First Bites

Elevation Burger Opens in Kendall

Elevation Burger, a fast casual burger chain that features 100 percent USDA-certified, organic burgers made from 100 percent grass-fed, free-range cows, has opened a restaurant in Kendall, across from Dadeland Mall.

Elevation Burger is gaining cult status in the states it's in, with Yelpers in particular singing the praises of the chain's double-patty Elevation burgers, fresh cut fries, and shakes. The chain has been favorably compared to the legendary In-N-Out Burger, the same burger which inspired Elevation's founder Hans Hess.

Elevation Burger restaurants are clean and sparse. Decorated in various shades of blue, they're furnished with environmentally sustainable materials. Appliances are all energy-star rated. There's a giant manual potato slicer attached to the wall, which shakes the very foundation every time a potato is sacrificed to the French Fry gods. The meat is ground in-house daily. Shakes are made from ice cream rather than powdered substance.

The menu is simple. Single burgers ($3.99), double patty Elevation

burgers ($5.79), fries cooked in olive oil ($2.69), shakes ($3.99), and

two kinds of veggie burger (vegan and vegetarian made with cheese, both

$4.99 each). Burgers come plain and you choose from a variety of

toppings like lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, aged cheddar ($.49 extra), and

bacon ($1.49). The restaurant also features that crazy Coke machine

that allows you to customize your flavors.

At the counter, a sign

read "text MIAMIEB to 81680 for a free fountain soda". We did and

received a complimentary cup to try that crazy machine.

The burgers arrived

wrapped in old-school paper. The Elevation burger was juicy and meaty.

Worth the $5.79, when you consider fast food restaurant chain burgers

sell their "premium" burgers at around the same price. A veggie burger

proved to be the standard garden burger. Topped with aged cheddar and

fresh lettuce and tomato, it's an OK nod to vegetarians. The thin

skin-on natural-cut fries were seasoned with the right amount of sea

salt. Though they arrived hot, they cooled off quickly, but we still

managed to nibble the cold fries and finish off most of the oversized


And the soda machine? It's just fun. A computerized

touch screen allows you to select a base soda like Coke, Coke Zero, or

Dasani Water. Then you're led to a secondary screen where you choose

the sub flavor -- Vanilla Coke, lemon Dasani, lime-tinged Diet Coke.

Gimmicky? A little. But over a dozen people were mesmerized by it during

the time we were there.

We're going to continue eating burgers

and fries, and we really like the fact that Elevation Burger offers

organic, clean meat at prices that can compete with the less healthy big

boys. Are the burgers core shakers? Maybe not, but we can appreciate, and stand behind, a small chain that's trying to feed families a healthier alternative at a price point we all can swallow.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss