SquareBurger, Stephen Starr’s recently named and hotly anticipated burger hut in Franklin Square, is finally firing up its grill and sliding open its take-out window today at 11 a.m. sharp. The official grand opening is Thursday, but burger nerds will undoubtedly be lining up to be the first to sink their teeth into Starr’s first real foray into food for the masses. After all, important questions must be answered: is it Fake Shack, a rip-off of restaurateur Danny Meyer’s much-lauded Shake Shack in New York? Can the Starr Restaurant Organization make a burger for under $5 that’s actually worth eating? Do Tastykakes belong in a milkshake? What happens if there are crazy lines? On Sunday, as workers were putting the finishing touches on the hut, Grub Street got a sneak peek of the cheeseburger, cooked up personally by consulting chef Shane Cash.
A team of Starr bigwigs - including Bradlee Bartram, VP of development and operations; director of catering operations Simon Powles, culinary director Chris Painter, Cash, who was the opening chef at Starr’s meat palace Butcher & Singer and of course, Starr himself - have been working on the burger components and we have to say, in this case, too many cooks in the kitchen have turned out something special. The details:
Inspiration: the traditional, old-fashioned burger of childhood memories
The Meat: a proprietary 80/20 blend from Indian Ridge Provisions, hand-formed into a four ounce patty and cooked to order on a Vulcan grill
Bun: Martin’s potato roll (!)
Toppings: American cheese, chopped pickle, diced onions, French’s mustard, ketchup
Interesting Anecdote: There was talk of cutting the rolls and burgers square, but that was nixed.
The burger is Pennsylvania-centric - Indian Ridge is in Telford and Martin’s world-famous potato rolls come from Chambersburg - and can be washed down with any number of items, from homemade pink lemonade to a “Cake Shake” made with vanilla ice cream, Tastykake’s butterscotch Krimpets, butterscotch syrup and - hang on to your aortas - half-and-half. Cash says they’ll be topped with fresh whipped cream that is aerated in a canister. All the squirty fun of ReddiWip with none of the questionable flavor.
What happens if the lines become long, like the Shake Shack? Franklin Square manager Mark McCollum, says “We have a plan in place for that. Hopefully, it’ll get that busy.”
For now, the stand is open 11 am - 8 pm and closes for the season on October 31.
SquareBurger, Franklin Square