When Nedal Ahmad opened Pincho Factory in November 2010, he had $6.27 to his name. Fast-forward five years, and the man responsible for turning your wildest burger dreams (pastelito burger, anyone?) into reality has flipped patties on The Today Show, won this year's Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival for his croquetaza (a legend in its own right), and is now on the brink of Pincho Factory world domination — well, franchising, which is the same thing.
But just how did Pincho Factory get to the top of Miami's burger family tree by slinging concoctions such as the toston, pastelito, and arepa burgers? It all began with the now off-menu but always-available foreman burger. "It's the father of the nontraditional burger," Ahmad says.
"It was 2011, and we had just one burger on the menu, so we wanted to mix it up, do something crazy." A devotee of grilled cheese, his go-to late-night snack, Ahmad had the idea to do a burger with grilled cheese sandwiches as the buns. "Burger Beast caught wind of it and it all spiraled from there, birthing the fritanga and toston burger."
Today, the foreman burger has its own loyal following. Fans flock to Pincho Factory and order it even though it's no longer on the menu. What's the big deal? It starts with the cheese, all six slices of it. "You've got two in each grilled cheese bun and two on the burger itself." Then there's the high-quality beef patty, which is seared and unleashes juicy goodness with each bite. "A couple of years ago, I changed the recipe on the burger because I myself couldn't taste it anymore, so it doesn't taste anything like it did in 2012. It's better."
New and improved patty aside, the highlight of this beauty is undoubtedly its buns, which are pillow-like yet firm enough to hold it all together. Tomatoes and pickles come in with some succulent substance and crunch. The foreman burger will set you back $10 and about 45 minutes on the StairMaster, but it's worth every penny and calorie, especially considering picking up this colossal burger is like a workout in itself. It's almost impossible to fit your mouth around the thing till you're about halfway through. Of course, you could always deconstruct it by eating it in parts: grilled cheese, patty, accoutrement, or any combo. The Pincho Factory way, however, is to go all in and then wash it down with Wynwood Brewing's 627 ale, which is aptly named for the $6.27 Ahmad had in his bank account when he opened Pincho Factory.
Necessity is the mother of invention and, in this case, of Miami's true burger king.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.