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Of Steamers, Smashers and a Double-Decker

Three New Uptown Burger Joints Coming Soon

The Uptown burger bonanza continues to rage, with no less than three new spots getting ready to open this year. Juicy D’s on Oak Street, a Smashburger franchise on Magazine Street near Louisiana, and the two-story Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar at Magazine and Jackson are offering new takes on one of America's timeless foods in hopes of standing out from an increasingly crowded field.


On Oak Street, Juicy D’s makes three. Down the street from Cowbell and practically right next door to Tru Burger, Juicy D’s will open soon in the old Whitney Bank building at the corner of Oak and Carrollton. When NoDef stopped by Juicy D’s last weekend, a sign on the door announced that they would open in two weeks. We caught up with owner Dee Jaber to talk about how they stand out amongst other beefy competitors.



“This is a totally new concept all the way around. No one else offers a USDA Certified Organic Burger. Even all the cheeses are certified organic. We offer 7,8 different types of buns, 7/8 different kinds of cheese,” Jaber said.



The owner was also proud to announce that there’s “nothing greasy involved in any of these burgers.” In fact, Jaber includes an option in the menu for customers to turn any burger into a salad. In lieu of fries, Juicy D’s will serve baked potatoes.



Eschewing both the griddle and the grill, Juicy D’s will steam their 100% organic patties. Jaber told us about how they create healthy patties.



“We have custom-made steam machines. They’re actually patented for us," he said. "The steam actually steams the fat out of the burger and leaves the juices in the burger.”



A peek through one of their big plate glass windows reveals a casual dining room with stainless steel high top tables, seven flat screen TVs, and a long counter well-suited to assembly line orders. Juicy D’s boasts over fifty options for customers to customize their burger experience, and a menu board above the counter hints at some of those choices. Diners can pick from a variety of meats, breads, cheeses, and toppings, including non-traditional options like bison, lamb, and chicken burgers served up on focaccia, ciabatta, and brioche buns. In addition to burgers, Juicy D’s will also have loaded potatoes and gourmet salads. Jaber is planning to open this week.



Over on Magazine Street, the opening dates of Smashburger and Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar are less definitive, but there's clearly progress being made. Smashburger, a national chain with over 400 locations, will open at 3300 Magazine Street, next door to American Apparel. According to their Twitter feed, they started hiring earlier this month, soliciting “fun, energetic, and hardworking associates.”



The standard Smashburger menu includes choices like the “All American,” “Spicy Baja,” and “Avocado Club” burgers, along with plenty of build-your-own-burger options. As for their titular cooking technique, the Smashburger website claims that “Smashing caramelizes the beef, creating a sear that locks in the juices as no other cooking method can.”   



Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar will open in the newly constructed two-story building at Magazine and Jackson, just across the street from Stein’s Deli. Perhaps the most ambitious of the city’s new burger joints, Charcoal’s plans to open up counter-service on the first floor for customers on the go, but upstairs there will be a more traditional bar-and-grill for those wanting to linger. The Lower Garden District spot's sign is up, but an opening date remains unclear.



While this time last year folks rumbled about Tru Burger and the Company Burger going head-to-head, the proprietors of both spots shrugged off the idea of competition. Chef Aaron Burgau of Tru Burger and Chef Adam Biderman of the Company Burger both believed that this town was big enough for the two of them, and that idea seems to have panned out. By offering high-quality burgers with a fine-dining attention to detail, both restaurants have loyal customers and seem to do be doing brisk business. Now, as more burger joints crowd the landscape, the question remains if New Orleans diners are hungry enough for burgers to support a stampede of new restaurants, or if increased competition will result in a thinning of the herd.    

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