2/28/2013 03:56:00 PM

Umami Burger Expanding, Calls Philadelphia an “Ideal Market”

California’s Umami Burger is expanding eastward. Using a recent infusion of cash from Fortress Investment Group, Adam Fleischman’s beloved burger mini-chain is planning new fast-casual restaurants in several East Coast cities. While Philadelphia is not officially on the list yet, a rep from the company tells us it is “an example of a city that is an ideal market for Umami Burger.”

South Beach, Miami will probably have the first to Umami Burger on this side of the country, and leases have also already been signed for two New York spots: on Sixth Avenue in the Village and at Brookfield Place (the new name for the World Financial Center). If there is a Philly location, it is not likely to open this year. “It's hard to say if it will be in 2013, 2014, 2015 or beyond,” is the official statement.

If and when a branch here is confirmed, is it worth getting excited over? According to burger fans, it is. “It’s among the best burgers I’ve had in LA,” former Philadelphia Inquirer online editor Chris Krewson says (he’s now out west as editor of The Hollywood Reporter). Is it as great as they say? "Yes.”

The Los Angeles-based chainlet is known for combining Wagyu beef patties with toppings that bring that elusive “fifth taste” known as umami. The signature burger does it with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and umami ketchup between the lightly toasted bun. There’s also one known as the “Manly Burger,” which has beer cheddar cheese, smoked salt onion strings and bacon lardon on the patty.

In addition to the classics, each location gets its own exclusive custom burger, customized for the local community. Menus aren’t set until close to the opening, so reps didn’t even know what the Florida and Miami ones would be. What would Philly’s look like?

UPDATE: If we want Umami Burger hard enough, it could happen sooner rather than later. "If enough people get excited by it, we may open faster. You never know with these things," the company says.

Thanks to Eater for the tip.

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