This review also appeared in The Florida Times-Union
It’s getting a lot easier to find a great burger in Jacksonville. Whatever style patty you like — thin and seared, fat and juicy, and all points in between — there is something to fit your burger fancy, particularly if you head toward the beach on Atlantic Blvd. Epik Burger, the newest entrant to the “better burger corridor” (so dubbed by the Times-Union’s Gary Mills), separates itself by serving burgers with a creative twist. Jacksonville native and New England Culinary Institute graduate Korey Konopasek (also the University of North Florida’s dining services director) runs Epik Burger with his wife Lovice. Their menu boasts 34 different burgers made with either a beef, chicken, tuna, or veggie patty. Beef burgers come as “fast food burgers” ($4.49) or “restaurant burgers” ($5.99), described as “not as big” and “big,” respectively. Additionally, the bulk of the menu is gluten free-friendly, as gluten-free buns and sides are available.
My first trip was far from epic (you knew it was coming). My fast food-size signature Epik Burger ($5.99 with pancetta, brie, cornichons, balsamic mayo) was too thin for the substantial brioche bun, which might have been a little stale to begin with. My husband’s restaurant-size bacon cheeseburger ($8.49 for a BLT Burger with cheese) was dry and the Truffle Parmesan Fries ($3.89) we ordered to share were greasy and no longer hot. The fries are shaken with the truffle oil and Parmesan in a paper bag, and I think this makes them end up limp from the steam inside the bag. They had a good flavor, but that’s not too difficult to achieve with truffle and Parmesan. We liked the bright green restaurant space and decor, but overall, our meal was a disappointment.
On our follow-up trip, things had vastly improved. I tried the restaurant-size Wild Mushroom Burger ($7.49, with sautéed wild mushrooms, wasabi mayo) with goat cheese and sweet potato fries, and my husband had the day’s special, the Breakfast Burger (American cheese, bacon, fried egg, french fries, sautéed peppers and onions). With restaurant burgers, you can specify the cooking temperature (not an option with the thinner fast food burgers) and our medium patties came out just right. The meat-to-bun ratio was much better with the restaurant burger, and the patty was flavorful and juicy. Sweet Potato Fries ($2.79) were crisp and lightly salted.
Epik Burger’s menu is full of flavors inspired by international cuisine, which will make it hard for me to order the same thing twice. Examples include the Pinoy Burger (with adobo sauce, caramelized onions, $5.69 or $7.09); Thai Chicken Burger (peanut sauce, carrots, green onions, $5.49) and Maguro Bōchō tuna burger (sesame seeds, soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi mayo, $7.99). I am happy the Konopaseks seem to be working out their opening kinks and have given me a reason to return.