Burger restaurants have been popping up like crazy in San Diego this last year. One of the newest burger franchises to enter the San Diego market is Elevation Burger, which opened about three months ago.
As you may have guessed from the name, Elevation Burger’s goal is to “elevate” the burger experience, both through providing high quality ingredients, and also being mindful of the environment. Recently, I was invited to tour and check out the current San Diego location, meet the owner, and sample the menu.
The ground beef patties are 100% organic, coming from grass-fed, free-range cows. The meat is actually ground in the restaurant, and the patties are hand formed, which is immediately apparent once you get your burger. The french fries are fried with olive oil. They have two veggie patty options to lighten your burger meal. And the ice cream shakes are made with real scoops of ice cream (Blue Bunny brand).
First our drinks. Elevation Burger carries coke bottles made with cane sugar. In addition, they always offer one fountain with sugar cane. During our visit, it was the root beer. We had a bottle of coke, root beer with sugar cane, and of course we had to try an ice cream shake.
I was excited to see ice cream shakes on the menu because I think all burger places should offer them and I’m always befuddled when I come across one that doesn’t. For the ice cream shakes, you get to choose 1 or 2 add-ins. The real fruit toppings were a definite plus for me. I originally ordered a vanilla with mangoes. The server taking my order helpfully suggested I add cheese cake powder to it as it is a popular topping and would add some sweetness to the drink. So we ordered it with cheese cake powder and mangoes.
The ice cream shake was on the runny side when presented to us. I think I’ve been spoiled by the super-thick Haagen Dazs Smashburger shakes. I think it would be nicer if the shakes came in a tall ice cream milkshake-type glass for the customers dining in because the paper cups weren’t very visually appealing.
Taste-wise, I enjoyed the shake. I could taste the ice cream and the bits of mango. The cheesecake powder did add a nice sweetness to the mixture. It was one of my favorite things I tried that night and I would definitely order it again.
Once you order at the counter, you find a seat and they bring your order out to you in a metal tray.
FH chose the Elevation Burger, which is made with two burger patties and double the cheese. There’s the standard burger toppings to choose from and you can choose how many or how little you want on your burger to customize it (at no additional cost). Some of the highlights on the toppings selection were deli-style dill pickles and caramelized onions. Both were good.
The burger patties here are a little smaller than your typical patty. FH really enjoyed the hand-formed patties. I found them a tad underseasoned.
I chose the Half the Guilt Burger, which replaces one beef patty with a veggie patty.
I enjoyed this burger more than the Elevation Burger, which was surprising because I usually just like a lot of meat in my burgers. The veggie patty added another dimension to the burger and the contrast between the veggie patty and the beef burger kept this burger interesting and tasty. Here’s a look at the hand-formed beef patty:
We also tried the fries, which are thin-cut and fried in olive oil. The fries didn’t look that pretty and tasted just alright. Some of the “Secret menu” items include making fries extra crispy or ordering “fancy fries” with toppings like cheese. I might try this next time to spice up the taste of the fries.
Elevation Burger also sells fresh baked soft cookies. The cookie recipe was invented by the founder of Elevation Burger, Hans Hass. The owner insisted that we had to try the cookies.
I have to confess, I didn’t really like them. The cookies have a lot of oatmeal and other ingredients and not much dough. They reminded me of no-bake cookies, which I’ve never really cared for either. But these cookies are a popular item, so if you like cookies with lots of oats and nuts, this cookie may be for you.
During our tour, the owner told us because of the free-range, grass-fed, store-ground patties, and other fresh ingredients, that we wouldn’t have the usual heavy sensation after eating one. Usually, after a burger meal my body does feel like I’ve indulged on too much grease, and sometimes have heartburn. I did notice that I didn’t feel that way after this burger meal.
Another thing I noted was that the staff was really friendly and helpful. Not just to me, but to every other customer in the store. They would cheerfully bring the orders to the table, ask if they needed anything else, helpfully answer any questions regarding the menu, etc.
Elevation Burger currently has many locations nationwide and worldwide. While there is only one location in San Diego right now, they plan on opening a second location in the UTC area within the next six months. Also, I learned that in March, they plan on launching a 100% organic bacon product to the menu.
While this wasn’t my best burger meal in San Diego, it is somewhere I’d go to again if I was in the area. If you are looking for a lighter, healthier burger, it’s a good option to check out. My favorite parts of the meal were the ice cream shakes and the Half the Guilt burger.
Please note, our food was complimentary during this invitation, but my opinions are my own.
2641 Gateway Rd
Carlsbad, CA 92009