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.