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Battle of the Burgers

Carrollwood is bursting at the seams with burger joints. Which one do you like the most?

Welcome to burgerland.

Take a look around Carrollwood, and one thing is becoming clear: We love our beef.

In the past year two years, Carrollwood has seen the opening of three establishments boasting "burger" as part of its name, making the community a culinary hotbed for all-American favorites like fresh beef, french fries and double chocolate shakes.

The first was Burger Monger, which opened its doors at 10412 N. Dale Mabry Highway in May of 2010. Then, Burger 21 expanded its reach - there was already one in Westchase - by opening at 11777 N. Dale Mabry Highway in October. Then, a month later, BGR The Burger Joint sprouted a few miles away at 12913 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

These aren't your run-of-the-mill burgers, either.

They boast names like The Wellington and the Tex-Mex Haystack, and come with tasty options like sweet potato fries and onion rings.

With three burger businesses open within a few miles of each other, I decided to look into what each establishment thought about the competition that seems to be sprouting along north Dale Mabry, and how the burgers measure up against each other.

Jake Hickton, general partner at Burger Monger, told me that the freshly-cut fries and beef make his restaurant a go-to for customers.

That and the Häagen-Dazs they use in their malts and shakes.

"We're creating a better hospitality experience than the competition," he said. "But, I respect all of these people. They're good businesses."

Hickton said his main concern is simple: customer service.

"We don't worry about competition as long as much as what to do with guests when they're here," he said.

In a press release about its opening, BGR officials talked about their holiday menu (red tomatoes, green basil and white mozzarella on a beef patty) and unique surroundings that customers can experience when they come inside the restaurant.

"The ambiance at BGR screams rock n'roll," according to the press release. "With vintage rock band memorabilia on the walls, funky mosaic tabletops and classic music videos playing on the large flat screen TV's, BGR is a rocking good time for families and friends."

Finally, Burger 21, which offers chicken burgers and a 12-lb. burger appropriately titled "The OMG," told me that the company is hoping to provide a gourmet burger - but not at a gourmet price.

The owners "differentiated Burger 21 from other concepts with 21 chef-inspired burger creations, hand-dipped signature shakes, premium ingredients, and a comprehensive, varied menu of innovative recipes," according to Alisha dos Santos, communications manager for Front Burner Brands, which also manages GrillSmith and The Melting Pot fondue restaurant.

The burger battle is on.

Happy eating, Carrollwood.

Sylvia Katz December 07, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Been to Burger 21 & Burger Monger. Haven't made it yet to BGR though. Northdale actually has the very best burger (taste & price ) in the entire city. Just step in to Grill 116 at N.Dale Mabry & Northdale Blvd. & for $5.00 you will have a great burger with wonderful fries. So drive North of Carrollwood a bit ..into Northdale Country & really have the best burger in town! Sylvia Katz
Christopher Nank December 07, 2011 at 02:26 PM
My wife and I commented on this very phenomenon just the other day driving up Dale Mabry! (On our way home from Burger 21, which has the edge, in my book.) And don't forget, there's also a Five Guys not too far north of the BGR Joint!
Christopher Nank December 07, 2011 at 02:27 PM
Do you work for Grill 116, Sylvia? . . . :)
Camille C. Spencer December 07, 2011 at 02:35 PM
@sylvia: you're right about that. @christopher: i thought about Five Guys, but I figured I'd focus on the ones with 'burger' in their name.
mike December 07, 2011 at 04:50 PM
On my way to Burger Monger now. So far I haven't been impressed with Burger 21, and have yet to try the new BGR. Burger Monger is Light Years ahead of the rest. And by the way Five Guys is good in its own kinda way but not even in the same ballpark when it comes to burgers.
Sandy December 07, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Hamburgers are a deadly killer - they should be taxed heavily to cover the health cost to society. You should be ashamed promoting this disgusting behavior. Think of the children not just your need to eat a poor animals.
shane mcpherson December 07, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Burger monger plain and simple.....not the food the decision....Go TO THE MONGER AND SEARCH NO LONGER......
Nick H December 08, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Nick H. Burger Monger is the clear front runner in my opinion. I drive over from Orlando for the best burger and fries in Florida. Don't forget the mac 'n cheese and malts, equally as delicious!
Ramon December 08, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Burger Monger hands down, everytime I have gone to BM The service is awesome! I have never had an undercooked burger like at Burger 21 and you have to admire the manager's involvement. I know the manager's at BM by name and can't say the same about any of the others!
Christopher Nank December 08, 2011 at 01:24 PM
What about the shakes at Burger Monger . . . ? B21's shakes are pretty tasty!
mike December 08, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Ramon that was my biggest issue with B21 the burger was so undercooked it was mushy. Christopher, the shakes at monger are top notch. All are made with haagen-daaz ice cream
Jim Jacobs December 08, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Don't know about the three places in Carrollwood. I've had a burger at Grill 116 in Northdale and that was very good. Yesterday, a friend talked me into joining him at Maloney's Irish Pub in Westchase where I was treated to the best Burger that I have ever tasted. Their burgers usually cost between $8 and $10 but on Wednesday your can get any burger on the menu for only $5. I looked up the address which is 9540 West Linebaugh Avenue Tampa, FL 33626. I don't work for Maloney's but am writing this because I think that I found something which is outstanding.
Camille C. Spencer December 08, 2011 at 10:08 PM
@Jim: i've heard good things about Maloney's. i'll have to check it out!
Gavin Cummings December 10, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Burger Monger !! Full stop. We go every Friday and get the best customer service ! Better than any other store, and not just restaurants ! Top quality food and top quality customer service ! Jake makes you feel like a friend !
Christopher Nank December 10, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Nice to have such an embarrassment of riches in the area, burger-wise!
Camille C. Spencer December 12, 2011 at 02:08 PM
@christopher: exactly! lots of choices.
David Hardingham February 20, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Tampa tap room has the best burger I gotten in tampa and you can get onion rings and there so good that I am glad Gollum is not working in there kitchen as all he be saying is my precious to those golden rings
David Hardingham February 20, 2013 at 06:18 PM
I been to the monger and five guys and found them both disapointing
David Hardingham February 20, 2013 at 06:21 PM
By the way Tampa Tap Room has there burgers half price on tue so about 5$ with frys or onion rings so a great deal

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