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Burger’s the word 

With Ace, Cheese Curds, Flip and Relish sizzling in four corners of the city, it’s safe to say 2012 was the year of the gourmet burger.

click to enlarge Here's the beef. - SCOTT BLACKBURN

"No matter what part of the city you live in, now you have a chance to eat a better burger," says Chris Tzaneteas, co-owner of Flipburger.

The Clayton Park restaurant is one of the four players in this year's great gourmet burger rush, along with Agricola Street's Gus' Pub-based Ace Burger Company, Quinpool Road's chain gang Relish and Dartmouth's Cheese Curds, which has lines so long it could qualify as its own neighbourhood.

"People are looking for something better: they're tired of mass produced food and I think that's where the trend comes from," says Tzaneteas. "I think we'll see that in other aspects of quick market stuff---people want something fast, but they want real food made with real ingredients."

Tzaneteas, also a co-owner of G Lounge, the Argyle Bar & Grill and Ela! Greek Taverna, knows something about popular restaurants. Flip is going through around 800 pounds of Oulton's ground beef a week, selling between 300 and 400 burgers a day. It's going so well that there will likely be another location in downtown Halifax as early as next year with the same successful formula.

Relish Gourmet Burgers is, itself, indicative of the growing national burger trend, a franchise spun off of a successful New Brunswick venture.

Ace Burger and Cheese Curds both adhere to the same "buy local" ethos as Flip. Tzaneteas thinks that this is integral to the success of these new ventures. And, he says, the ongoing locavore trend will bring us all kinds of new places.

"It could be a new sandwich shop where everything is slow cooked, made in-house, as opposed to some of the sandwich shops with processed meat. I think that's a trend that will continue.

"I don't want to give away other things I'm thinking about, but even the pubs in town--- and we've got all kinds of pubs---nobody's taken it up to that next level. The bottom line is that the restaurateur will react to the consumer looking for something better. The days of people paying a lot of money are over: they want the good food and they want it at a half decent price." —MB


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