Elevation Burger Open @ Wheaton Mall

Today’s Wheaton Mall action began unusually early thanks to Nike’s annual release of its latest Air Jordan sneakers. Hordes gathered well before dawn at malls across the country, including Westfield Wheaton.  If people choose to go to the mall before dawn to wait for hours in a crowd, in the cold, to spend nearly $200 on a pair of shoes that in most cases will never be worn (collectors’ item!), I guess more power to ’em.  Our neighbors to the north are shocked and awed. At least there was no malfeasance in Wheaton, despite some erroneous tweetingto the contrary.

Elevation Burger Sprawl

Unfortunately, thanks to what we believe was WUSA Channel 9’s helicopter, Mrs. Me and I woke up just after 6am.  We live pretty close to the mall, and the chopper hovered low, seemingly right over our house, for nearly an hour, finally leaving at precisely 7am.  The bird was black with no discernable markings, and we did not get out the binoculars to try to get the N number from the tail (which is evidently necessary info in order to file a complaint with the FAA — which we will do next time).  So it may not have been WUSA, but both local and state police say the helicopter wasn’t theirs, and WUSA has its aerial footage online, so…not a happy way to be woken up. I’m already boycotting Nike (don’t get me started) and now I’m adding WUSA to my list.  The list only goes to three (I have not set foot in a Wal-Mart since October 1995). But I somewhat digress…

All I see is beef...

Anyway, from the can’t beat ’em, join ’em department, I went over to the (helicopter-free since 7am!) mall for lunch at the new Elevation Burger outpost, which just opened on Wednesday. I’d never been to any EB location and my hopes were cautiously high, buoyed by the sparkly new space and friendly efficient employees — EB has done a good job hiring and training, at least. I’ve been eager for an “upscale fast” burger joint to open in  Wheaton, and in theory at least EB would qualify.

I wish they did a better job with their food, which is laudably fresh, organic, sustainable, etc. but also (alas) under-seasoned and poorly assembled.  Their main offering is the Elevation Burger, two (grass-fed) beef patties with choice of toppings — I chose cheese, sauteed onions, pickles, and “Elevation Sauce,” a typical burger place orange Thousand Islandy spread.  All the toppings were fine, and the cheese was both nicely melted and of a higher quality than you get at most burger places. The beef was well-done and kind of dry, but also only minimally charred on the outside, and needed salt: altogether lacking in flavor, despite the high-quality beef (although you could argue that if you’re going to use high-quality grass-fed beef in a burger, you’d better not overcook it, which is the primary problem here).  This was compounded by a poor bun-to-burger ratio: the plain, lightly toasted, standard burger bun was nowhere near substantial enough to contain the burger.  The ratio would probably be better on the single-patty burger offering, charmingly called the “Kid’s Burger” — wonder how many adults will be ordering that?  But that’s what I would do, and I would also load up on toppings, which seem to be the most Elevated part of the experience.

Elevation Fries

The thin-cut fries were also mildly disappointing, despite being fresh and having nice potato flavor: they could use a crisper exterior, and also need more salt.  The portion size is fine (520 calories!), yet considerably smaller than the similar-priced (and superior flavored) Five Guys fries.  In fact, the prices and menu options are similar to Five Guys across the board, but the Elevation food just doesn’t measure up in flavor or ultimately in value.

A final caveat: EB takeout paper bags are too thin to withstand the combination of steam and grease released by the food, mine nearly tore in half before I even got to my car (parked in a far corner of the ridiculously crowed mall parking lot — it’s almost like today was a big shopping day or something). Use two hands! Or better yet, go to Five Guys.  Or, if you have the time and money, go to BGR…or Ray’s…

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4 responses to “Elevation Burger Open @ Wheaton Mall

  1. But did you try the milkshake?! I’ve heard great things. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Thanks debra, I did not try the milkshake and I too have heard good things about it. (so why didn’t I try it? milkshakes are just not my thing!)

  3. I ate at EB for the first time today and pretty much agree with your review. Although my social conscience was feeling smug, my poor taste buds were missing the flavor! Definitely too much meat in the burger for my liking–I was intending to order a regular burger with just one patty the next time I visited, and so I’m glad your review pointed out that the kids’ burger is exactly that. The toppings were good but a bit meager. I tried their milkshake when I happened past on their opening day (black and white w/ a banana), good stuff!! I appreciate their calorie listing and the staff really are friendly. We sat down to eat and staff kept coming by to ask if we had everything we needed. I almost felt like I needed to leave a tip. I’m SO glad that we have a “nicer”, fast food burger joint in the mall, but I kinda wish it were a Five Guys.

  4. Pingback: Elevation Burger Revisited | Good Eatin' In Wheaton

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