Burgermaster Saves

A reminder: $14 is too much to pay for a hamburger.

I’m not saying don’t do it—money is an abstraction, value is relative, etc. But as we fetishize the lowliest consumables—organic Cheetos, anyone?—let’s remember that our adult insides are calcified with enough preservatives to grind the gears at the Oberto factory. Organic this and free-range that offer pacification, maybe even flavor, but not salvation.

Salvation comes where you least expect it. Salvation comes from Burgermaster.

At Burgermaster, $8 buys a hamburger, fries and soda delivered to your car. The burger is platonically ideal: never-frozen patty, gooey American cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato, squishy-solid bun. (Related: Brioche buns are blech.) The house topping is “relish,” aka Russian dressing, and the tangy-savory option is sliced pickles and onions with ketchup and mustard. The standard cheeseburger, along with the equally enticing Baconmaster (standard plus bacon) and formidable Burgermelt (double meat and cheese) comes wrapped in silver foil. Idaho potato fries are expertly cooked and respectfully salted—and they come in a festive pink paper cup, possibly sourced from Skate King circa 1987. The ice tea is freshly brewed.

Burgermaster’s 60-year-old drive-in franchain boasts the PC particulars of a small business. There are five locations around the Puget Sound— three family-owned and two independently franchised, including one by the original founders of Kidd Valley. Service is friendly and personal (look for 15-year-veteran Daryl—ponytailed, goateed, Seahawks-tatted—at the Aurora location). Good medical and dental coverage is provided to full-time employees. Hormone- and antibiotic-free beef is locally sourced. The landscaping is outstanding (really).

Look, Costco carries Cristal. Lucky Strike is an upscale bowling alley. Did I mention organic Cheetos? In the Age of Obama, the American lifestyle is not about conspicuous consumption, it’s about curation (a word grossly overused but properly deployed here). When everyone has access to everything, elitism is no longer defined by acquisition but by omission—the stuff you’re too smart, cultured or in-the-know to waste time with, no matter the price. Anyone can choose to pay as much for a cave-aged brie and foie gras burger as for a trip to the oncologist—and they do. Burgermaster’s cheeseburger is worth more.

9820 Aurora Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103

3040 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105

10606 N.E. Northup Way,
Bellevue, WA 98004

See more in the October 2011 issue   →