For starters, let’s just start with the name: Uneeda Burger? You bet I do! Scott and Heather Staples are definitely on the right track with their new addition to upper Fremont. Not that this should surprise any of us, given their success with downtown’s Restaurant Zoe and gastropub Quinn’s on Capitol Hill. Three very different concepts, each very well-executed.
Uneeda Burger is definitely a casual joint, though one with too much polish to be considered a dive. The interior sports lots of medium-hued wood, what feels like retro tin chairs, and tall metal stools along a stretch of counter adjacent to what will be a fantastic outdoor space. The old school typeface of the printed menu complements the strong logo and graphics, all of which make it feel so very of-the-moment. Which this trend is, apparently, given that burgers seem to be the hot new thing. Witness just a few other new and relatively new additions to the upscale burger universe: the insane pairings of Lunchbox Laboratory; the habit-forming bacon jam atop the burger at Skillet; and even Ethan Stowell getting into the action, with his Hamburg + Frites at Safeco Field.
On our visit to Uneeda we sampled a few different things-between-bread, both sandwiches and burgers, starting with the Monsieur. Modeled on the “croque,” their version also had ham and gruyere, though with truffled shoestring potatoes as well. Delicious, but it felt as though the well-buttered bread was just a bit too much for this already rich sandwich. The Medi-Terra lamb burger was the unanimous favorite, with charred peppers and onions, manchego, arugula, cilantro, and lightly crispy tempura lemons strips. The Carolina pork sandwich topped with slaw was tasty, but needed more oomph to be considered top notch barbecue. We also tried the fries (waffle-y and delicious) and onion rings (missing the punch of flavor), though clearly need to return for the good ol’ beef burger. I could also be talked into the chop salad and poutine – I know, two ends of the spectrum! – when I make a return visit.
Beyond the food, I’d come back to Uneeda Burger because it’s a solid neighborhood hangout. Inside it’s medium level comfortable and thus easy for most – not dive-y and not too upscale – and the aforementioned deck will be a fantastic location once our warmer weather arrives. Check it out if you haven’t already, but be sure to leave room for a milkshake. The Uneeda professional behind the counter recommended mixing salted caramel and Oreo ice cream for ours, and she couldn’t have been more right. Sugar and sweet overload in the very best way.