The Patty Burger logo is a pinup who looks like Bettie Page's redheaded stepsister, decked in full diner-waitress regalia and wielding a spatula as if it were a riding crop for naughty burger-eaters. And according to the Patty Burger website manifesto, "She's fresh, she's hot, and she's stacked." Clearly the target demographic at Patty Burger is the frat boy.
The rest of the decor is modern diner, with brushed stainless steel tables, Arne Jacobsen-style maple chairs, huge orange pendant lamps that cast a hazy washed-out light and a disconcerting wall of painted dots that make you feel as if you've fallen into a giant pail of grey Legos.
Patty Burger is the brainchild of wunderkind and ex-Jimmy John's honcho Gregg Majewski. Majewski's quick ascent as CEO and controller of the sub giant by the time he was 24 had earned him quite a bit of press, and he's been using that pulpit to espouse his vision for an In-N-Out-style burger...made-to-order with fresh ingredients and high-quality meats.
There's no super-value menu here. Singles start at $3.29 and everything else is a la carte: 29 cents for cheese, 99 cents for bacon and 59 cents for mushrooms or grilled onions. As for the burger, the 1/3-pound patty is hefty, the vegetables crispy, and the orange "sauce" is studded with black flecks of pepper. The meat has a nice char, and looks nothing like the gray lifeless discs you'd find on a Big Mac; however, excepting the slight smokiness, the taste offers only a slight step up from its fast-food counterpart. Burger-unenthusiasts can feast on chili, shakes, breakfast sandwiches and fries.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant