3 stars for Aventura's hip, efficient and inexpensive BurgerFi

BurgerFi is moving faster than a pack of paparazzi chasing a million-dollar smile. The Palm Beach-headquartered chain, established in 2009, will soon have some 50 outlets from coast to coast. BurgerFi takes its cue from Manhattan-based Shake Shack with a pared-down menu focusing on juicy double-patty burgers and a collection of rich “concretes,” custards layered with decadent mix-ins.

Ironically (or conveniently), BurgerFi’s first Miami-Dade location is wedged between a Jenny Craig and a Pilates studio tucked in an Aventura strip mall. Even with the wide glass doors closed, the smells of boiling peanut oil and grilled meat fill the parking lot. Bustling with young families and couples in shorts and tees, the spot is super casual, but the food is upscale for a burger joint.

Ambience: The gleaming setting might be described as eco-conscious industrial. Stainless ceiling fans the size of riverboat paddle wheels help reduce electricity consumption, metal trays that look like jelly-roll panseliminate the need for plates, and chairs and tables are made of  recycled materials.

What Worked

  • Wagyu beef hotdogs that have a lovely snap, and can be topped with neon green relish, brown mustard and hickory-smoked bacon
    Grass-fed Angus beef burgers
  • The off-the-charts Breakfast All Day (B.A.D.) burger with a fried egg, American cheese, bacon, hash browns, maple syrup and griddled sweet onions
  • The chain’s signature branded bun – a sweet, squishy specimen reminiscent of the eaddictive, eggy Hawaiian bread you find in grocery stores
  • The standard cheeseburger – two thin, medium-cooked patties – with the perfect proportions of meat to bread with nice, crisp iceberg lettuce
  • A deep-friend and surprisingly tasty veggie burger made of quinoa, lentils and shredded vegetables on a soft, multi-grain bun topped with oats (meatless, of course, doesn’t mean low-calorie, especially slathered with a tomato-mayo sauce topped with a slab of nicely aged white Cheddar cheese)
  • Delicious, if not quite crisp enough, French fries with a deep amber sheen and skin-on earthiness
  • Golden onion rings are crisp on the outside and softly sweet inside
    Staff that is incredibly on the ball
  • The sexy, Italian-designed, freestyle soda machine, which boasts more than 125 customizable combinations of Coca-Cola products from vanilla ginger ale to peach Mello Yello
    A respectable lineup of wines at silly-cheap prices, from $4 a glass to $19 a bottle
  • Beer selection including bottled and draft craft selections from Dog Fish, Shipyard Applehead and Florida’s own Orange Blossom pilsner.
  • Tantalizing thick shakes and concrete
  • Tangy Key lime pie shake with chunks of graham cracker crust, layered with vanilla custard