have it your way.

with the opening of big daddy’s burger bar in december 2007, frank scibelli’s stable of restaurant franchises grew to three, preceded by mama ricotta’s and cantina 1511. after tackling italian and mexican cuisines, the newest concept showcases the most american of foods (if you don’t count hot dogs and, maybe, apple pies), the hamburger, and allows its patrons to create one specific to their individual palates. those previous restaurants make cameos here, as a hamburger with housemade mozzarella, pesto, vine-ripened tomatoes, and olive oil, and a black bean burger with green chiles, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, avocado, and chipotle ranch appear on the menu.

while similar burger joints exist, i think this represents the best incarnation in charlotte. while they collectively allow one to choose toppings a la carte, big daddy’s competitors do so in such a confusing way that the meal invariably costs twenty dollars by the time one is finished ordering. in an effort to combat this sticker shock, big daddy’s menu contains more suggested combinations, thus one can select an entree and add or subtract a few ingredients without worrying about being surprised by the bill. the prices also include a side (french fries, sweet potato fries, house slaw, onion straws, tater tots, or housemade potato chips). on friday, saturday, and sunday, for an additional charge, they serve french fries cooked in duck fat, which doesn’t alter the flavor much; the change is more tactile, the fries are crispier.

i’m sorry that i’m one step away from sounding like a generic website — i just need to add something like, come join us on saturday nights when the patio gets jumping. before i change directions though, i should tell you that your options include beef, turkey, chicken, and buffalo, as well as portabella mushroom caps and black beans for those who prefer something other than meat.

there is another burger bar, located in las vegas’s mandalay bay and owned by hubert keller, where one can order a kobe beef burger named after a fourteenth century italian composer whose love for fine food was legendary. the rossini is topped with sauteed foie gras, shaved black truffles, and a madeira wine reduction on an onion bun. for your sixty dollars you also get skinny fries and, i think, a blowjob. luckily for those that cannot make it to vegas (or are sane enough not to drop that much money on a burger), i’ve found a recipe courtesy of saveur.


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