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'Bareburger' organic burgers opens in Ridgefield

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A new branch of the Bareburger organic burger chain opened in Ridgefield late last month on Route 35 in the former location of the Army Navy store. Judging by the crowding, this is already a wildly popular destination, with a 20 minute wait for a table at 6:30 on a rainy Tuesday evening. We ended up eating at the bar, which may have reduced the atmospheric experience, but we got a chance to sample their food.

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Bareburger’s awning advertises itself as serving “organic burgers, salads, shakes, beer and wine.” And that it does, without any of the snobby pretense of many organic restaurants: the food we had was very good. Central to their conceit is the fact that they are serving grass-fed beef (and milk for that matter), and their burgers are indeed quite tasty. And to underscore the point, the wait staff’s T-shirts have pictures of cows and the cute slogan “I (heart) Grass.”

The menu is made up of salads, burgers, sides, sandwiches, shakes and desserts. You can get some 15 styles of burgers, some most suitable for beef patties and some for their other offerings which include turkey, panko chicken tenders, fried chicken, grilled chicken, jerk chicken, black bean patty, quinoa veggie patty, portabella mushroom, lamb, wild boar, elk, bison and ostrich.

We ordered their Original Burger ($9.95) with a Cobb Salad ($7.95), a platter of onion rings and sweet potato fries($8.95) and a beer. There are 7 beers on tap, in 20 oz, 35 oz and 60 oz (intervention) sizes. The larger two sizes are served in pitchers, but are probably too much for a single diner.

We were seated at the bar right across from the cash register, but this didn’t keep the bartender from forgetting to bring our beer. Another bartender asked if we wanted water, but when we said we were waiting for our beer he brought one immediately.

The wait for these simple meals seems excessive: in this case more than 20 minutes. At one point, the bartender asked if we wanted crayons and some paper (to pass the time). We weren’t sure whether this was a joke or not.

The burger and salad arrive simultaneously: the concept of serving by courses is apparently not part of the Bareburger style. The Cobb salad was fine, but we would like to have enjoyed it without our burger getting cold. The burger was served on a brioche bun (you can also get multigrain, lettuce, flour wrap and tapioca rice bun) and was juicy and tasty, but seemed rather small: they start with 6 oz patties.

The fries and rings never arrived at all. This seemed to be some sort of data entry error as they appeared as a “modifier” for the burger rather than as a separate item. This could explain why we were charged $15.70 instead of $9.95.

Our bill with one $7.00 beer with tax but before tip was $32.60.

As you know, there is no evidence that organic food is more flavorful or nutritious, and 99% of insecticides found on crops are generated by the plants themselves as defense mechanisms, so Bareburger being an organic restaurant doesn’t particularly impress us. Nonetheless the grass-fed beef, no matter what farming style was used, is very flavorful and juicy as they prepare it.

We note that their fried foods are prepared in “non-GMO canola oil,” another bit of organic pretense, since there is no genetic material in canola oil in any case, just fatty acids.

Bareburger is a nice place to visit, once they figure out how to improve their service a bit. The young enthusiastic employees work very hard, though and it is bound to improve. You will probably have to wait for a table, though, unless you come very early or late. On that Tuesday, it looked as if it was clearing out a bit by 7:30 pm.

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