12:10 pm

Its way better than this dude makes it out to be, I enjoyed my burger

Baltisraul

May 12th, 2010
12:17 pm

John, Reds, can’t believe you turn your back on Swiss cheese. A good baby swiss can make any sandwich better.

Optometrist

May 12th, 2010
12:20 pm

$12.17.

That’s what my meal of a Boardwalk bacon cheeseburger, fries and a regular soda cost me when I went and had lunch on April 20th. What they don’t tell you is that everything is a la carte–there’s no value package–so the soda alone was $1.99.

It’s a nice idea. The place looks great and appears to be professionally run, and the customer service was awesome (shouts out to Michell) but $12.17 is entirely too much money for a burger THAT bland. I was expecting waaaay more flavor–even the fries couldn’t redeem it.

Gimme some Essence of Emeril and some beef and I can do MUCH better at home, and feed a few more people for that $12.

JJ

May 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

huh, nothing shows up

JJ

May 12th, 2010
12:22 pm

GIVE ME A BREAK

May 12th, 2010
12:32 pm

AJ

May 12th, 2010
12:35 pm

I have to disagree with John. For the category it’s in (fast casual), I think it’s a great burger. Is it a 4 star burger on par with some of the “high end” burgers? No. Is it a 4 star burger on par with 5 Guys? I’d have to say, pretty close.

Voice of Reason

May 12th, 2010
12:59 pm

@ Baltisraul

never heard of that burger rule, but I bet it was your mom’s own standard of burger excellence or even burger etiquette. Sounds like a good standard though…if you get more ’stuff’ than burger, then the burger is an ingredient in the sandwich instead of the main event. You mother sounds genius.

AH

May 12th, 2010
1:01 pm

I have to respectively disagree – everytime I have been to Boardwalk, I’ve really enjoyed my meal. I love the burger and find it on par with 5 Guys every time! The fries are yummy and even the dessert fries (funnel cake fries) are very tasty. The staff is so friendly and helpful as well.

John, I really think you should give it another go!! Everyone else, try it! It really is a place to go back to.

shell

May 12th, 2010
1:05 pm

Try Awesome Burger in Duluth on Old Norcross and Steve Reynolds. That is a tasty burger.

Hungry Gringo

May 12th, 2010
1:07 pm

Sounds like one more reason not to go to Sandy Springs. ITP RULEZ!!!

Jules

May 12th, 2010
1:16 pm

Try Big Kahuna. Now that’s a tasty burger!

Jeff C.

May 12th, 2010
1:21 pm

I might have to go there and be the judge for myself. I have recently become a fan of Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Johns Creek. Similar to a 5 Guys in taste, but a little lighter on your wallet, and the self serve condiment bar is gold!

outspoken1

May 12th, 2010
1:21 pm

Rudfruckuers is still the best. If not, it is your own fault.

reader

May 12th, 2010
1:34 pm

Go to MacDonalds.

reader

May 12th, 2010
1:35 pm

Fuddruckers has great strawberry shakes, too.

MD Eastern Shore Girl

May 12th, 2010
1:35 pm

I’ve beening living in Ga for 7yrs and there’s nothing like Broadwalk fries from “Thrashers” in Ocean City, Md. 5Guys tried but failed. I’ll be checking out this spot out this weekend. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed. But I’ll be on the Shore Memorial Day weekend!!! OC here I come!!!! @ RK, what you know about OC,Md lol

Surrounded by Muggles

May 12th, 2010
1:38 pm

The best burger in Atlanta hands down is still made at Miss Ann’s Snack Bar. Flavorful, cooked perfectly, great fries, simple, and worth the $9.00 price tag. Meat, Cheese, Bacon, Lettuce, Onion, Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup. That’s it! That’s all you need! Stop trying to make everything gourmet! Fried Eggs, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Guacamole, etc have no place on an American Classic.

Clay

May 12th, 2010
1:42 pm

Sometimes the grass fed beef has a different flavor. We love the Will Harris 100% grass fed beef we buy at Whole Foods; but, we know the flavor isn’t always better–but the quality is.

Haha

May 12th, 2010
1:56 pm

Your burger sucks and you rip people off in the process. 12.17 for a burger fries and drink. Just say no thankyou!

TheFoodList

May 12th, 2010
2:00 pm

Five Guys is the most over rated burger in the country (http://www.thefoodlist.org/thefoodlist-review.html). Their Fries are limp and soggy too. That said, Boardwalk seems to be a similar price point, with a similar burger, but superior fries. We believe the fries are the glue that makes a good burger joint. Without good fries, you might as well be a pizza joint. Atlanta has been inundated with burgers as of late, with more seemingly on the way. Hopefully quality will ultimately reign supreme.

sugarsweet

May 12th, 2010
2:15 pm

The best burger in the whole State of GA, is Ms Ann’s in Atlanta on Memorial Dr. Her Ghetto Burger is the best Burger I have ever had!!!!!

BC

May 12th, 2010
2:20 pm

we recently got a five guys in my Tennessee town… i don’t know what all the fuss is about there are MANY places in my town to get a better burger and fries…

Emily R

May 12th, 2010
3:04 pm

I was there on Friday and thought it was really tasty, overall. I had a bacon American cheese double burger with pickles, mustard and ketchup. The only thing I could fault was that I felt they went very light on the mustard and ketchup, but you can also get your own, so I just dipped and was very happy with that. The fries were good, but not great. I’ll be going back this Friday and will see how the fries are then. FYI, their grass-fed beef has no ammonia added, unlike many fast food chains beef.

Baltisraul

May 12th, 2010
3:07 pm

Voice of reason, my mom would be pleased with your post. Her method of serving all foods had a different touch to them. Seemed to work and nobody ever questioned her ideas. She always had a beautiful table. I feel I can remove her from my wack list. Thanks!

Becky

May 12th, 2010
3:12 pm

@baltisraul..Never heard that rule, but it sounds like a good one..Not sure that I would try this place, if it cost $12.00 for burger, ff and drink..Five guys is soooo overrated..Try the US Cafe in Smyrna if you want a great burger..

HotlantaHobo

May 12th, 2010
3:25 pm

Was at 5 guys recently here and paid $7.25 for a “little” cheeseburger and fries (no drink). The fries were hot, crisp and quite good, but the whole meal was served like a horse’s feedbag, just dumped carelessly in a greasy bag. If these places are going to charge $12 for the full monty (double, drink and fries) could they at least try not to make the finished product like something from a charity soup kitchen? It seems that throwing the food like slop doesn’t make for a very pleasant dining experience, at least not for these prices. For these prices there are real restaurants with real plates.

I go to Rehoboth Beach every summer and the 5 guys there is no different. Thrasher’s at least serves the expensive fries in a big cardboard tub that holds the fries neatly.

Maybe Boardwalk serves there stuff more attractively but based on John’s picture, it seems like the slop look rules, even at $12.17 per person.

Muffin

May 12th, 2010
3:28 pm

I’d like to hear if anyone has been to Cozy Burger that just opened at Suburban Plaza?

Shayne

May 12th, 2010
3:52 pm

I find the Burgers at Boardwalk to be delicious! And the chicken burger on a whole wheat bun is a great healthy option that packs a ton a flavor into an easy to eat and very filling meal. And the fries – they might be my favorite fries in town!!

alan

May 12th, 2010
4:55 pm

I hate to disagree with you about the fries. Forget the burger it sounds like not my type. Fries however are a different story. first tried malt vinegar many years ago in Canada. Still enjoy them like that. 5 guys and beefburger bobbys both offer vinegar. ketchup is an option to me if vinegar is unavaiable. Ever try it with mayo naise? Nathans i n Brooklyn used to cook their fries in peanut oil and it really matters. 5 guys still does. Makes it taste a whole lot better.. Great columns.

Voice of Reason

May 12th, 2010
5:06 pm

No offense, but who orders swiss cheese on a burger to begin with!? That’s like John Kerry ordering swiss on his philly cheesesteak! I thought the photo looked great other than the cheese. I also think the grass-fed local beef is a bigger deal than people think, so much better for you and the environment. Mericfully I’m not in Sandy Springs often but would be willing to give this a try for sure.

likey

May 12th, 2010
5:51 pm

And here I thought only my little circle of friends said the word “likey”.

Baltisraul

May 12th, 2010
6:31 pm

Voice of Reason, no offense take. My wife orders swiss on her burgers.

John Kessler

May 13th, 2010
7:59 am

Ha! I knew the John Kerry analogy would come sooner or later. Swiss, mushrooms, onions, spicy mustard: now that’s a burger.

Tom

May 13th, 2010
9:18 am

Although that picture does make the swiss cheese look like melted plastic, I also like swiss on a burger, but must have sauteed mushrooms. I also like cheddar on a burger, but must have bacon to compliment it. I also like good ol’ American on a burger, just some tomatoes, red onion and sweet pickles are needed. It just depends on the mood I’m in that day. My favorite place lately is Cheeseburger Bobbys. John – just recently started reading your blogs. Love them, you have the awesomest job!!!

1164mgc

May 13th, 2010
10:40 am

I like swiss on a burger but somehow the picture makes it look fake (and icky!). Don’t like the looks of the bun or the lettuce either…. Looks like your daughter made the right choice:-)

Reds

May 13th, 2010
11:18 am

Bacon, cheddar, mayo, dill pickle slices, lettuce, RIPE tomato, and i am a happy girl. :)

Burger Emporer

May 13th, 2010
2:06 pm

I found Boardwalk’s burger to be very good. Double with cheddar on white. I got a burger, fry and drink and the person with me got a chicken tender platter (with fries and a drink) and our entire bill was only $16. I think someone overpaid…

Fred

May 13th, 2010
7:54 pm

Well after reading folks brag on the vortex burgers for what seems like a million years on the blogs, I finally tried them. I went at lunch. It wasn’t as smoky as I had feared, which is what kept me away for so long, (and we sat at the bar lol). I had a regular burger with regular junk, mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce and tomato………

So how do they do it? I mean it’s just some beef, veggies, and condiments on a bun but just DAMN, that thing was tasty. It was everything and more that it was cracked up to be. I wanted to hate it, I really did, but it was the best burger (that my wife didn’t make, yeah she’s watching me type this) that I have had in ages.

Thanks for the review John, that boardwalk place didn’t look so good in your pics. I think I’ll pass. Have you ever tried Joe’s to Go on Killian Hill and 78? Is it even still there? Now THAT was a tasty burger………… Haven’t thought of them in years……….

Fred

May 13th, 2010
7:58 pm

@ah,

I think 5 guys sucks. It’s an over priced knock off of steak and shake that yuppies for some reason love. Maybe they just love being over charged for grill scrapings, I dunno. Or maybe if the lead bull in the herd says it’s great they have to flock along. I dunno.

VoiceOf Reason

May 13th, 2010
9:46 pm

Who was that weirdo that stole my name? I didn’t say anything about Swiss Cheese, that was an imposter!!

Baltisraul

May 14th, 2010
7:42 am

VoiceOf Reason….ok, what is your take on swiss cheese on hamburgers? My family just loves cheese. But I am the only one that will eat Limburger w/ spanish onion on small Jewish rye bread. My football watching comfort food along with wings and a cold Bud.

LT

May 14th, 2010
8:19 am

Thanks for the review, John. Boardwalk was on my list of places to try as I live in SS, but I think I’ll just stick w/ 5 Guys based on your thoughts of the burger. I do now want to try Cheeseburger Bobby’s based on some other posts here. Love a good hamburger!! :-)

DS

May 19th, 2010
4:55 am

Who every said Miss Ann’s on Memorial and the Ghetto Burger is the best is out of their mind. Speaking of meat, she uses the burger meat that comes in the 5lbs tube shaped plastic wrapped container you see at Kroger. The place is terrible. Can’t believe people would rate it highly.

Sheila

May 19th, 2010
1:11 pm

Just went to Boardwalk Burgers. I will never, never, ever go there again. Nothing outstanding about their food. The prices are totally off the scale for the menu. Plus, the kid’s hotdog meal only had half of the weiner. Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. For 3 adults (regular burgers and 2 fries) & 1 kid’s meal the cost was almost $30.00.

Baltisraul

May 26th, 2010
9:49 am

Way too expensive. These folks didn’t get the memo on the economy, did they?

Burger Lover

July 14th, 2010
7:23 pm

Just went to Boardwalk in Sandy Springs and I LOVED IT! The girl at the counter said they lowered prices today…hmmm… Anyway my burger and fries was awesome!