Could it be true that getting older means not wanting to eat burgers delivered through your car window?
I thought about that last week as we sat down, menus in hand, at Zinburger at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise. Because Zinburger is a burger restaurant for grownups, a place where burgers are served on real plates instead of waxed paper. A place where you order from a waiter instead of someone standing behind a counter at a cash register.
There are now burger restaurants on every corner. Burgermakers compete at bashes and brawls. We've elevated the patty, the bun and the toppings, but we're still serving burgers as if it's 1970.
That's why Zinburger — open for 13 months in Sunrise and three months in Boca — is such a welcome addition. How nice to not have to fight for condiments and soda after pushing through the crowds at Sawgrass or Boca Town Center. The Sunrise restaurant is brightly decorated with exposed ductwork painted white. Guests sit at tables, booths or the nice big bar that lives up to its wine bar name. Zinburger even has cloth napkins.
The menu starts with salads, from a chopped wedge ($5.25, small / $8.25, large) to Chinese chicken ($12.25) with won ton chips and Asian vinaigrettes. We split an incredible Kale Caesar ($5.25, small / $8.25, large), with herb bread crumbs, Pecorino cheese and garlicky Caesar dressing. Our waitress even had the kitchen divide the salad onto two small plates for the two of us.
From salads, the menu goes into sides. Our hand-cut fries ($5) tasted fine, but they were cold. Next time, I'll upgrade them to loaded fries ($7) with applewood smoked bacon, cheese sauce, sour cream and chives or spicy green chili fries ($7) with green chili cheese sauce, roasted jalapeno, chipotle sauce and Cojita cheese. House-made onion rings ($6) were not only hot but served with a side of barbecue sauce. Zinburger sides also include zucchini fries ($6), sweet potato fries ($5), macaroni and cheese ($5) and coleslaw ($3).
Angus beef burgers are the main attraction. Each patty weighs in at 7 1/2 ounces. The core burger, the Zinburger ($10.25), is topped with Manchego cheese, Zinfandel-braised onions, lettuce and mayo. Any beef burger can be upgraded to American-style Kobe beef for an additional $5. We did just that with one burger, and I believe the Kobe was ever so slightly more tender than the regular.
Guests can, of course, build their burger with toppings — I counted 24 — of their choice, but the menu creations cover good ground. El Diablo ($15.25), for instance, is topped with roasted jalapenos, pepper Jack cheese, braised onions, lettuce and chipotle mayo. Breakfast burger ($12.25) gets a fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, American cheese, lettuce and mayo.
The Double ($10.25) features two 3.5-ounce patties, double American cheese, minced onion, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. It's a winner.
All the burgers are served on an exceptional shiny brioche bun that's thick enough to stand up to meat and condiments until the very last bite.
Among the nonbeef burgers is an exceptional turkey sloppy Joe ($9.25) with ground turkey, roasted poblanos, pepper Jack cheese and mayo. There are a lot of Southwest flavors on the menu, which might come naturally to a small chain that got its start in Arizona. The Briad Group has the rights to Zinburger in all 23 states east of the Mississippi and now has 10 locations.
Zinburger also serves a veggie burger ($9.25), seared ahi tuna sandwich ($15.25), turkey burger ($10.25) and a Buffalo chicken sandwich ($10.25).
I can also recommend the milkshakes. Double chocolate ($6) is made with chocolate ice cream, Ghirardelli chocolate and fresh whipped cream. As with the kale salad, our waitress divided it into two glasses before delivery. There's lots of employee teamwork at Zinburger of the sort you don't see in more expensive restaurants. Among the more original shake flavors are strawberry cheesecake, salted caramel and banana royale. For $1 more, you can turn your shake into a malt.
Perhaps the most grownup thing about Zinburger is its full bar. There's also lots of craft beer, including a local offering. It was Funky Buddha's Floridian ($7) the other night. There are also more than 20 wines available by the glass or bottle. On Wednesdays, bottles of wine are half price.
I will drink a Butterfinger milkshake to that.
Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar
1800 Sawgrass Mills Circle, The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, 954-846-9360; 6000 Glades Road, The Town Center at Boca Raton, 561-393-3252; ZinburgerEast.com
Cuisine: Burgers and shakes
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Reservations: Not accepted
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Full service
Sound level: Moderate
Outside smoking: In Sunrise, but not Boca
For kids: High chairs, boosters, menu
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: Free lots; $7 weekday valet and $10 weekends in Sunrise; $6 valet in Boca