First Look at Elevation Burger, Finally

Categories: Burger Break

Elevation Burger.JPG
Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Elevation Burger(s).
This past May I drove past 3819 Kirby (the former location of Mai Thai) and noticed that the new tenant, Elevation Burger, was finally setting up shop.

Ever the intrepid reporter, I pulled over, waded through the dusty half-remodeled dining room and asked the site manager when the restaurant would be opening. A stupid idea in hindsight considering I was not wearing a hard hat or closed-toe shoes.

"Coupla weeks!" he said cheerfully.

Elevation Burger 2.JPG
Photo by Joanna O'Leary.
Six more (double) burgers and I get one free!
Fast-forward to August 2012 and Elevation Burger had yet to open its doors. Oh well. It's not like it's hard to find a decent burger in this city. I wondered, though, if the fat cats at Elevation Burger corporate were second-guessing their decision to open a Kirby location, especially with Becks Prime just up the block.

But they apparently decided to finally brave the intense burger competition in H-town, so a few days ago I finally got to try an Elevation Burger. Although I have to snort at the restaurant's slogan ("Ingredients Matter" -- shouldn't they always, so is that something to brag about?), I was intrigued by their commitment to serving 100 percent organic, grass-fed, free-range, ground-on-premises, [insert additional politically correct hyphenated adjective here] beef. I also wondered how the standard Elevation Burger (actually two patties) would taste at just over 500 calories. (Well, maybe more like 800 since I added cheese, Elevation sauce and caramelized onions.)

The short answer: Not the worst. Although they rejected my request to cook the patties medium-rare ("We cook all the meat all the way through," said the attendant), the meat was fairly moist and juicy. While I didn't actually see them hand-form my burger, its imperfect shape and slightly crumbly texture certainly suggested it was not the product of a machine. Missing was that greasy (and oh-so-enjoyable) sheen common to most burgers, perhaps a result of Elevation using 100 percent olive oil instead of butter or lard for grilling. Other virtues of the burger included the fresh, eggy bun and wonderful caramelized onions. The "tomato based" Elevation Sauce, however, was barely perceptible in terms of serving size and flavor. An extra tablespoon and some spice might have done wonders.

My Elevation Burger cost me just under $7, reasonable for high-quality and well-sourced ingredients. And perhaps the best thing was what I didn't get for this price, namely, that loathsome, brick-in-the-belly feeling I get after eating more old-school (re: fatty) double burgers. I saved that experience for Turkey Day.

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Location Info

Elevation Burger

3819 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

If ever there were a restaurant that could benefit from the "write your order on the bag" concept like Which-wich or Bullritos uses, it would be Elevation Burger.  The myriad of options for your burger are excellent and delicious but communicating your desires to the one person behind the counter makes for a rather long wait.  And while on that subject,  at what point is the line considered long enough to open the mysterious "second register"?

Our visit was a Sunday evening [not exactly peak hours] and the only aspect of our visit that really left an impression on us was the level of disorganization clearly visible by any customer standing at the counter.  I realize it's a new business, but it would seem like getting everyone up to speed on how the entire process works would be priority #1.

There was only one person taking orders and every time an existing customer had a question or problem with their order, they would have to interrupt the person taking orders...thus delaying the process even worse.  And the questions/requests were non-stop.  Is there anymore ice?  Are there anymore napkins?  Where's the shake I ordered 15 minutes ago?  

So looking past the "growing pains" [which there really shouldn't be any of considering that this is a nationwide chain that most certainly has training in place for new stores], the burger was pretty good.  It is a bit "crumbly" like others have stated, but the overall flavor was excellent.  The condiments were definitely fresh.  The fries on the other hand, were very soggy.  I realize this is a personal preference, but I prefer mine crispy.

Both myself and my companion definitely enjoyed the burgers, but we did find ourselves questioning if Houston really needs another burger place with terrible parking.  Having said that, due to the small amount of space Elevation Burger takes up, it should at least be profitable...which will keep it in business.  Try it for yourself and's only a burger and fries.

del.martinis topcommenter

I'm going after trying Bernie's Bus burgers first!

texmex01 topcommenter

This place is on my to try list....


I've tried this place once and the burgers are comparable to those you'd get at Better Burger in NYC. Or Jerry Built here. Which is to say, you can feel good about the care that goes into the ingredients, but the result just doesn't have much of a "wow" factor. My burger at Elevation did have a strong umami flavor, but the fries cooked in olive oil weren't distinctive.

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