At 109 Burger Joint, Knaus Berry Farm's legendary cinnamon rolls are used as buns for an indulgent creation. The Blancos, the famiy that owns the restaurant, developed the idea to swap a potato roll for a sticky bun during their weekly "Experimental Wednesday” meeting, where father-and-son duo Luis Blanco Sr. and Jose Blanco brainstorm unconventional burger recipes.
“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).
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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 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.