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Terra Burger – Another Opinion

29 March 2009 873 views 9 Comments

When NYC food blogger James of The Eaten Path visited Austin last week, he checked out Terra Burger on the drag and reviewed it for the Web Site Serious Eats.

20090327-terraburger-friesGuest blogger Double Tonic stirred up a bunch of controversy when she reviewed the organic burger joint last month. I hadn’t yet eaten there but was skeptical about the focus on organics instead of local ingredients — which are better for the environment and for our community economic health. Others had tried Terra Burger and shared their experiences — both positive and negative, in the comments section. One of the partners at Terra Burger shared a well-thought out response as well.

I think it’s time for a first (for me, Ivette, and Mike) and follow up visit (for Laura and maybe Adam and David). James Hunter — Why don’t you join us as well? Who is in for tomorrow at noon?

UPDATE (3/30/09): Say that you heard about their Spring Grand Opening Promos and you can check out the following deals through APRIL 15:

Everyday: $.95 organic regular coffee or .95 Boylan’s fountain drinks
Monday: 1/2 price organic salads
Tuesday after 2 p.m.: $.95 organic sliders
Wednesday after 2 p.m.: $.95 chicken sliders
Thursday after 2 p.m.: free organic fries (with any burger)
Friday: .95 frozen yogurt
Saturday: .95 organic ice cream
Sunday: .95 little kid’s meal (12 & under)

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  • Mason Arnold

    Did you intend to say that local is better for the environment than Organic, in general?

  • Jodi

    I’d rather buy food from a local source that hopefully is organic as well. Just saying that organic doesn’t necessarily mean more humane or better for the environment.

  • Mason Arnold

    Cool. Would love to chat with you about this sometime. I agree that it’s hard to draw a line one way or the other and yet easy for people who have not read up on the issues to latch on to just one without investigating the consequences – like pesticide and chemical use in local agriculture or increased food miles in Organic.

    Mason
    http://www.Greenling.com

  • Jodi

    Met Betsy and @natanyap at Terra Burger today at noon. Laura couldn’t make it as she was held up at work. Here are my thoughts:

    Location: Not ideal. I avoid driving up the drag whenever possible as it’s stop n go when school is in session and parking is a pain. However, they do have a dedicated lot in back.

    Atmosphere: Bright, nice, lots of tables. The wait was not long to order, our food came up quickly, and the staff was extremely friendly.

    Prices: The owner comped our meal but the prices are steep as has been written before — my meal would have been around $10 for burger, fries, and a 9 oz. shake.

    Burger: This burger was well-done and DRY — no red in the meat at all. I was not given a choice about how I would like it cooked (but is that the law in TX?). The bread was too flaky and I didn’t enjoy it. However the bacon and cheddar cheese were delicious.

    Fries: We ordered sweet potato fries and regular fries — all fresh cut and nicely salted with kosher salt. I really enjoyed the regular fries but the sweet potato version was limp — a common issue. The ketchup was ok — I always prefer Heintz to all-natural tomato ketchup.

    Drinks: Applause for the Blue Sky All Organic soda fountain. Natanya said her soda was very tasty. I really enjoyed my small mint chip milk shake made with organic ice cream. At $2, it was pricey for what it was but I appreciate the portion and cost control.

    Packaging and Operations: No cost was spared here and I appreciated the water saving dual flush toilets. They use corn-based compostable material to serve the food and drink but don’t have a trash for all of that material so much of it gets mixed in with the regular landfill variety trash.

    Overall: I don’t think I would go back here unless I was with a friend who wanted to give it a shot. I’d like to try Five Guys and P Terry’s as I have heard both are good.

    For now, when I’m looking for my burger and fry fix, I’m headed to Roaring Fork or Woodland.

  • Anonymous

    Ranch 616 burgers are good too. So are those at Casino if you are in to the whole death metal scene. – Nick

  • Amy

    You need to try Five Guys and Mighty Fine! I give Five Guys a slight upper hand on the burgers and fries, but the shakes at MF are excellent!

  • Anonymous

    Today I joined Jodi for lunch on my first visit to Terra Burgers…unfortunately, it will likely be my last visit. I certainly like the concept of the place – any restaurant that makes any effort to provide organic, natural, sustainable offerings in this “Fast Food Nation” is certainly taking a step in the right direction. Plus, the owner was gracious enough to comp our meal, get our feedback on the food and discuss his efforts to source more local foods. However, even if the owners’ hearts are in the right place, the food itself is, well, lacking heart. My turkey burger was juicy and well-cooked but exceptionally bland (the French’s yellow mustard and too-sweet organic ketchup did nothing to spice it up), the soggy yet undercooked sweet potato fries had no soul and the side salad was watery. If I’m going to get an all-natural burger, I’m opting for Huts, Whole Foods or P.Terry’s. (In my mind, it doesn’t get any better than Hut’s Grass-Fed Texas Beef burger with their homemade hickory sauce and a side of thick, peppery onion rings…)
    -BGB

  • everydayfoodie

    I was the third diner in Jodi’s group this week and agree with both her and Betsy that it was just an okay experience. I thought the interior of the restaurant was just lovely – very bright and welcoming, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer or more efficient. The Blue Sky fountain is brilliant. The rest of the food was okay – not something I’d go out of my way to go back for given that complexity of driving to the location. Were I in the area though I’d make a stop back in. If the restaurant could find a way to balance organic ingredients with a juicer burger that would really put them where they want to be. I’ve reviewed the sliders, fries, and shake I had over on Dishola.

  • Jodi

    Thanks for including your review, Natanya…and for posting on Dishola. That site is pretty awesome. See you soon!