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