It seems as though now-a-days the customized burger is what is on everyone’s mind. One walks into a fast casual chain or a sit-down bistro and in addition to a selection of tried and true hamburgers, there is also an option of choosing toppings, buns, sauces and other ingredients to really make the burger unique to you. While some restaurants operate in this manner quite successfully (and I hope to review Burgatory in a formal manner soon for that exact reason), other establishments have been less successful. I can hypothesize on what the reasons are but to really understand why a burger restaurant is either successful or unsuccessful at the customized burger concept, I need to sit down and put the process to the test. This is just what I did with my good friend Tim at Stack’d in Oakland.
Atmosphere: Like any true sports bar, the place was lively and hip with a lot of activity. However, it felt a little more modern with the addition of large flat screen televisions and a sleek, stainless steel interior with simple metal furnishings, very different from a hometown burger joint.
Service: The service was adequate for the venue, nothing so compelling as to warrant a rave review but it definitely got the job done. The most annoying aspect was how long it took the two of us to get our food, as we waited nearly 30 minutes after ordering to receive our entrees. Granted, we did order custom burgers, but the purpose of reviewing Stack’d was to see how the custom burger restaurant “stacked” up to similar eateries in the area and I’m not sure that the concept worked here.
Food: I also thought the food was good but far from exceptional. I had a regular burger with my customized list of add-ons and toppings but it wasn’t anything that impressed me. Tim’s chicken burger was also lackluster, even with the “OMFG” sauce. But, even though there wasn’t anything outstanding about our sandwiches, the orders were nonetheless executed well: my burger was cooked to my specifications, there were plenty of toppings and fries to boot, and I was full by the end of the meal.
Cost: The burger can be pretty cheap if you stick to what’s included with the initial price. However, if you load up on the extras, you may find that a $10 burger and fries turns into a $15-17 meal piled so high you can’t see your friend across the table.
The Verdict: 6.5/10
Translation: Go to Stack’d if you want a decent burger, fries, and a shake with some friends on a weekend night. If you’re in the mood to do anything else, especially if you’re stretched for time, I would head somewhere to a different establishment.
Tim’s Take: For a college town restaurant that serves your basic fast casual fare, you can’t go wrong with a decent burger and fries. It’s a good place for hanging out with your friends or having a casual time with the family, especially since the environment is so lively. The best part is obviously the burgers, but the speed and quality of service, which varies considerably from experience to experience, is not ideal.
Tim is a senior Finance major and Economics minor from Broomall, Pennsylvania.
Stack’d is a local Pittsburgh burger restaurant with locations in Oakland, Shadyside, and another one opening in Wexford in the coming winter. Check out their website here: http://www.stackdpgh.com/