I noticed BGR for the first time on Memorial Day when I went to have a manicure and pedicure in the shopping center that used to house “Longs Drugs.” (In actuality they opened just before Christmas in 2011.) The line going into the restaurant was huge and when I asked the manicurist why the line was so long she told me that they were giving free hamburgers and cheeseburgers away to celebrate the holiday. (I found out this evening that they offered the promotion from 11:00am to 1:00pm and again from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. They gave away 493 burgers and made 47 malts!)
Today my grown daughter told me that the same restaurant was offering a promotion and suggested that I might want to check it out. Unfortunately – or fortunately as it turned out – I could not go at lunch time but could go for dinner – so she, her daughter, and her daughter’s two children and I piled into two cars and headed to the restaurant. I knew where it was because of Memorial Day but for those of you not knowing it is in the old “Longs” Shopping Center on the same side as the “Halibut Shop” on West Point Loma near Midway.
There is no table service, per se. The menu board is easy to see and I noticed that there were “take-out” menu’s placed throughout the restaurant. After we placed our order from a large menu, my granddaughter went about setting up our table. (The tables are delightful. Sounds funny, but each one is decorated differently – ours had a “Mickey Mouse” on it, and my great-granddaughter loved it. ) The burgers are very different from the standard burger – although that is offered too.
I had a “Wellington” that had deep-roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic and black truffles with a touch of mustard seed and blue cheese on the top. The cost was $8.99. My grandchildren had a “KIDS” plate – which consisted of 2 sliders or grilled cheese, Fries and a Soft drink for $4.99. My daughter and granddaughter had the regular “Burger” that was cooked to perfection, tasted yummy, and was large. There are 10 other burgers listed on the menu. (More about that in a few minutes.) The French fries were hot and well seasoned.
In looking at the drink menu I was interested in the “Bottled Vintage Soda’s” section. Listed was an item called “Cheer Wine”. I was familiar with the other items – “A & W Root Beer and Orange Crush” but not the Cheer Wine. I went up to the counter to ask about it and was met by “Doug”, the owner of the restaurant. He told me that the “Cheer Wine” tasted a lot like “Dr. Pepper” but had a more cherry flavor. It was first bottled in 1917 and was one of the oldest drinks around. I had to try it, and he was right. Very tasty. All of the soda’s were $2.79 each. (Interesting to note that the total, with tax, came to $3.01.)
Drinks from the soda machine were $2.29; Fiji Water was offered in two sizes – 16 oz for $1.49 and 1.05 LTR. for $2.99. Wine and beer are also served. As I began talking to Doug, I decided to let him know that I was reviewing the restaurant, which I seldom do because I do not want to be influenced by anyone working in the restaurant. He and Justin, the owner of the Waring Rd. restaurant were excited to know that it would be reviewed, and asked what we had ordered. Doug said they wanted to have us sample another of their burgers. I told them it wasn’t necessary, but they insisted. So what did they have made for us? Two enormous burgers and some of their onion rings! The rings were delicious. Huge and tasty.
The “sample burgers” were a Turkey Burger that was so good I stopped eating my Wellington to eat it, and a Greek burger, that was fresh ground leg of lamb seasoned with cumin, mint and garlic. It was topped with tzatziki and feta. My daughter liked it so well that she said she would probably order it when she goes back. (The Greek burger sells for $11.99 and the Turkey burger is $8.99.)
In talking to Doug later, we found out that all of their meat is prime quality; aged on the East Coast and sent here. The meat is “all natural, hormone-free from grain-fed beef. ” The buns are baked by a bakery in La Jolla; all the vegetables used are organic and local. Nothing is “Pre-cooked” and there are no “heat lamps.”
I asked Doug why he had the free burgers on Memorial Day and why the function today where 20% of what was taken in would be donated to the SSC PAK. He had an interesting answer. “First of all, he said, it is fun. Secondly, it is good advertising; much better than putting ads in papers and paying for them, when he more business is generated by giving it away.” It should be noted that they always give a 10% discount to the military, police and fire departments.
There are only a few small suggestions I would make: (1) Because children eat there, I would suggest having small cups, with lids, that are easy to handle for youngsters. (2) Instead of charging $2.79 for sodas and walking around with 99 cents in change in my pocket, , charge $2.78 so that the drink is $3.00. And, as for seniors, the burgers are much more than they can eat. I’d suggest a smaller portion – or a “mini menu selection” – because the cost of the boxes to go will cost more in the long run than the cost of the burger. But one nice thing about taking the extra’s home – for the fries and onion rings there were take-out boxes, similar to a Chinese take-out, that fit nicely into the brown paper bag that we put our leftovers in . And..one more nicety was that we were given aluminum foil to wrap our burgers in before putting them in the bag.
Will we be back? Yes. Many times. The children loved the televisions, the guitars, the tables, and the food. The adults were thrilled with the food and happy with the selection and price. Doug didn’t tell us what exactly, but he did say that there will be another special coming up in July. (Hmmm. 4th of July maybe?)