There's a bit of a burger craze going on in Philly right now, what with people lining up to try Garces' $24 foie gras-topped Whiskey King burger at Village Whiskey, Stephen Starr slashing lunchtime burger prices at Butcher and Singer, and PYT's Tommy Up declaring burger war via social media and email. Of course, this craze is all about the meat burgers, so where does that leave me? Out sampling the veggie burgers, of course!
Veggie burgers are normally not my meal of choice, so I'm a little embarrassed when people ask me, a vegetarian and food blogger, what my favorite veggie burger around town is, and I have no answer. I hope to one day have a good answer to that question, and attending Burger Club Philly "meatings" organized by the Burgerbaroness of fries with that shake has helped me on the quest.
Let's start with Stephen Starr's veggie burger from SquareBurger, the fast food burger shack located in the newly renovated and kid-friendly Franklin Square across the way from the park's carousel and Philadelphia themed mini-golf course.
Only open seasonally, with changing hours depending on the time of the year (hey, a website would be helpful Stephen!), you better pony up before the end of October November 15 end of the day, November 1 (dude, keeps changing dates!), if you want a taste of Stephen Starr's West Coast style burger (read: small patty, potato bun, minimal toppings), and be willing to wait in long lines at lunch when the weather is nice.
(Sorry for the blur; these are camera phone pictures.)
A lover of lemonade, the menu suckered me with "homemade" lemonade, but I was disappointing to receive pink lemonade that tasted like it was from a mix. I guess I mistook the term homemade for fresh squeezed. Homemade means nothing nowadays, apparently.
Fries are skin-on shoestring, and adequately nice. A Gardenburger was pulled out of the sack to be grilled up for my veggie burger, which, for some reason, is more expensive than the meat burgers!!! A Gardenburger from a finer dining establishment, or even a grub pub, would get the snub from me, but SquareBurger is a tiny shack in a park, and is about what is expected, although, really, I expect there not to be a veggie burger at such places.Melted American cheese, ketchup, yellow mustard, diced onion, and pickle relish are all the toppings available, but, if you're a mayo freak like me, please see the condiment packets along the counter railing. The smell of all these classic fast food burger condiments along with the grilled squishy potato bun remind me of the off-the-menu Burger King Veggie Whopper (that's a Whopper without the meat) that is many road traveling vegetarians' savior and dirty little secret.
On an earlier occasion I tried the Cake Shake blended with vanilla ice cream, half and half, butterscotch sauce, and crumbled TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpet, and I do not like! You either love sucking wet cake through a straw, or you don't. Most do. I don't.
This time I went with the Butterscotch Sundae made with Jack and Jill vanilla ice cream, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, TasteyKake Butterscotch Krimpet, crushed Heath bar, and maraschino cherry. Kids will love this unsophisticated sundae, but I need something more interesting. Really, I got this sundae to try the TastyKake, a local, Philly, preservative-loaded cake maker that is near and dear to those who grew up on it. I respect local pride and nostalgia, but I missed the love boat by 30 plus years to be endeared to anything TastyKake.
Best veggie burger in town? No, but it'll do in a pinch when hunger pains strike while playing mini-golf with your nieces and nephews.
200 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, PA 19106