If you’re anything like me you’ll go to a restaurant and order something from the menu but ask for it to come without this, that and the next thing. Frustrating isn’t it? The menu isn’t the frustrating thing for me though, it’s more so being a fussy-eater, and worrying that you’ve mixed the waiter up and your order arrives and isn’t what you asked for. Well… there’s a new place in Glasgow where you no longer have to change your order and have such worries, you can build your order from scratch with whatever suits YOUR needs as the diner and this place is called The Counter.
The Counter are a custom built burger restaurant whose aim is to challenge the way individuals think about burgers, and rather than have them sticking to those same old repetitive burgers, entice them with their array of toppings, meats, sauces and so on in order for visiting diners to learn, experiment and try out. When I was invited along to their VIP event I couldn’t wait to see what this place really was all about and whether as a fussy eater, particularly when it comes to burgers, see whether this place was made for me.
On arrival we were greeted with a Butterscotch Java Malt milkshake, giving us the best of both worlds with the butterscotch taste, whilst a hint of coffee was flavoured throughout it. Now I can just imagine how good a full-sized one of these would be, a burger and shake…now isn’t that a great combination. The milkshakes range between £5 and £6 and being filled to the brim in mason jars and topped with some delicious treats, they’re well worth the money and could be a dessert in themselves.
After sipping on my mini milkshake, and snapping plenty of pictures of the array of burgers that were proudly on display, all of us that were lucky enough to attend this event sat down for a talk by CEO Jeff Weinstein to learn a bit more about The Counter. So what did I find out? The Counter started in 2003, with the first restaurant situated in Santa Monica, California. With 40 restaurant locations in America, as well as internationally, Glasgow is actually the first restaurant within the UK, go Glasgow. In regards to the food there are per one million possible burger combinations, as well as the meat being halal, in addition to vegan and gluten-free options available if required. After hearing some interesting facts about the place and how well Jeff is doing after starting with just an idea and a single restaurant in America, some burger building began. Two individuals from the audience were picked and got to create their own burger, starting with the bun, meat, toppings and sauce and after being satisfied with the taste it was time to get back to our booth and get tasting for ourselves.
Basically at The Counter you have a menu with signature burgers or a create your own burger menu, now I’m going to be focussing on the create your own menu. It’s almost a checklist where you go through all the steps as followed (included are some examples):
- Choose a protein – beef, turkey, chicken breast or vegan veggie (premium proteins include salmon or southern fried chicken)
- Choose a size – single or double
- Choose a style – on a bun (brioche, english muffin, ciabatta), or on fresh greens (lettuce blend, mixed greens)
- Choose a cheese – American, feta, mozzarella
- Choose a sauce – aioli, or dressing – garlic aioli, chipotle aioli, buttermilk ranch
- Choose your toppings – kale, tomatoes, carrot strings, boiled egg
- Add-on premium toppings – avocado, turkey bacon, guacamole
- Choose a side – fried onion strings, sweet potato fries, french fries, veggie skewers
So what did we get to devour? The first thing we tried was the burger in a bowl, which is a bunless burger placed in a salad bowl rather than in a bun, served with all your desired toppings. In our burger bowl was a beef burger, alongside American cheese, kale and a few other toppings which I can’t quite remember. The burger was cooked to perfection, my one concern when I visit burger joints and worry it’s not cooked the way I want it to be, but not to worry I wasn’t disappointed.
If that wasn’t enough the lovely and attentive staff then came round again offering none other than more burgers. We tried out the southern fried chicken burger with chilli red devil cheese, jalapeños (chillies on the menu), honey dijon sauce and coleslaw. I’m a big southern fried chicken fan so this was a burger I took a liking to. Followed shortly after was the turkey chipotle burger, consisting of turkey, spring onions, chilli red devil cheese and chipotle aioli. I was so looking forward to trying the turkey burger and it exceeded my expectations, it made the perfect combination with the chipotle aioli and is definitely something I’d order again. I’m so used to ordering beef burgers so with The Counter offering the likes of southern fried chicken and turkey, I’d definitely like to experiment with these meats and the toppings in the future.
Now let’s talk sides as I got to try both types of fries on offer. First up were the french fries, and I prefer skinny fries so I was delighted to find out these were just that size. Accompanied by some honeyranch sauce these fries were delightful, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, but would the sweet potato fries steal my heart? Accompanied by apricot sauce these sweet potato fries were heavenly, although in all honesty the apricot sauce wasn’t something I’d order in future, it did go well with the sweet potato fries. With both options satisfying my tastebuds how could I ever choose just one type when I visit again? Here’s the thing…I don’t. The Counter must know their fries are so good and want to save the hassle of any tricky decision-making so offer 50/50 where you can get half a portion of french fries and half a portion of sweet potato fries, so no cause for conflict.
To end the event I had a Berry Mint Fresca mocktail which was served in a mason jar with a handle. I was in my element sipping on my cocktail in its cute little mason jar and wanted none other than 10 more of those mocktails. Costing £4.50 if you’re having a night away from the alcohol then a virgin cocktail is the way for you, just as tasty and minus the alcoholic effects. All I can say is thank you Jeff and the team behind The Counter for bringing the first UK restaurant to Glasgow, it truly is a blessing to the Springfield Quay and with offering customers the opportunity to build their own burgers from scratch I can guarantee this will be a hit with the public, and especially those fussy eaters like me. I might even give it a visit this weekend as I want to get my hands around some more mason jars whether cocktails or milkshakes and experiment with some burger toppings. If you could build up your very own dream burger, what meat, toppings and sauces would you choose?