Friday, January 30, 2015

Royale With Cheese

We chat with Boston burger royalty about the new iPhone app mapping the city's meat


Things you depend on your iPhone for: the Pats score, instant insta-greatness, and now, burgers. 

Don't thank Siri — thank Richard Chudy, co-owner of the personal chef and catering company The Skinny Beet, and the man behind the Boston Burger Blog, which just debuted a shiny new iOS app.

Read on as we chew the fat with Chudy on Boston's finest burgers, from cheap classics to fancy favorites.

What inspired you to create the Boston Burger Blog? 

I've always been on my own private quest to find the best burger I could get my hands on, so I figured writing about it on a blog would be a great way to share that with people.

The beauty is that virtually every restaurant has a burger, so I knew I'd never run out of places to try and each one would be completely unique and different. Over 200 reviews later and I haven't even made a dent in Boston, there's still so many to try. 

What kind of criteria do you apply to come up with the score using your 100-point scale?

I mostly do it by feel and how any given burger compares to other burgers that are similar. A lot of factors come into play: overall beef flavor, seasoning, price vs. value, meat to bun ratio, toppings and condiments, and how they interact with the beef, cheese — as in, it it melted or unmelted? Does it complement or does it interfere? Plus ambiance, customer service, etc.

The competition for mid-price range burger spots the likes of Tasty Burger, Wahlburgers, Four Burgers, and now Shake Shack has really exploded in recent years. Which do you favor out of these $6-9 burgers?

Out of these, Shake Shack are easily the most successful of this group because they keep toppings to a minimum, the price affordable, the beef at a relatively high level. Also, Flat Patties in Cambridge and The Avenue in Allston are two places that are painfully underrated and serve up very inexpensive and highly flavorful burgers. 

Going upscale, what's the best place to get a burger in a fancier setting?

If your date doesn't mind gambling that you might not get it, the answer is easily Cragie on Main. They still have the most unique, and likely best-tasting burger anywhere I've ever had. Since it's off-menu and in very limited quantities each night, it's sort of a pain to actually experience, but it's worth every high-maintenance bite.

A close second would be the dynamite burger at Back Bay Social Club, a $22 beast that would be lovely to split. It also has a special place in my burger heart because that's where I first met my wife. 

The map is one of the most useful features of the there any particular neighborhood or section of the city that can claim to have the best burgers? 

The map is the key to it all. The app was mostly driven by the fact that I receive countless e-mails from people asking where the best burger is in any given section of the city. This way you'll be able to see where the burgers I've reviewed are based on your location, pulling up reviews instantly, and making the best decision for all your burger needs.

Cambridge is probably tops in this department; anywhere from Harvard Square to Central Square especially can boast some of the better burgers in the area. Not to be missed are the aformentioned Craigie on Main and Flat Patties, plus Harvest, Russell House Tavern, Miracle of Science, Tory Row, Garden at the Cellar and, soon enough, another Shake Shack. 

photo credit: Katie Chudy

Boston Burger Blog App
for iPhone

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