“The purpose is to provide something different on a regular basis,” Jose says.
Five years ago, it was Jose who introduced his father to the idea of opening a burger joint together. Luis, who is now the executive chef at 109, has years of experience in owning and operating restaurants, namely Italian. He knew opening a non-Italian restaurant would be challenging, but he says it was one that “came with vigor.”
“The help of [Jose] has been invaluable,” Luis says. “Together we [were able] to create something special.”
All of 109 Burger's recipes are original, even beyond "Experimental Wednesdays." That's what sets it apart from other burger restaurants.
The Blancos treat their menu as a blank canvas. The founders seek inspiration from the cultures around them, infusing various flavors and ingredients into each one. Take, for instance, the Colombian Voyage, a beef patty blended with chorizo and stacked with chicharrones, a fried egg, and cilantro sauce between an arepa de choclo ($14). There's also the Nica, a beef burger with fried Nicaraguan cheese and coleslaw, jalapeño cream sauce, and sweet plantains ($13); and the Mex109, topped with jalapeño cheddar jack cheese, pico de gallo, and homemade guacamole ($13).
Yet the Venezuelan family has yet to create a burger inspired by their homeland. “It’s [something] we’re definitely working on,” Jose says.
Another popular burger is the Blue Moon, composed of a beer-aged patty topped with blue cheese and homemade orange mayo ($14). The restaurant also offers 22 beers on tap and more than 100 selections from local and national breweries.
109 Burger will participate in New Times' Burgerfest Saturday, September 14, at Haulover Park. Tickets costs $30 to $60 via eventbrite.com.
109 Burger Joint. 646 SW 109th Ave., Sweetwater; 305-228-0109; 109burgerjoint.com. Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday noon to midnight, and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.