Stuff We Like
Big shout out to our girl, Sam at Chicago Food Authority for this delicious looking photo.
See what Amanda Topper, Chicago Food Analyst & curator of the Ghost Guest says about her experience at Epic Burger. Click here to read the full article
“Simple isn’t easy,” David Friedman says of Epic Burger, his seven-location “better burger” chain in Chicago. Unlike many competitors and against the current in the category, Epic’s menu is small: beef and turkey burgers that can be singles or doubles; chicken and Portobello mushroom burgers; a bunless burger for carbophobes and a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s it. Topping options are basic and classic, including three Wisconsin cheeses.
“I think of us as the anti-Counter,” says Friedman, Epic’s founder, adding that his guiding principle is “Do less better.” But while simplicity is his choice, that doesn’t make it easy to achieve. “It’s not easy to cook a burger properly or to get the bun just right,” he says, noting that Epic butters and lightly toasts the white wheat buns it offers. “It’s not easy to run [the restaurant] right and to attract great people who believe in what they’re doing. We do that.
Friedman spent years as a fine-dining chef, served as head of new-product development for Boston Chicken (now Boston Market) and worked as a culinary consultant with a variety of food suppliers and processors. But the exposure to processed foods convinced him that there wasn’t much he’d want to eat at most quick-service restaurants. It also persuaded him to create a concept where diners—especially parents with their children—wouldn’t have to worry about what they were eating. Epic’s beef, turkey and chicken are naturally raised and free of drugs or additives. What goes into shakes has no artificial colors or flavors. Packaging is plant-based.
“Do less better,” says David Friedman.
“I could have opened David’s Organic Salads & Wraps or something, but I didn’t want to go that way,” Friedman says. Instead of hammering diners with “better for you” messages, he say he’d rather they eat great food, taste the difference and ask about their meal.
“The burger is the vessel for the message,” he says. “And the message is ‘Learn about the food you eat.’ The more they do, the better it is for them and for us.” Information about what is and isn’t in the food is written on a wall and otherwise available.
In addition to creating “A more mindful burger,” which is Epic’s marketing slogan, Friedman wanted to recapture something of the old-school burger restaurant approach. Epic has some of In-N-Out burger’s famous operational efficiency and the honest, seared-griddled-burger taste of the Steak ‘n Shakes that Friedman, an Indianapolis native, he says he remembers from his youth.
Just when the first Epic opened in downtown Chicago in 2008, “the burger segment went crazy,” Friedman says. Despite the crowding that followed, he’s confident that Epic has a solid marketplace position. “We’re fast casual, with burgers priced at $5.99, which is a great value. A lot of the other ‘better burger’ concepts are more full-service with bars,” says.
Six Epic locations are in Chicago; one is in a suburban mall. Friedman says he wants to see how a true suburban in-line location fares and he wants to see how Epic is received in another market. With answers from those tests he’ll be ready to get bigger. Franchising isn’t the route he’s taking now but he hasn’t ruled it out. Expansion is simple, but doing it right isn’t necessarily easy.
Lent is here again and we don’t want you to go hungry! It’s only mindful that we give you some Epic meatless options.
Every Friday from March 5th to April 20th we’ll be serving up an Epic and very delicious Egg Sandwich with 1 year aged Wisconsin Cheddar & Giardiniera peppers. If you’re feeling really crazy add avocado to it for some extra flare. And don’t forget we always have our Portobello Sandwich to get you through those meatless Friday’s. In our opinion both deserve an epic yummmmmmm.
What: Epic Egg Sandwich
When: March 5th-April 20th
Where: All Epic Burger locations
Great article about how switching to environmentally friendly takeout containers provides one of the best opportunities to make a sustainable impact. We’ve been using plant based packaging since opening our first shop in 2008. Nice to see others following the ever so necessary steps to achieve a healthier planet. CLICK HERE for full article.
Chicago Chef, Merlin Verrier, best known for his work as Director of Operations for Graham Elliot, reviews our Turkey Burger and loves it! Check it out for yourself here
It’s the most wonderful time of year at Epic Burger. Purchase a $25+ gift card and we’ll hook you up with a one of a kind wallet made out of recycled carryout bags. Created by our friends at Hull Street Studio.
On last night’s Cooking Channel episode of “Best in Chow,” we were named WINNER of Burger Wars Chicago. Up against some juicy competition, we beat out Rockit Burger Bar and Butcher & the Burger, to hold the title of best burger in Chi-Town.
We entered our Classic Epic Burger which includes: A freshly baked bun hot off the griddle, all-natural, humanely raised beef, Epic Sauce, pickles, leafy green lettuce, vine-ripe tomato, one-year aged cheddar cheese, grilled onions and an organic cage-free fried egg.
What’s the secret of the winning burger, you ask? Each ingredient is all-natural with no preservatives, nitrates, artificial coloring, just the best you can get. It’s what’s not in our burgers that make them taste freakin’ goooooooood.
As Burger Wars host, Cris Nannarone stated “If this is what organic food is supposed to taste like, then slap me in the face and call me a hippie!”
Victory is oh so saaaweeeeeettttttttt! CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE