This obscure organic-burger chain should make Shake Shack, Five Guys, and Smashburger nervous

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This burger may be the future of sustainable eating, but is it good?
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Hollis Johnson

A growing name in the better-burger sector is coming for Five Guys, Smashburger, and Shake Shack.

Elevation Burger, started in Arlington, Virginia, in 2005, has now spread to 10 states nationwide and Washington, DC.

The company also has an impressive presence in the Middle East and Mexico.

The restaurant’s founding partner and vice president of supply chain, Michael Berger, has recently received the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Organic Trade Association, a group for organic agriculture and trade in North America.

Elevation Burger’s organic-beef supply program has become the largest such program for any restaurant group in the US.

It also has one of the largest organic-beef programs of any retailer in the country, with Berger successfully developing their organic-chicken supply as well.

With organic-food trends growing steadily, it’s no surprise that Elevation Burger and its ethos have enjoyed such national success. I visited one of their 34 US locations to see if their environmentally-conscious burgers are as good as they sound.


Elevation Burger has no store in New York City, so I visited this Port Chester, New York, location. I’m hoping a delicious burger will cheer up an otherwise gloomy, rainy day.

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Hollis Johnson

Inside, the decor is simple and sparse. It reminds me of a no-frills family restaurant.

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Hollis Johnson

The menu choices are pretty simple, too. There are three signature burgers, some chicken sandwiches, salads, and a good amount of vegetarian options. I could use more signature burgers, but the main focus is on the custom-burger option.

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Hollis Johnson

While ordering, I notice this sign, so I order a shake. Effective advertising! Plus, shakes and burgers go hand in hand.

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Hollis Johnson

My order is in, and I’m ready to sit down.

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Hollis Johnson

The chairs and tables are no-nonsense, with a few communal benches and tables scattered about. The place is rather busy, considering it opened an hour before I arrived.

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Hollis Johnson

After a short wait — maybe six minutes — my order is brought to me by one of the staff. I ordered a custom “Elevation Burger,” a strawberry shake, and a heaping side of fries.

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Hollis Johnson

One of their specialties is the “Vertigo Burger,” where you can stack up to 10 patties at once. I’m nowhere near hungry enough for that, so I opted for the double-patty Elevation Burger with lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup, and blue cheese, which cost me $7.10.

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Hollis Johnson

But before I even start the burger, the delicious smell of the fries calls out to me. Elevation Burger fries them in 100% olive oil, giving them a distinct taste — almost burnt, but in a good way.

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Hollis Johnson

These fries are absolutely addictive. And look, real potatoes — skin and all!

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Hollis Johnson

The shakes are vanilla-, chocolate-, or coffee-ice-cream-based, and come with your choice of two mix-ins for $5.30. I chose the classic strawberry shake, but you can get anything from mango to Oreos mixed in. The shake is thick, and I can tell they used real strawberries.

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Hollis Johnson

The company prides itself on 100% organic burgers, as well as its environmental sustainability. The beef is free-range and everything is recycled, including the olive oil used for frying.

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Hollis Johnson

The burger is pretty good. The beef itself is great — flavorful without being greasy. My topping flavor choices could be better, but admittedly that’s my fault! But regardless, the veggies are vibrant and tasted fresh. The bun is a little smushy for me, though.

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Hollis Johnson

Soon, only the fries are left and I don’t want to waste them. They are so good and they give you an enormous serving for $3.25.

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Hollis Johnson

There are kid-sized menu options as well, and they seem popular. There were at least eight little kids enjoying burgers by the time I left.

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Hollis Johnson

While Elevation Burger seems less exciting and hip than many fast-casual competitors visually, it’s because the focus is on the food, and it shows. The meals are freshly cooked, filling, and comparatively cheap.

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Hollis Johnson