Everest Burger: Still at Base Camp

There’s a reason that burgers are so popular. It’s not because they are particularly good for you, although that would certainly be a plus.

They satisfy our need for comfort food. And yet wouldn’t it be nice to eat a burger and fries and not feel guilty? Or at least less so?

So when Mark and Margarita Challenger announced the opening of Glencoe’s Everest Burger (just a few doors north of their popular Mexican restaurant, Guanajuato, I was excited to hear about their humanely-raised, locally-sourced, organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free burgers, not to mention the organic fries and freshly baked buns, cookies and other pastries. Everest Burger has a good idea; the problem is in the execution.

Dragging along the ultimate burger connoisseurs—three ETHS seniors—and walking in past the monolithic stone wall at the front of the restaurant, we were impressed by the menu board and the North Face feel of the place. You order at the counter, and then find a seat in the light and airy dining area.

There are many burger options. You have your choice of 4-ounce beef, turkey, black bean, chicken, portobello mushroom, walnut or wild salmon burgers in any of ten combinations. The pricing is wonky from the start. I don’t mind paying a little extra for organic, etc., but $13.50 for a plain salmon burger? That seems excessive.

We did the signature Everest Burger with beef ($7); piled high with lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado and bleu cheese, it made for a weird taste combo. The BLT Burger with turkey ($9) was our favorite. The smoky turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion are classic flavors that meshed well with the turkey burger.

The chicken burger (with Texas BBQ sauce) had an off-putting, rubbery texture; the afore-mentioned salmon burger (with Chimichurri seasonings and feta cheese, $15.50!) was fine, but not for that price.

If you’re getting a beef burger, opt for the “big and juicy”, which adds $2.50 to your bill. The other burgers don’t have that option, and here’s the major problem: the delicious homemade buns are too big and sturdy for such skinny burgers. The ratio of bun to meat is way off.

Here’s what we really enjoyed: the organic fries (small, $1.50; large, $2.50) were excellent, especially the Parmesan and Cajun varieties. The Cheesy Fries (2.50/3.50) with melted mild white cheddar on top were different than we expected, but we enjoyed them nonetheless. All fries are made from freshly cut organic ‘taters and fried in rice bran oil.

The Organic Frozen Yogurt ($3/4/5) is made in-house, and it’s delicious. Tangy and smooth, it’s served with your choice of two toppings. The in-house bakery is also churning out some tasty-looking cookies, lemon cream puffs, scones and more.

I hope that Everest Burger makes some changes, and sooner rather than later. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’d like to see them succeed. A little work and they could reach the peak.

Everest Burger and Bakery