Venue Review: EO Burgers
BEAVERCREEK — EO Burgers, the newest installment of “upscale” burger joints to stake a claim in the Miami Valley, comes to town with a rather impressive pedigree.
The Greene’s newest restaurant is owned by a relatively small Ann Arbor-based restaurant company, Mainstreet Ventures, which operates 15 other even more upscale eateries— seafood restaurants, steakhouses and Italian restaurants — in Michigan, West Virginia and the Toledo, Ohio, area. And the company’s president, Michael C. Gibbons, just happens to be the elected chairman of the National Restaurant Association.
EO Burgers is the first burger place for Mainstreet, however, so Gibbons and company officials and chefs spent weeks testing various ground-beef blends, sandwich buns, toppings and potatoes to fine-tune the menu offerings prior to opening.
The end result: In some areas, the attention to detail shows — some of the menu items live up to their promise and their pedigree, and are worth the visit. In other areas, EO Burgers — the EO stands for “ExtraOrdinary” — is making some rookie mistakes that may leave you scratching your head.
The signature EO Classic Burger is impressive ($5.99 for 6-ounce portion, $7.99 for 9-ounce). The beef has the proper lean-to-fat ratio to make for a relatively juicy burger. For a dollar more, make it a cheeseburger and choose from among five different kinds — but do try the Oregon Tillmook cheddar. Another dollar gets you applewood smoked bacon. The Classics are a better choice than the seemingly meager, overcooked EO Sliders ($7.99), consisting of three two-ounce patties, or the Gobble Burger, which replaces beef with ground turkey.
The fries ($1.99 for regular, $3.99 for large) are hand-cut from Yukon Gold potatoes, and if the kitchen times the potatoes to come out of the fryer just as your burger is ready, they are crisp and delicious. Try them dusted with Parmesan cheese ($2.29/$4.29) or with herbs ($2.49/$4.49), or go with the half-and-half option of half fries and half crispy onion rings ($2.49/$4.49). The onion rings are also sold separately ($2.99/$4.99), and they’re as addictive as they are delicious.
One other welcome development: within the past 10 days, EO Burgers dropped its prices on several items, including the fries and onion rings, all of which dropped $1 (the new, current price is reflected above), and on some specialty burgers (although not the EO Classic Burger). A Mainstreet Ventures spokeswoman said the price drops resulted from food costs that were “better than we anticipated,” but I wonder whether some customers may have experienced some initial sticker shock. A portabello “burger” dropped the most, from $8.99 to $5.29.
Menu items that disappointed included a Kobe Burger that is so overwhelmed by the blue cheese and grilled onions that come on the specialty sandwich that any qualitative difference afforded by the luxury, upscale beef was obliterated. “Garlic Fries” should be ordered by only the hardest of hard-core garlic lovers: the restaurant sprinkles the fries with chopped fresh garlic, resulting is harsh, tastebud-numbing flavor. Seven different kinds of bottled sauces — hot sauces, mustards, etc. — grace every table, but inexplicably, no salt and pepper shakers.
Four very good house-made dipping sauces — spicy Cholula, Mango, BBQ and Screamin’ Chipotle — are available, and enhance sandwiches as well as fries and onion rings. And the Frozen Hand-Spun Custard Shake is a rich, decadent winner. It too dropped $1 from its initial price, to $3.99.
The restaurant has a full bar, including some fine craft beers on draft, and an extensive wine list, with bottles ranging in price from $15 to $43. The configuration of the restaurant allows employees to remove move glass windows, giving diners sitting inside a hint of al fresco dining, and a patio offers the full experience.
EO Burgers is a bit of a work in progress, but it has enough going for it to merit a visit — or if you tried it during its first few weeks of operation, a revisit.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2258 or mfisher@DaytonDailyNews.com.