Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Metro Burger is Up and Running

By the time we got back from vacation, the advertised (and previously blogged) Metro Burger was open in Highland Square. Apparently they offered a soft opening over the weekend, and started doing business in earnest Monday. It is, as people noted in comments, a free-standing restaurant owned by the group that owns the Market Street Cafe, a successful sandwich shop in Wallhaven.

Metro serves food for the masses, taken a rung or two up from holes it the wall like Ido's. If they are influenced by a cuisine other than generic burger, it's Southern -- fried dill pickles and sweet potato fries are available as sides. The decor is plain but lively. Walls are painted in bright oranges and yellows. Tables are plain, with plenty of seating indoors and a nice patio buffered from street traffic by the interlacing concrete walls around the main new building.

While the food includes higher-end ingredients, the service is strictly burger. As you walk toward the order window you pass a shelf full of clipboards full of one-page menu/order forms. You can pick from five specialty burgers (including chicken and veggie) or design your own. The child's menu offers but two choices -- grilled cheese or two sliders, both with a choice of fries or homemade tri-color chips.

Like most burger joints with higher aspirations (e.g. the woeful Red Robin), Metro focuses on toppings rather than the meat. When designing your burger you can choose among three buns and eight kinds of cheese. You then get up to four "toppings" with the option of adding extras or going for "premium toppings" for an extra charge. The toppings include the usual fare, and such things as jalepenoes and green onions. Finally you can choose from among fourteen sauces, which really embody the gourmet-ish hopes for the place -- lemon garlic dill aioli, sundried tomato pesto and cucumber wasabi appear alongside the more traditional barbecue and honey mustard.

The patty itself bats about three hundred. Unlike the gray lifeless discs that McDonalds et al have pelted us with for generations, Metro Burgers are nicely seared on the outside. Unfortunately, the burgers are only cooked well done. My one-third pound burger had nary a hint of pink inside. Also, the patties are not seasoned, even on the grill. A burger salted at the table just doesn't compare to one with salt in the meat.

Metro overall seems to suffer from a fear of seasoning. They cook their hand-cut fries to a perfectly golden brown, but again serve them unseasoned, leaving the diner to sprinkle on standard table salt, watch it inevitably fall off and mourn the fry that could have been. The creamy A-1 peppercorn sauce for my burger (served on the side which is a nice touch) had an agreeable, but faint flavor, lacking both salt and acidic bite.

In all, Metro is an asset to the Square. The restaurant serves simple food at a good price, and offers more than the local drive-through. At the same time, the recipes could use a little tweaking.

You can go online to view a pdf of the menu, (link here) though the rest of the site is under construction.

Some friends and I have talked -- but to this point only talked -- about doing some semi-regular restaurant reviews. In hopes that will happen, I open a new label for all things foodie.

14 comments:

Rich in Medina said...

Thanks for the heads up....always looking for local places that could be found on "diners, dives and drive-ins".

Ben said...

Yes, woeful would be a nice way to describe Red Robin

redhorse said...

Ate at Metro last night, or rather, we order there and brought it home.

The clipboard thing? Gimmicky.

The decor? ehh.

The service? Everyone was pleasant, so that's something.

But it took 30 minutes to fill our order, which consisted of two sandwiches and fries.

Oh, and one of those fries was sweet potato - we got regular.

And the burger was supposed to have bbq sauce - it was sans sauce.

I might go back, if there's no one in line and they don't look even remotely busy.

Pho said...

Red:

Thought I saw your truck there as we were leaving. I'd give Metro time to get the staff up and running. I'd also point out to them that they could actually get food out faster if I can order my burger medium rare.

If they have turned you off, it's a problem, you being very much a burger kind of guy and burger kind of guys being somewhat less common in the Square than elsewhere.

Eric said...

Just found your site and I like it. Anyways, I'm not a fan of Metro Burger *yet*. The burger was well done and under seasoned. The toppings were great though. It also took about 20 minutes for me to get one burger with no sides to-go. If I'm grabbing a burger in that area, I'll keep strolling down to Frank's as their burgers are amazing. However, I think Metro might just be suffering from the same problems many food establishments find in the first few weeks. I'll return to Metro Burger next month and make my decision as to whether I like it or not. The Market Street Cafee is good, so I expect Metro to improve. For now, I'm 100% Frank's when it comes to burgers.

Anonymous said...

Metro's concept is really hot right now (think: 5 Guys, Fatburger, etc). I'll definitely try this place out, though I'm skeptical based on what I've read here and the fact that Market St Cafe has gone a bit downhill in the last several months.

Andrew said...

I just got back from Metro, and had a great experience.

The first thing I noticed was that the staff was very friendly and inviting.

I put in my order, and only about 6 or 7 minutes later, my cool "red lobster style" buzzer went off. I got exactly what I ordered, and it was all hot and fresh.

I got the sweet potato fries, and a beef burger on a pretzel roll with sun dried tomato mayo. It was all delicious! I highly recommend the pretzel roll.

My only criticism would be that the burger and fries do need a little salt.

But all in all, I highly recommend this place, and I will be back soon and often!

susie-lou said...

Weird that they almost brag about "corn-fed" cattle. Cows are supposed to eat grass.

Anyone try the beer-cheese anything?

Tig said...

I live in the Square and tried Metro Burger for the first time last night. I enjoyed it very much. I had the veggie burger, and it was quite tasty. It's nice to have another "fast food" type option other than Chipotle within walking distance.
Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I recently visited MetroBURGER. The food was good, but pricey. The smell from what seemed like fryers or the grill was overpowering inside. There was a haze when looking through the dining room. The ordering system overly complicated, although I enjoyed the immense amount of choices for toppings, sauces, etc. I may return if i'm in the area again

Anonymous said...

Tried the new highland square metro burger tonight. Got a chicken sandwich with swiss, let, onion, tomato, honey mustard on the honey wheat bun. It was good but not great. I mean if you mess up a chicken sandwich you suck at life. Im sure ill be a regular as i live within walking distance and it is better than fast food. Hopefully you get a good worker to help you if its your first time there. The girl that helped me tonight was short with me and gave me that your retarded look when i asked "where is the menu/ how do i order?" as i didnt notice the clipboards walking in and their ordering system is atypical. Then i had some questions about the food/sauces and asked her and it was like talking to a wall.. Anyways, all in all its a decent place to eat.. i rate it a B- 7.7/10 and one thumb up. Not a place im going to get hype about tho. My family and friends will never hear the words "oh you have to try..." from my mouth followed by " ... Metro Burger"

Mike in Akron said...

This place, from the website and talk about it, seems like it "Tries Too Hard". I may try it if I'm bored one day, but with all the burger variety in Akron, a new place has to stand out to get added to the rotation for me.

BTW, speaking of new burger places, it looks like the old KFC in Montrose is in the process of being converted to a Five Guys, the Washington, DC-based burger chain.

Five Guys isn't bad - it's up in Strongsville at the mall - but also will have to compete with the Akron-based burger places...it's less than a 5 minute walk from the Montrose Swensons, and a 5 minute drive from the SkyWay!

I don't get burgers from there, but Sonic is opening up its first area location in Streetsboro on September 15th.

Jillian said...

I LOVE METRO BURGER! THE SWEET POTATOE FRIES AND THE VEGGIE BURGER IS GREAT!! DEFINITLY WILL GO BACK!!

photobyjab said...

I keep giving them business, despite the fact that they've screwed up my last 3 carry-out orders. (Plain fries instead of sweet potato twice, and last time I checked for the fires but then they left a majority of special toppings off one of our burgers.)

They really need to rethink the carry-out experience. You pay at the register, assuming its even being manned, and then linger around the pickup window, trying to get the attention of one of the cooks. My order is always sitting up on a shelf, getting cold, but it takes 5-20 minutes for the morons to figure out that I'm here, I've paid for my meal and I want to get it and leave. Would be great if they could streamline that, maybe handing you your carry-out when you pay for it, just like any other restaurant.