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Build a Burger

Burgers, made to order, but don’t sleep on dessert

Jackie built her burger with bacon, sautéed onions, lettuce, jalapenos, pepper jack, ketchup and mayo. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: On the prowl for a strip mall gem, Jackie and Dutch caught wind of the newly opened Build a Burger and high-tailed it down Tacoma Mall Boulevard to check it out. 

JACKIE: You could easily miss Build a Burger as you zip down the Boulevard, but you'd be missing out if you did. Though this dining gem doesn't immediately stand out, they serve up beautiful, juicy burgers to order that will have you coming back for more. Here's how it works: you ante up to the counter and snag a clipboard. Then start checking off what excites you. Chicken or Beef. Bun or lettuce wrap. There's a plethora of cheeses, condiments and adornments to choose from including sautéed onions, mushrooms, jalapenos and bacon. They even have a portobello and eggplant option for vegetarians. 

DUTCH: At first glance you'll think you've walked into a Subway sandwich shop, because there were few décor changes made from the previous owners. Instead, the money was invested in a large grill and work station to keep up with the anticipated demand. The money keeps finding its way into the quality ingredients, like the aforementioned fresh eggplant and portobello in lieu of the standard "veggie patties" you'll find at other places. The beef patties are seven ounces of 100 percent ground chuck offering diners more flavor and less fat.

JACKIE: This isn't going to replace your fast food fix, but you can call ahead to avoid the wait. These beauties are grilled to order. The bun is bready and stands up well to the meaty patty. And, as with any great burger, you're going to want to have those napkins nearby because luscious greasy goodness will drip from your freshly built burger. A behemoth, in my case, with bacon, sautéed onions, lettuce, jalapenos, pepper jack, ketchup and mayo. My lunch date chose the chicken option, which didn't disappoint either with grilled chicken thigh in the stead of your usual white meat option. Each were seasoned just right. 

DUTCH: I loved the whole idea of designing what I wanted on my burger; it reminded me of the old sandwich shop on the corner as I filled out my order slip. I decided to stay old school and stick with a basic cheeseburger, lettuce, tomatoes, but with sautéed onions and mushrooms. I thought twice about a fried egg, but ultimately passed on this visit. I am normally a fan of chicken burgers, but I can't see myself passing on a burger here; they are large, full of rich flavor, ordered exactly to my liking, and I, too, went through a lot of napkins. All of this for just $8.99 including fries.

JACKIE: Oh, and if you're a fan, their onion rings are delightful, too. Not fresh-made like their burgers but an excellent onion-to-beer batter ratio with that crunch that fried food dreams are made of. 

DUTCH: Onion rings, Jackie? I couldn't pass up the apple pie eggrolls. Tying into their Korean culinary roots, the Pak brothers (owners Timothy and Danny) have created deep-fried egg rolls stuffed with cinnamon and apples, and then topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel. Hot, cool and sweet. This dessert has it all.

BUILD A BURGER, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday, 5015 Tacoma Mall Blvd., Suite E 101, Tacoma, 253.507.7239 

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