Burger Innovation in Ireland

Posted by Conor O'Neill on Saturday, June 25, 2005

One of the best foodie blogs out there is A Hamburger Today. The writing is top class and the enthusiasm for the food shines through.

But it has got me thinking about the complete lack of burger variety in this country. There seems to the only three categories here - Mickey D’s Style (incl Burger King, Super Macs etc), Chippers (insert your local chipper name here) and diners (Eddie Rockets being the only example I can think of).

You’ll never get a surprise in either of the first two and unfortunately Eddie Rockets ingredient quality plummetted as the chain expanded. I think there is a definite opportunity for someone doing something unique “in this space” (oh god, I’ve been working for a large corporation for too long). What I’m thinking of is a really great unusual signature burger that people go out of their way to get their hands on.

I was amazed to discover that an entire category of burgers existed which were unbeknownst to be - sliders. These are mini-burgers where you are usually given a few per order and they just slide right down your throat. White Castle seems to be the most famous vendor of these. I need to check out Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle for this (renamed to “Harold and Kumar Get The Munchies” over here cos we’ve never heard of White Castle).

That’s just one option - even going for unusual toppings or different buns might do the trick. The yanks seems to go on about potato rolls a lot but I have no idea what they are. What I do know is that your standard chipper bundy with generic frozen beef patty can definitely be improved on without costing the earth.

It can be done and I have seen it work; I’ll never forget the kebab shop just down from the Portobello pub on the canal which I frequented many a friday night in the early 90’s. These guys had chicken, peppers and onions on skewers over a charcoal barbeque. They then slid that into a pitta with the best chilli sauce ever, topped with salad and garlic sauce. Heaven in a pitta. I don’t know why they shut up shop, they always seemed jammed to me. And yet Abrakebabra is still in business…….

Are the people of Bandon ready for this or is it more a City Centre Pana thing or should it be set up near to some other food-joint where the desperate-for-something-to-give-them-an-identity mid-twenties wannbees might hang out like Wagamama?

Or would it just be a flash in the pan (rimshot please maestro)?

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