Stacked

Stacked opened its doors this week, located inside Fashion Valley Mall, nearby Cheesecake Factory.

Stacked is a chain of restaurants that puts a tech savvy spin on American classics, by allowing people to customize burgers, pizzas, fries, salads, milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches, with a seemingly endless amount of toppings and sauces.  Each table is equipped with an ipad, which allows you to play around with your customization as well as visually see it. When you are done placing your order, you send it on into the kitchen.

Last week, Stacked did a soft opening which was open to the public as long as a reservation was made ahead of time. Unlike previous soft openings I’ve been to where there is limited food options and disorganization, things ran very smoothly here. To top it off, all meals were free. I thought this was a generous gesture, and a great way to get positive buzz out to others.

Once we were seated, a server appeared to help walk us through the process. It was pretty self-explanatory though and soon we were making our choices. One word of advice is that since your order is made as soon as it is sent to the kitchen, it’s best that you place your drinks first and press “Send to Kitchen” before continuing on with the rest of your ordering. If you’re ordering dessert, you should also wait until you are almost done with your meal before you send that off to the kitchen.

If you choose a burger, there is already a bun and patty placed on it. From there you can add your vegetables, sauces, extra patties, etc.  And you can customize the bread as well. One thing I was impressed with was the number of sauce options. I wanted to try them all.

Here is FH’s burger. He got it on a brioche bun, topped with chili, bacon, cheese (there’s several different cheese options),a fried egg,  and I can’t quite remember what else.

Each burger arrives with the top bun placed on the size and a knife for cutting.

Here is my burger. I went a little crazy with the toppings. I got my burger on a pretzel bun, which was a real winner. It was thick, fluffy and tasted like soft pretzels, but less dense and more bready.

I also topped my burger with homemade potato chips, bacon, a fried egg, avocado, red pepper aioli, chipotle mayo, lettuce, sauteed mushrooms.

One of my brothers ordered the sausage. There are quite a few sausage options and they were all really good. The problem with the sausage though is that it is fairly small, and so you can only put four toppings on it. Even then, it’s almost impossible to eat without a fork and knife.

We didn’t have high hopes for the pizza, but it was ordered by another person out of curiosity. Just as I thought, the pizza was just so-so. The fun part was adding the toppings, but the pizza itself was reminiscent of cafeteria style pizza.

One other person in our group ordered a salad. He was intrigued by all the different nuts, fruits, and proteins. He particularly was interested in just how many proteins he could add to one salad. Apparently he could add a lot because his salad looks almost nothing like a salad, but more like meat with a few strips of lettuce mixed in.

For our sides, we chose a small order of fries and sweet potato fries.

The fries were just okay. We got it with red pepper aioli and garlic aioli. We really loved the garlic aoili sauce.

For the sweet potato fries, we got it with sriracha mayonnaise (thanks to a tip from Erin) and the curry ketchup (unlike all most of the other sauces, this one is only available on sides and not on burgers). Both sauces were winners. They were my favorite sauces of the night and I couldn’t stop dipping into them. The sweet potato fries were thick and crispy and far better than the regular fries. Even my brother who hates sweet potato fries liked them better than the regular ones.

FH ordered a milkshake. There is a lot of customization you can do with the milkshake but all he wanted was vanilla milkshake with coconut. He didn’t even ask for whipped cream so the milkshake came out looking a little sad (and almost impossible to photograph. My camera did not like the whiteness of the shake).

I thought the shake was alright. It was a little runny and tasted mainly of a shake mix. It wasn’t a bad milkshake, but after having the ones at Smashburger which uses Haagen Dazs ice cream, I’ve been spoiled.

Finally we split an ice cream sandwich. I loved all the cookie options for the sandwich. We eventually settled with one chocolate chip, one double chocolate chip, and vanilla ice cream.

The cookies were very thin and small. They were your typical cookies made from a mix, and looked very similar to the ones served at McDonalds. I do wish they used a heftier cookie to hold the ice cream.

All our food arrived soon after we ordered and without a glitch. One thing that did frustrate me though is that we weren’t able to see any of the prices since we weren’t being charged that night. I would have liked to have seen the individual prices for all the customization to get a better idea of what the cost will be in the future. I did ask our server, but she couldn’t provide me with any prices. From yelp reviews of other locations and Erin’s review, it appears the burgers will cost between $7-10 depending on the customization.

In the end, we had a fun experience. The food here isn’t going for gourmet or for cooking skills, but it is a fun to customize your food to your heart’s content. Since there are so many options to choose from, I do have a few pieces of advice:

  • Check out the complete menu online before you go to get an idea of what you want. That will save a lot of time when you order or else you may be there quite a long time just deciding what you want.
  • Stick with the burgers. Like I said, this isn’t about gourmet cooking. Burgers are easy to make and it allows you to do the most customization. If you like soft pretzels, get the pretzel roll as your bun.
  • Try out the sauces. They have quite a few and they are very good. My favorites are definitely the sriracha mayo and curry ketchup and these are sauces you won’t usually see on a menu.
  • If you like dessert, it’s fun to customization the milkshakes and the ice cream sandwiches. I would probably order them again, unless the prices are too high.

Stacked (located at Fashion Valley Mall, across from Cheesecake Factory)
7007 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108
suite #356
619-225-7900
www.stacked.com

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18 Responses to “Stacked”

  1. KrisDub — August 26, 2011 at 8:08 am

    My parents just went to the new Stacked at Del Amo Mall in Torrance and appear to have liked it. I’m considering checking it out. It’s a shame they didn’t show you the price points, but oh well.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 11:56 am

      It’s definitely a lot of fun. Not necessarily ranked as one of my best burgers, but it’s a fun place and I love all the customization.

  2. Connie — August 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    The burger looks really tasty, nice choice of toppings! Although I am a bit of a control freak, particular about my food and like the idea of entering my own order into the system myself, I will have to compare this ordering method to ringing up your groceries at the market or purchases at Home Depot. Do you think you would visit again, Jennifer?

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 11:58 am

      Haha, it feels weird reading my name. I think this goes a lot smoother than ringing up your groceries. I would visit again if I’m in the area. In general I don’t like to go to Fashion Valley because it’s always so hard to find parking and all the restaurants are so crowded. I predict this place will be crowded too, but I do want to come back and check it out now that it’s fully opened.

  3. leanne — August 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Ooh… I like being able to order at your own pace, without the pressure of a server standing there! That’s pretty cool. I’m curious how all those toppings add up, price wise, too.

    And, yes, I think Smashburgers shakes have spoiled me, too.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

      I like ordering at your own pace too! When I’m standing at the register, it’s so easy to forget something under pressure. But here, you can choose, switch, change your mind, etc. I changed my mind a couple of times. The only downside is if you have a large group with indecisive people, it can take a long while to get your orders all done.
      Mmm, smashburger shakes! I want to try that pb&j one at the next opening.

  4. DanC — August 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    they had me at iPad :)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

      I liked the ipad too. So many ipads in one place! I kind of wonder what it looks like behind the scenes in the kitchen with all these orders coming through.

  5. Catty Critic — August 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Ooooh, neat. There’s quite a few “customize your burger places” but I like the fact that Stacked incorporated technology in to theirs and also allows for customizing more than just the burger.

    Husband says “They had me at iPad”. :P Boys.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

      It kind of reminded me of The Counter, which is a customize your own burger type deal. But I think there are a lot more choices here and bit better quality. The ipad definitely made it more interesting. Though I do wonder how it will be for people who don’t use much technology, like my parents.

      • Catty Critic replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

        Looks like there’s one near us. I’m sure we’ll be trying it out soon.

        My parents aren’t tech savvy either. They definitely are catering to a younger hipper crowd I think.

        • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

          Oh yeah, I saw that there is one near you and was about to tell you. Yay now you can try it.

  6. Faye — August 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Wow – looks like a fun place to try out. Where is it exactly – more by the PF Changs? Or inside the mall? I couldn’t see their prices online either so I wonder if it’s somewhat affordable.

    The burger on the pretzel roll looks good! I usually add a fried egg to my burger too – not sure why – just seems fun for the gluttony.

    Have a good weekend :)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

      It’s across from Cheesecake factory, next to another new restaurant called Sushi Boat. It’s part of the mall but on the exterior section of the mall so you don’t need to walk inside. If you turn in past Cheesecake Factory to get to the parking garage, you’ll see it from the parking lot. If you read Erin’s review for San Diego magazine, she mentions approximately the costs (between $7-10 for a burger depending on what you have on it) and from reviews I read on yelp of other locations, that was the idea I got also for the price range.

  7. Sandy — August 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    It looks like it’s where Pizzeria Uno was.

    Maybe I can get my husband to try Stacked because of the iPad ordering! The Apple store isn’t too far – wonder if they give the Apple employees a discount for tech support :-)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 26th, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

      I think you are right. Either Stacked or the Sushi restaurant next to it took over Uno’s. It’s been so long since I’ve been to the mall that I can’t remember exactly where Uno’s was, but definitely in that area.

  8. caninecologne — October 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    hi kirbie – i can’t believe i missed this post! i just added the link to my stacked post. i like how your friend ordered so much protein in his salad that it didn’t even look like a salad. next time i go here, my husband, daughter and i will try their shakes as well. there are so many choices here that it can be overwhelming but i do like the concept.

    • Kirbie replied: — October 18th, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

      Thanks CC! My post probably missed your radar because i posted too many things. Thanks for linking to me. This was fun. I’ll have to try it again soon but I’m rarely at Fashion Valley.

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