First Bites

Lokal: Clean Burgers, Brews, and Killer Tomatoes (Pictures)

Lokal, a new burger joint in Coconut Grove, opened Christmas Eve after much renovation to the space on Commodore Plaza.

When Short Order spoke with owner Matthew Kuscher in September, he spun a tale of a small neighborhood restaurant featuring locally sourced food and drink. Kuscher described a mural made of cork, tables made of recycled materials, a wall of graffiti art, and a small area devoted to selling locally made and environmentally sound products. It all sounded good as we sat in mismatched chairs and gazed at shopping bags full of old cassette tapes and corks filling the empty (and dusty) space.

It took awhile, but that vision is now a reality. Lokal is small and

bright, with a hipster vibe that wouldn't seem out of place in

Williamsburg or the East Village. On a Thursday evening the crowd was

mixed, though less raucous than the college crowd that frequents Sandbar

or Mr. Moe's. It could be because the music or television was designed

more for background -- allowing diner to converse with each other,

rather than scream at the game or booty-shake.

Lokal has received their beer and wine license, so we tried a Florida

Lager on draft and a Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo,

Michigan to go with our burger, shrimp tacos and heirloom tomato salad.

All burgers are made with Florida grass-fed beef from White Ranch in

Ocala. The cattle are free-range Kobe-style, free of hormones and

antibiotics. Shrimp are Gulf rock shrimp, and the tomatoes are large,

colorful, and juicy.

The food was served quickly (almost too quickly), and my one comment

that the tomato salad needed... something immediately prompted

Kuscher to arrive straightaway with a pepper grinder. With a hands-on

owner, eager staff, and prices that won't blow

your budget, Lokal seems poised to become a go-to spot for locals.

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