Independent Burger – El Paso, Texas
Independent Burger – El Paso, TexasOct 28
Let me begin by confessing that I may or may not have eaten at Independent Burger three times in the last week. Yet whether it is a case of indecision or my subconscious wanting to return for more “testing,” I honestly have not quite made up my mind about the new establishment. Indy Burg, as I now affectionately call it, opened in early October at The Venue at Montecillo on North Mesa by members of the same ownership teams that brought El Paso Crave, The Garden and 1914. In keeping with the “Smart Growth” development theme of the Montecillo community, Independent Burger serves grass-fed beef ground daily in-house, hormone-, antibiotic- and cage-free poultry, bread baked daily from the local Belle Sucre Bakery, vegetables from nearby Deming, New Mexico and made-from-scratch ice creams.
The ambient 3,500 square foot space has a trendy yet vintage, unfussy yet upscale Americana theme that helps Indy Burg achieve both the dining destination as well as nightlife hangout environment. Perplexing, however, is the ordering/seating process during which diners must wait in line at a counter in the foyer of the restaurant, place their order, wait to be seated, and then wait for their food to be delivered to their table. While on paper this “boutique fast-food” style system may seem original and works fairly well during a sparse weekday meal, it means chaos during the busy weekend. On a Friday night we waited over 45 minutes in the chilly foyer to place our order, another 10-15 minutes to be seated, and then almost 30 more for our food that only arrived once we chased down a seemingly lost waitress searching for our order number sign among the sea of anxious diners. While frustrating, hopefully these delays will simply be worked out over time as the establishment gains experience.
After the initial distaste from the lengthy wait, IB redeemed itself with its thoroughly pleasing food and atmosphere (thus my multiple visits in one week). The burgers, while on the petite side, literally melt in your mouth and are only elevated by the soft, freshly baked bread and variety of expertly paired topping combinations. My favorites include the Iberica Burger with smoked tomatoes, crispy Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, quince, and Indy sauce ($14) and B+B Burger with caramelized onions, Maytag blue cheese, maple glazed slab bacon and smokey mayo ($13.5). For non-meat fans, substitute the beef patty for turkey, chicken, salmon, or a quinoa and black bean patty, and try the Quinoa Tabouli Salad ($9) or Brussel Sprouts ($3) as an appetizer or side. While seemingly pricey, you are paying for the fresh, locally sourced, high quality ingredients that set IB apart from competitors, so give it a try. We’ve had a few hiccups with our orders (twice the Serrano ham was forgotten on the Iberica and twice the Quinoa Salad came doused in aioli instead of the advertised vinaigrette), but I remain hopeful that IB will continue to improve with time.
Finish off your meal with a homemade ice cream sandwich ($5) like the Chocolate on Chocolate or smoky Waffle, Maple, Bacon and a refill from the mix-it-yourself soda bar or a delicious signature cocktail or boozy “Adult Milkshake.” Despite some initial complications, I am certain I will continue to frequent Indy Burg often, but will likely avoid busy weekend nights even though the Friday Night 1/2 Off Drinks/Drafts Happy Hour from 4-8 PM is so tempting!
5001 North Mesa Street
El Paso, Texas