| Burgers |

BurgerFi: Saving the Environment One Bad Dish at a Time

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I love that the Market Street and Woodlands Waterway areas are growing with new shops and restaurants, so I had to check out the new burger joint next door to Hubbell & Hudson. BurgerFi is a chain burger restaurant based in Florida that just opened its first Texas location in The Woodlands.

Since it's known for its all-natural burgers and all-natural, earth-friendly decor, one would think that this good-for-the-environment place would offer delicious, fresh, juicy burgers and sides, but that was definitely not the case. I guess I set my expectations too high for this new hand-crafted burger restaurant.

Once you walk inside, you're overwhelmed with BurgerFi's interpretation of "natural" decor, and by that I mean everything is basically made from recycled products, like chairs made from Coke bottles, tables made with recycled wood, and huge fans that run on reduced electricity. It kind of feels like you have walked into a restaurant from the future, one that probably belongs in Tomorrowland at Disney World.

Oh yeah, and you're greeted by every employee in the restaurant yelling, "Welcome to BurgerFi!" It's nice, but it gets obnoxious when you're trying to order something and have to repeat it five times before the cashier hears what you have to say.

From the looks of the menu, BurgerFi seems to have the right idea when it comes to burgers, fries, hot dogs and shakes. Choose from a list of All-Natural Burgers, like the BurgerFi Cheeseburger with BurgerFi sauce (no description of what that is, but I assume it's a mayonnaise-dressing concoction); a B.A.D. (Breakfast All Day) Burger complete with Angus beef, American cheese, bacon with a maple syrup glaze, fried egg, hash browns, grilled diced onions and ketchup; or a VegeFi Burger made with quinoa.

You can also make your own burger with whatever toppings and sauces you want. BurgerFi also serves hot dogs with toppings ranging from mustard and kraut to chili and bacon.

All these hot dogs and burgers sounded great, but the part of the menu that caught my eye was the secret menu. If it's so secret, then why is it on the menu? Sure, it's not on the main menu board, but it's in the little pamphlets in front of the register. I just don't get it.

Most of the items on this not-so-secret secret menu give you the option to get different toppings on your burger, like grilled mushrooms, or have two veggie burgers on a potato bun rather than one patty on a multigrain bun. You can also personalize your fries; this option intrigued me the most because I love crispy fries whose crunch you can hear when you take a bite, so I decided to order my fries well done.

BurgerFi does serve certain beers, and glasses or bottles of wine, depending on availability, so that's a perk with a casual fast-food burger restaurant. You also don't have to stick to just one type of soda; BurgerFi has a Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine where you can create your own flavor of soda. Sounds like a science experiment that could quickly go wrong.

Once the buzzer went off and our food was served, I was disappointed with the presentation. The burgers were cute with the "BurgerFi" stamp on the bun, but other than that, they just looked kind of gross; you don't get any plates with your burgers and the piece of plastic paper wrapped around the greasy burger isn't strong enough to hold it in place, causing you to make a mess.

I ordered two burgers two different ways: one BurgerFi Burger on a regular bun and one VegeFi Burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. While the regular burger looked better than the veggie, it certainly didn't have the juiciness and flavor you're looking for in a burger; in fact, it was quite dry. My mom constantly had to dip each bite in mayonnaise just to combat the overcooked meat, which she asked to be cooked medium, not well done.

And the burger wasn't the only thing overcooked. Apparently "Fries Well Done" on the secret menu is code for Burn My Fries. I was expecting crispy fries coated with salt, but BurgerFi has totally missed the mark. The majority of them were limp in the middle and burned on the ends. I did find one super crispy fry, though; other than that, they were a huge disappointment.

The Chicken Apple Dog sounded quite tasty when I ordered it; in fact, the cashier said it was her favorite, and when we asked what toppings to put on it, she said it was great just as it was. Wrong. It's just a sweet hot dog...nothing special. For a specialty hot dog, you would think there would be a signature topping.

I will give BurgerFi credit for making a flavorful veggie burger, though. Aside from the presentation, the quinoa burger was sweet, salty and balanced well with the melted white cheddar cheese. It's not the best-tasting veggie burger I've ever had, but it was much better than the regular one.

All in all, if you're looking for a place to take your kids for burgers, fries and shakes and to get yourselves a glass of wine or beer, BurgerFi is, well, just kind of mediocre.But I suggest going through the McDonald's drive-through and buying your own beer and wine; it's cheaper and probably a lot tastier.

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