One morning last week, a commercial played on the radio for the grand opening of Bobby’s Burger Palace in MarketFair. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who started the casual burger chain, would be on hand that afternoon to greet the first customers. A friend, who shall remain nameless, asked a fair question: “Who gets this excited about a new burger joint?”
Fast forward to around 7 p.m., when the same friend is back in the car with me. No “hello,” no “how was your day,” just “Bobby’s Burgers? Bobby’s Burgers? Bobby’s Burgers?”
So much for the dinner I would have made. We went over to MarketFair, where the new restaurant is hard to miss opposite the former food court with its giant orange and green sign. Despite telling ourselves that we would leave if the line was too long, we happily waited for 25 minutes to place our order.
As it turns out, there was a method to the madness of one cashier taking the orders of the 50 or so people in line. Once you order, you take a seat and a server brings your burgers over. If there’s nowhere to sit, your burger might not be at its freshest by the time you’re able to eat it.
The other benefit of the long line, of course, was having ample time to peruse the menu. All of the burgers ($6.75-$7.75), named after cities or regions, are cooked to order with beef, turkey, or chicken breast, and any burger can be “crunchified” with a layer of potato chips. Bobby’s other specialty is milkshakes ($5), with or without whipped cream, which range from the mundane — chocolate and vanilla — to exotic flavors such as blueberry/pomegranate and mango.
We ordered a Philadelphia burger (provolone, onions, and hot peppers) and a Cheyenne burger (smoked cheddar, BBQ sauce, bacon, and shoestring onion rings), along with sides ($3) of sweet potato fries (delicious) and beer-battered onion rings (enormous).
We took a seat at the main table, which literally zigzags through the restaurant with seats on one side, giving diners a view into the kitchen and servers easy access to the napkins, silverware, and condiments stored beneath the table and an unobstructed path from the kitchen. For those who would rather face their dining companions than the kitchen, there are long, rectangular, family-style tables at the far end of the restaurant.
The wait for our food was only about 10 minutes. We dug in, but not without first taking our pick of their specialty sauces, which are also for sale by the jar. I went for the chipotle ketchup, my friend for the jalapeno hot sauce. Very good, and very filling.
Bobby Flay says he was inspired to start a burger restaurant because a burger is his go-to comfort food. He has a point. When you’re tired and hungry at the end of a long day, these burgers absolutely hit the spot.
Bobby’s Burger Palace, 3535 Route 1 South at MarketFair Mall. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. www.bobbysburgerpalace.com or 609-919-0182.