Sky High

. December 2, 2013.
IMG_5520

At first glance, Elevation Burger appears similar to other modern counter-service restaurants. There’s a large menu overhead, flush with choices. There’s a trendy self-serve soda machine. The eating area is clean and inviting, filled with birch tables and chairs in front of endless windows.

What makes Elevation Burger, different, though, soon emerges. That large menu is peppered with words like organic, grass-fed, and vegan. Fries are cooked in heart-healthy olive oil. Posters and drinking cups list the restaurant’s environmentally sustainable practices such as energy efficient appliances, compact fluorescent lighting, and the use of sustainable building materials. Plus, they recycle. Elevation Burger’s vision for an elevated, nutritionally superior product was brought to Ann Arbor this summer by franchisees Mike and Sarah Tayter. Theirs is the first Elevation Burger franchise in Michigan, located on Washtenaw Avenue.

Focused on Burgers

Not surprisingly, burgers are the focus at Elevation, although a grilled cheese and salad are available, too. Customers build their burgers from an expansive selection of items. First, decide on the number of patties. Next, choose whether patties will be 100% USDA organic, grass-fed, and free-range beef, vegetarian, or vegan. Select a potato bun, no bun, or have your burger wrapped in lettuce. Then add aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, or dozens more condiments.

There are no kids’ meals or combination meals. Everything is a la Carte. One patty burgers start at $3.99 and two patty burgers run $5.79-5.99. Some toppings cost extra. For my six-year-old daughter, I ordered a kid’s one beef patty burger with cheese and ketchup ($4.58). My ten-year-old son chose the Elevation Burger, aka two beef patties, with cheddar and organic bacon ($7.87). My husband also selected the Elevation Burger, topped with cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and blue cheese dressing ($7.56). I ventured to try the Half the Guilt Burger, one beef and one veggie patty, with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mustard ($6.58). We also got an order of fries for the kids to share ($2.99) and an order of Fancy Fries with cheese and Elevation sauce, a creamy version of barbecue sauce, for the adults to share ($4.17).

Family Favorite

“These burgers are way better than McDonald’s,” my ten-year-old proclaimed as he decimated his sandwich. Indeed, my whole family found the burgers enjoyable, with a fresh grilled taste. I preferred the meaty goodness of my beef patty over the vegetarian patty in my Half the Guilt. The sharp flavor of the aged cheddar on my burger impressed me. Less impressive was eating our food off napkins at our table. The food had been served on one tray, consistent with most counter-service restaurants, yet I would have loved a plate or basket to hold my burger.

“The fries are the best here,” declared my ten-year-old. Cooked in olive oil, the fries had a good potato flavor, not the often overwhelming fried flavor of other restaurants’ french fry offerings. I enjoyed our Fancy Fries with tangy melted cheddar and Elevation sauce. The fries’ essence was not masked by too much salt either.

We shared milkshakes for dessert: vanilla with key lime flavoring for the kids and vanilla with chocolate sauce and Oreos for the adults. Each shake ($4.49) includes two mix-ins. The shakes were yummy and definitely made from real ice cream.

Elevation Burger is open seven days a week. See if you agree with my gang, that  their burgers are elevated above the rest in taste and nutrition.

THE SHORT COURSE

Kid-friendly: Yes

To avoid wait: The restaurant is counter-service. You may have a minimal wait for your food to be cooked to order.

Noise level: Moderate to high

Bathroom amenities: Both Men’s and Women’s have a changing table.

High chairs? Yes

Got milk? Yes, plus juice and soda.

Kids’ menu? A kid’s burger and cheeseburger are offered. A grilled cheese is also available.

Anything healthy for kids? Veggie and Vegan patties are offered. Fries are cooked in olive oil. Salads and a side of mandarin oranges are offered. Elevation Burger’s philosophy is to offer nutritionally superior products.

Food allergy concerns? An ingredient list is available. There are gluten-free options and no nuts in anything except some pre-packaged cookies made off-site

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.

Elevation Burger
3365 Washtenaw Ave, Suite L
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 585-0467
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-9pm
www.facebook.com/ElevationBurgerAnnArbor