Restaurant of the Week: Burger Bar

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CLOSED

This week’s restaurant: Burger Bar, 425 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Indian Hill), Claremont

Burger Bar opened recently in the same Old School House building that houses Trader Joe’s and Robeks Juice and the reviews have been mixed. Yelpers give it two stars and the Claremont Insider was even less kind (so what else is new?). The Claremont Courier was more upbeat, as was my colleague Elaine Lehman.

I gave Burger Bar a shot myself recently despite misgivings. Well, I was going to Trader Joe’s anyway.

A single-location place (which explains the slightly cheesy sign), Burger Bar is clean and cheerfully yellow. Your initial reaction may depend on your tolerance for the concept: You pick up an order form and choose the size of your burger, the bun, the spread, the cheese and two condiments, among them grilled peppers, sauteed forest mushroom blend and tossed house spring mix. This may be more “have it your way” than you really want.

A champion waffler who was suddenly confronted with multiple decisions, I eventually got the quarter-pound patty on wheat with pesto mayo, bleu cheese, sauteed onions and the mushroom blend, with sweet potato fries rather than french and a soda ($7.90 as a combo). The tray was delivered to my table.

The toppings proved a good choice, and I can’t say the sandwich was bad. But midway through, sensing the weak link in it all, I lifted the bun to take a squint at the burger. It was a wan, puck-like thing.

It seems as though management focused on the gourmet-ish toppings and forgot the basics. Imagine a grand mansion constructed on a foundation of straw.

The sweet potato fries were a delicious novelty, by the way. But when I’m at home in Claremont, I’m afraid I’m going to continue heading west to La Verne’s The Habit when I want a decent burger. Unless I’m going to Trader Joe’s.

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  • Doug from Chino Hills

    It looks like that sign was creating using comic sans, a font people either love or hate, and mostly hate. Even the Wall Street Journal has weighed in:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123992364819927171.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    [You're a font of knowledge, Doug. -- DA]

  • Dave Serbin

    I, too, live in Claremont and was ready to try the Burger Bar. The first time around, I tried the sliders, the mini hamburgers, and was not impressed. The second time, I was going to try the chicken strips and their hand-dipped onion rings. That combo was pretty good…but now that I read this, I am probably going to bypass the hamburgers. The fries were so-so…I probably would not order the sweet potato fries because I make my own and nobody, but nobody, can make sweet potato fries.

  • http://originalpechanga.blogspot.com Original Pechanga

    Our experience was mixed at best. We tried to find seats, but it’s on a first come-first served basis. Find your own seat, except that there are TWO entries, so even if you were inside first, the other door’s group could get the table you were waiting on.

    They took our order and it was a 30 minute WAIT! For burgers? They “misplaced” our order…

    The burgers were fine. Of course, it could be because we were famished! I’d move on and find a different place…

  • Flyn

    DA: i agree with you! My Burger Bar experience was just so-so. Maybe I had expected more out of it from the name, but I would make the drive to La Verne’s Habit burger over this one.

    There is a place in Seattle called Lunchbox Laboratory that is raved about for having the best Burger Bar around.

  • Bob T

    Hey Flyn, that’s great that Seattle has a killer burger bar but we’re in the I.E.! The closest thing we have to that area is Puddingstone (as opposed to Lake Washington) and ONT shuttles (as opposed to SeaTac’s monorail). Let it go and remember “that’s what a hamburger is all about.”