Umami Burger opens its Miami Beach location (and first-ever) East Coast restaurant today.
The California-based burger chain, featuring a "secret" formula that brings out the savory, meaty "umami" flavor (the fifth and most elusive of our basic tastes), is a favorite among celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Apollo Ohno, and Kendall Jenner, who often are photographed chowing down on burgers or tweeting about their cravings.
But don't think Umami Burger is all smoke-and-mirrors. The burgers all start with house-ground, hand-formed patties, which are then infused with "Umami Master Sauce." The patty is placed on a toasted, slightly sweet bun (to compliment the savoriness of the meat), and fresh house-made toppings are added. Umami also boasts a full bar.
In a sea of burger joints, what sets Umami Burger apart from the others? Short Order went to the source, asking founder and CEO Adam Fleischman what we should expect when we walk through the doors for the very first time.
New Times: Unless we've been to California, a lot of Miamians will be experiencing Umami Burger for the first time. Tell us what can we expect?
Adam Fleischman: In Miami, we try and recreate the vibe of the original concept, so it's similar to our Los Angeles locations. The restaurant has a full bar scene and our classic burgers. The reason we have a following, is that we're trying to approach burgers in a different way. We're trying to put our own spin on it.
And what, exactly, is that "spin"?
We come from the prospective of good flavor. Umami is the savory taste and we add a lot of umami to the burger to give a craveable quality to the burger.
In California you have a California burger and we hear you'll be doing a special Miami burger.
Were going to do a Cuban style burger on the menu. The Cubano Burger has a pork and pork belly patty with mojo mustard, house cheese, pickles, proscuitto, and smoked ham.
The Miami Beach Umami Burger is actually your first-ever East Coast location.
The first East Coast. Exactly.
Is this the first in a planned expansion into the East Coast market?
We're going to work in selected markets that we feel at home in. We're concentrating on expanding into the New York market, the Miami area, and the D.C. area.
You were a food writer before you owned your restaurants. Can you tell us how you "flipped the switch" and went from writing to owning restaurants?
You think you can't do it and you're crazy not to think that. But sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I had a lot of other concepts and I actually had some other places that had food elements to them. But Umami was the first one that I actually did on my own without partners that was sort of my idea and was about food all the way.
Do you still write?
I do. I'm actually writing a television show that's getting produced.
Can you tell us about that?
Unfortunately, I can't because we're shopping it around right now.
It's been said you hand picked this location on Alton Road. Did you?
I did. I was at the SLS opening this past November. We knew we wanted to start with South Beach, because we had more experience with the area. We liked Alton Road because it was in an area that locals would go to. It's right near Whole Foods Market. It's not in a super touristy spot. It feels like a destination off "Main Street." That's the best criteria. We want to be the burger place that people would find and come to. We liked the space and the area. We liked everything about it.
Tell us why we need to run over to Umami Burger the minute it opens.
We're going to create a vibe that really reflects the area. It's going to resonate with Miami. You'll discover something that's tailored to Miami's taste. Plus, you're going to experience great flavors.
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Umami Burger will be open Sunday - Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Expanded hours will be coming soon.