The small parking lot on the corner of Mission and Bay streets was surprisingly full for a midweek lunch, and inside the new restaurant named burger followed by a period, (there are no capital letters anywhere on the menu), tables were filled with people enjoying World Cup Soccer on two large flatscreens.
Behind the counter (located at the Bay Street entrance) multi-colored chalk lettering describes the menu. Humboldt grass-fed beef from small, free-range, northern Californian farms is featured, but the house-made black bean-based veggie burger ($6.75) is popular.
The long beer list is impressive with drafts such as Great White from Eureka's Lost Coast Brewery ($6 per 20 ounces). There are also bottled beers including Anchor Porter ($7 per 22 ounces) and even cans of PBR ($3).
The Marianne's ice cream double chocolate milkshake ($3.75), served in a clear Greenware cup made from a compostable plant resin-based polymer, was topped with a huge twister of whipped cream. Its tiny chocolate chips lodged in the straw, so I fetched a plastic spoon. My mistake, it was biodegradable TaterWare.
The large soft bun of the chuck norris burger ($7) with jack and cheddar cheeses was spread with spicy special sauce and stuffed with tomato, pickles, red onion, and grilled fresh jalapeños. It was delicious. This is a new place still in training, and after a few bites I realized the burger was raw inside and sent it to the kitchen. It returned appropriately cooked, with a new bun, and even more tomatoes and sauce. The shoestring potatoes were soft and piping hot. Sweet potato fries are also an option.
ºFor breakfast, pick up a stuffed bagel ($3 to $5) or breakfast sandwich ($5), or enjoy a bloody beer. The restaurant also plans to add entrées and wood-fired pizza.
burger., 1520 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 425-5300. Beer and wine. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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