Zinburger: Good Vibes and a Tasty Meal

Blanco BurgerRESTAURANT:  Zinburger

DATE OF VISIT: 1/14/18

ADDRESS: Barracks Shopping Center 973 Emmet St N, Charlottesville, VA 22903

GENRE: American – Burgers & Bar

AFFORDABILITY: The burgers range from around $10 to $15 which is borderline starting to get expensive for a filling, gourmet burger with no sides. A little on the pricier side compared to some other Charlottesville burger places, but you’re not going to walk away hungry. Shakes are about $6 but are quite large and filling.

VENUE: The restaurant was large and had an earthy and contemporary bar feel. It was really nice, with large fireplaces near outdoor seating and a variety of indoor seating including a full bar, high tables, low tables, and booths. Definitely different from a lot of the darker-themed burger places in Charlottesville.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly.

GENERAL: I came into Zinburger with literally zero idea of what the restaurant was and I was really pleasantly surprised. I walked in right after a basketball game finished and so a huge crowd was rushing in. They handled the influx of people beautifully (also props to them for being open late on a Sunday night).

I didn’t catch my server’s name, but he was absolutely incredible. He explained to my table the background of the restaurant, explained the VIP rewards program (which is pretty awesome, I recommend signing up), and went through the menu options. He double checked for allergies and was super accommodating to all of my table’s needs. He even reassured me when he handed me my shake that one of my substitutions was made even though it didn’t look like it was, which was really nice. He really set the tone for a great meal and I was super appreciative of that.

It was also cool how they have Burgers of the Week, Shakes of the Month, and other specials that change up their menu everytime you come.

Truffle Fries

THE FOOD: For appetizer, my table ordered Truffle Fries and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries. They were good and as expected. I especially liked the truffle aioli dipping sauce, that was especially tasty, even with the sweet potato fries. I guess the only downside is that the burgers themselves do not come with fries or any sides so you have to pay more if you want some.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

For my burger I ordered the Blanco Burger (Pepper Jack Cheese, Pico De Gallo, Guac, Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo) with a Turkey Patty. From what I understand, they create all the patties (beef, turkey, and veggie) in the restaurant. It was probably one of the tastiest patties I have ever eaten. Turkey can be especially dry and they did a superb job making it juicy and soft and absolutely scrumptious. Overall the burger was really tasty. The chipotle mayo wasn’t overpowering and the pico de gallo and guacamole tasted fresh. Though I think next time I’m going to order the similar but slightly different El Diablo (Fire Roasted Jalapenos, Pepper Jack Cheese, Braised Onions, Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo).

Bars of Zin Shake

For my Shake I ordered the Bars of Zin (Chocolate Ice Cream, Hazelnut Spread, Kit Kat Pieces, Fresh Whipped Cream) but I substituted the chocolate with vanilla ice cream. That substitution was definitely a good one, because I think otherwise the shake would be far too chocolatey. I didn’t expect the kit kats to be blended in the shake, but that was really nice because it added a slight chocolate-grain texture with each sip. It was a great filling shake and I definitely recommend.

ACCOMODATIONS: They have veggie and turkey patties that can be substituted in all their burgers. They also will try their best to accommodate to food allergies and were really great about making substitutions as needed.

OVERALL: Overall, I recommend! It was a great full-service dinner experience for a really nice price. The TVs are broadcasting sports on the walls making it a great place to grab a drink or have a nice meal while watching sports. It’s also a very spacious restaurant which was nice. On a warmer day, I think I definitely would want to sit outside next to the fancy outdoor fires, I think that would be a lot of fun. It’s a good place to get a tasty burger and delicious shake in a nice, clean restaurant more upscale and warmer ambience in Charlottesville.

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Chopt: Charlottesville Chopt Salad Yumminess

Kebab CobbRESTAURANT:  Chop’t Creative Salad Company

DATE OF VISIT: 8/15/17 (Second Day of Opening)

ADDRESS: Barracks Road Shopping Center (1117 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903)

GENRE: Salad

AFFORDABILITY: Most of the entrees are around $10. I wouldn’t necessarily call it cheap, but the quantity is filling and the variety of options is really nice.

PARKING: Plenty of parking around Barracks Shopping Center

VENUE: Chop’t just had its grand opening a few days ago. If you’ve ever been to a Chopt in DC or NYC, the first thing you will notice is that this Charlottesville Chopt is MASSIVE. Definitely a different experience than you would have if you have been to one in a city. There is seating outside and inside there are several tables and booths as well. Everything is very clean and sleek and the fabric in the booths was really nice too. The only potentially confusing part is that a lot of people may enter from the side door and not the main entrance.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly.

GENERAL: The minute we walked in we were greeted by someone explaining how ordering works and the menu. Another employee also checked up on us while in line and the manager did twice: in line and also while we were dining. Multiple employees came by to pick up our finished dishes while we were dining or to ask if we wanted more free bread. Even while ordering, employees would always ask if we wanted more sauce or our salad chopped more finely. Everyone was super friendly and it was a great first impression to have of the restaurant.

chopt options

So many fresh options!

How it works is you can make your own salad or choose one of the many preset combinations. They will put the salad materials in a bowl and hand you a ticket (that you later hand to the cashier when you pay) and will then lead you to a chopping station.

chopt-unchopped.jpg

My Kebab Cobb, waiting to be “Chopt”

At the chopping station they slice-and-dice your salad however fine you would like it (don’t have to chop it if you don’t want) and add the dressing.

chopt gif

Chop chop chop chop chop!!

At the cash register, at least that day, they were giving out free pieces of bread. Again, everyone was super friendly.

THE FOOD: I ordered the Kebab Cobb because I love Tzatziki and Pita Chips and Feta in my salads. I got it double chopped (in my opinion, the more chopped the better, I was just too excited to eat to get it even more chopped) and with extra Tzatziki. It was absolutely delicious. Mixed well you would get a little bit of every flavor in every bite, which is the advantage of the chopping. And the flavors were definitely strong. The rich Tazatziki balanced out the spicy peppers really well and the Pita Chips added a nice crunch – a much appreciated change in texture to the rest of the salad. I definitely 100% recommend. Especially if you love the “El Jefe” at Roots. Very different from the El Jefe, but it has the pita chips and feta which will remind you of it.

My friends also enjoyed their salads, the Smoky Santa Cruz and Spicy Santorini (pictures below)

ACCOMODATIONS: You can customize to your heart’s content. They have so many different add-ins and options. Just let them know you have food restrictions and they will work with you.

OVERALL: I always think when you get to watch your food being made, the experience is heightened. That mantra stayed true at this restaurant. Tasty food, decent price, decent portions, friendly employees. I couldn’t ask for much more.

A lot of local college students may be wondering “how does it compare to Roots?” I think they are both different. While they have some overlap in selling salad based food, I think the chopped salad experience and the options are just very different from what you find at Roots.

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