Beef prices may be outpacing the cost of other meats and quickservice chains may be adding more new chicken sandwiches than burgers to the menu right now, but May is still the month set aside to celebrate this American classic. Some restaurant companies are making the most of it with promotions ranging from traditional new burger introductions to Whataburger’s Texas style welcome when rival In-and-Out opened its first two eateries in the Lone Star State native’s backyard this week.
If you can’t boot ‘em…
Burger fans and many quickservice industry watchers have been buzzing for months about In-and-Out’s planned debut in Texas, largely because it’s the state where Whataburger started in 1950. Curious natives and transplants from the West Coast filled out In-and-Out’s grand-opening lines Wednesday – one former Californian even cried – but rather than thrown down the gauntlet, Whataburger took the high road.
The company played welcome wagon, offering up a pair of cowboy boots in its signature orange to the newly opened stores in Allen and Frisco – noting in the press release, of course, the addresses of its own eateries in those towns and reminding burger fans that they’re open 24 hours.
Beef or bison?
Ted’s Montana Grill debuted five new designer burgers, each of which start at $13 for beef and hit $16 if you want it made with even pricier bison meat. Prices for both commodities have gone up in recent months, for different reasons – corn shortages have made it costlier for cattle farmers to feed their herds while bison has grown so much in popularity that ranchers are having trouble filling orders.
Itsy-bitsy bikini wins big media buzz
Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. , who routinely stand up to critics who call their burger ads too obviously sexy, set off a storm of media buzz with an eBay auction of the bikini worn by Miss Turkey in a recent commercial to promote a new turkey burger and raise funds for U.S. troops.
How far can you go and still call it a burger?
The foodie blog Eater had a field day with burger month this year, kicking it off in April with a challenge to five New York restaurants that didn’t have burgers on the menu to create new ones and sell them for two weeks. The effort apparently paid of for Sho Shaun Hergatt, which has decided to add its $20 short rib burger with house-cured lamb bacon, pickled ramp compote, truffle mayonnaise to the bar menu permanently.
Eater also asked French Culinary Institute tech director Dave Arnold to imagine the burger of the future – turns out the restaurant guests of tomorrow may be eating a burger made with veal stock and glued-together bacon. There’s a how-to video, if you want to get a head start.
Are you celebrating burgers this month? Tell us how in the comments.