A boy probing his tonsils with the pointed ketchup bottle cap is the first thing that caught my eye after putting in my order at the counter of Elevation Burger. The chances of him having Hep C is probably slim, so I shrug it off.
Than, almost instantly, the seemingly calm fast-food-with-a-conscience strip mall joint in Wynnewood, a western suburb of Philly, filled with 3 kids per 1 adult, and I might as well have been eating at Chuck E Cheese.
"Hey, Dad! Hey, Dad! Hey, Dad! Hey, Dad!"
Am I the only one that hears this desperate little girl shouting across the room? Dad sure doesn't.
"Cody, you cannot punch Jason is the back," said a frustrated mom pulling her child off the boy's friend.
"But he called me stupid," he pathetically whined.
A boy with brains eaten by a zombie trips over my foot on his sixth visit to the trash can.
Apparently, the hormone-free, grass-raised, and free-range beef; fried-in-olive-oil fries; and organic and transfat-free ingredients at the environmentally and sustainably built Elevation Burger is the new guilt-free McDonalds for Main Line suburban parents.
My suggestion to those without children or the ability to tune out chaos is to eat at Elevation Burger on Tuesday at 2:16 pm.
Your order is brought to the table in a rectangular metal tray by a smiling employee. Olive oil-fried shoestring fries are light and crispy. With a ratio of more short and nubbin-length fries to long fries, the fry grabbing looks desperate and labored before you hit the end.With a choice of chocolate, vanilla, or coffee ice cream and Oreo cookies, chocolate syrup and a handful of fruit add-ins, and no pre-conceived specialty shakes to order, you're the milkshake master at Elevation Burger. Above is chocolate ice cream with real strawberries blended in. Thick and creamy, the spoon is more helpful than the fat straw.
There are two veggie burgers on Elevation Burger's menu. One is vegan (#2) and one is not (#1). This is clearly marked on the large wall-hanging menu behind the counter. There is also a laminated paper in front of the register listing all the ingredients in the two veggie burgers for those who need the full info. Unfortunately, these ingredients are not listed on their website.
All veggie burgers are cooked on a different grill than the meat burgers. My astute and friendly (they really are friendly) order-taker noted when I ordered caramelized onions on my veggie burger that the caramelized onions are cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers, but in a separate section, in case I cared.
Above is the vegan Veggie #2 with lettuce, tomatoes, Elevation sauce (a faintly tangy mayo and ketchup-based sauce that's not vegan), pickles, and caramelized onions on a soft bun.
Unlike burgers from McDonalds or Burger King that seem to be run over by a steam roller between construction and landing in your hands, the buns on an Elevation Burger are still fluffy upon arrival.
The #2 Veggie patty is the preformed and frozen kind. Chock full of whole grains and vegetables, the touted "tastes like veggies" #2...tastes like veggies. A little longer on the grill to crisp the edges would have been a nice touch.
The non-vegan Veggie #1 has a mix of cheeses in the frozen and preformed "fire roasted" grain and vegetable patty. The cheese and roasted flavor of the patty tasted less "clean" than the Veggie #2, but did not taste better or worse, in my opinion. They're both frozen veggie burgers slapped on a grill, nothing more or less. I do appreciate the whole grains and vegetables in both patties far more than a ground brown mash of soy protein.
Good on Elevation Burger for offering more health and environmentally conscious fast food burgers (and veggie burgers) to burb-bound families on the go, but unless I were running an errand in the same strip mall Elevation Burger is located in (I was), I'm not sure it's worth a trip to the burbs for vegetarians. Check your freezer for a veggie patty first.
50 East Wynnewood Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19096