Bite And Brew

November 19, 2013

Burger Fi: The Burgerfication of the Nation

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Written by: Nydia O
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BurgerFi

Much hype has been created by patrons to the new Burger Fi restaurant in South Padre Island, and Corporate Kitchen Manager Chris Peden could not be happier.  During a recent interview, Peden gave us a peek into the concept behind this new contemporary burger place.

About three years ago, in a restaurant in Florida owned by the same enterprise that manages BurgerFi today, the chef introduced the clientele with an all-natural burger he named the “CEO Burger.” His creation quickly became a top seller, and a new franchise was born managed by Burger Fi International Corporation with headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida.

Franchise creators seek to evoke the fast and casual concept of the hamburger stands of midcentury America, but with a healthier, tastier burger.  Burger Fi was born from this vision, and “The Burgerfication of the Nation” began. Soon after, the first restaurant opened, and thirty more followed with most locations in northeastern United States, one in Mesa, Arizona, another one in Napa, California, and Texas.

Burger World of Texas is a corporation with exclusive rights to this franchise in the state of Texas. This company manages locations in Garland, the Woodlands, Austin and San Antonio where their corporate office is located.  Their newest Burger Fi in South Padre Island (SPI) opened on June of this year. “So far, so good here. We were lucky to find our general manager Donnie Kramer. He knows the culture here and works with area chambers of commerce; he is a very good fit for our concept,” said Peden.

A concept Peden describes as having a modern urban feel. But it is their food that sets them apart, for the company’s overall focus is on healthier menu selections. They specialize in all natural Angus beef; the highest standard in the industry and one that few ranches can measure up to.  “Our beef comes with no hormones, no steroids, no antibiotics and never frozen. We know where all of our meat comes from: the same ranch up in Montana where the cattle is herd on horseback, and is vegetarian fed. Plus our kitchen is a 90% scratch kitchen where we hand cut all the vegetables every morning,” Peden stated adding that their food is not organic, but naturally grown which he considers a better alternative.   The restaurant also serves craft beer and wine, natural frozen custards, and delicious all natural Kobe beef dogs which are the “Filet Mignon” of dogs according to Peden. Their popular “Green Burger” is the latest hype, for it substitutes the traditional hamburger bun with fresh lettuce greens.

The company boasts of being environmentally friendly and maintains strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans.  The contemporary décor comes in the form of patio furniture made of recycled milk jugs. Indoor chairs are made of recycled Coke bottles, and tables are made out of compressed recycled wood while the large ceiling fans use 66% less electricity.  All Burger Fi locations follow the same style inside, but the SPI location is an exception because it is a stand-alone structure that allows for a covered deck for outdoor dining.

Brownsville native and Manager Donnie Kramer has been with the company since their grand opening in June. Since then, he has had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of customers ranging from locals and valley residents, to visitors from both sides of the border. “I love the atmosphere here, but I am especially proud of my crew; they are a great team,” stated Kramer.  During the fall and winter months, Burger Fi will serve clients until 11:00 p.m. and until midnight on weekends.  During the summer, Burger Fi stays open until 4:00 a.m., and according to Kramer, clients hung out until then.

Compromises had to be made to adapt to the Texan consumer demands especially in their food costs. Menu prices were lowered, and differ from those of other Burger Fi locations in Florida and the northeast. It is something Burger World of Texas franchise managers identified and implemented in all of the state’s locations.

Considering the popularity and the positive reception of this new franchise in the Rio Grande Valley, will other locations open soon? According to Peden, their real estate agent is already looking for spots in Edinburg and McAllen, and the company hopes a few more will open by next year.

To find out more about Burger Fi visit BurgerFi.com  

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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