The story: Former line cooks Greg Eng and Jason Low opened their own burger joint in 2010 called TrueBurger, focused on simple beef patties made from pasture-raised, hormone-free beef. Their Grand Avenue restaurant became popular with the lunch crowd, and earlier this year they opened a larger, second location on Broadway.
Why I went: The new store is just a few blocks down the street from my apartment, joining several new eateries in the hood like Clove and Hoof, Underwood Cafe (it’s right next door), and the Blue Bottle Cafe. I work near the original Grand Avenue location so I’ve eaten their burgers for lunch quite a few times. The Broadway location now makes it convenient for me to get my burger fix on the weekends.
The vibe: Eng and Low continue their hip urban vibe with the chalkboard Oakland sketch mural, similar to the mural in the original spot. But the large space with polished wood has a grown-up, sophisticated feel. It’s like Eng and Low has one word on their minds — “franchise.”
The menu: Along with the new space, TrueBurger has revamped its menu. The menu is focused on the burgers (from cheesy to double patties to fried mushroom), and they no longer bother with extras such as the sausages, salads, and chili. Instead, they’ve added a few new side items like a spicy cole slaw and home-made pickle.
The shakes: The menu retains the milk shakes made from vanilla or chocolate ice cream and flavored with various mixes. I like to get the Orange Cream because it reminds me of a Creamsicle or Orange Julius that I used to drink growing up.
My favorite dish: There’s not a lot of items to single out a favorite dish, but I always end up ordering the same thing, which is the straight-forward TrueBurger ($5.50), which is a quarter-pound burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions (I get it without the onions). It’s always cooked to the right medium temperature.
Insider tip: There are several additional toppings you can get for your burgers, such as bacon or grilled onions, but I simply go straight to the condiment counter where I load up on the free pickles, sauerkraut and ketchup. You can really design your own burger with the fresh condiments they provide.
The last bite: The burgers might be slightly smaller than Shake Shack or In-N-Out, but TrueBurger makes fresh, quality burgers that hits the spot when all you want are a burger and a shake.
The rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: TrueBurger, 4101 Broadway, Oakland. PH: 510.883.8808. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. Closed Mondays. No reservations. trueburgeroakland.com
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