New restaurant embraces wine — not beer — as the preferred companion
BY JOHN HOLL
It seems that across the Garden State a new burger joint opens each week. Places like Five Guys and Smashburger offer tempting patties piled high with fresh toppings and served with sides of thick crispy fries. Places that are good for a quick fix of an American classic.
Now there is a new player on the burger scene and they have upped the ante. Zinburger is not your typical burger place. Inventive toppings and sauces tempt diners with delicious choices. They also serve and promote wine, a sign that Zinburger is trying to elevate how people view a food that is typically considered casual.A restaurant concept like this is an interesting shift in the dining world, where in recent years American craft beer has gained inroads on the fine dining scene. Now to have a restaurant where wine is paired with burgers — long the domain of beer — it shows the willingness of wine lovers to let their hair down a little, have some fun and rethink the centuries-old dining protocol.
Zinburger does offer beer on tap and in bottles, the likes of Blue Moon, Magic Hat #9 and traditional if not tired offerings like Bud Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon. However on a recent visit to the restaurant it was clear that people were embracing the wine.
The restaurant has a fine wine list with glasses or bottles to fit every budget. Waiters are well versed in the wine and are glad to suggest pairings for anything on the menu.
There are seven burgers and sandwiches offered at the restaurant including the Zinburger ($10 — with Manchego cheese and Zinfandel braised onions) and the Kobe burger ($14 — with Vermont cheddar and wild mushrooms). The burgers are served on a fluffy yet firm bun that delightfully soak in the burgers juices meaning the linen napkins get plenty of use. There are several salads available, but with burgers like this, save the healthy eating for tomorrow.
It is clear from the presentation that Zinburger takes their signature item seriously. Each burger arrives on a white plate accompanied by three thin dill pickle slices on the edge. No fries piled high crowding out the sandwich.
Instead, fries are served in a sleek metal basket with thick wax paper to hold them in. Try the sweet potato served with a refreshing Tzatziki sauce ($6) or something different like the fried zucchini strips.
A thick milkshake for dessert is the perfect indulgent ending.
With its open kitchen, a décor of natural wood and bold colors and a full wall length mural of a great pasture where cows are gazing on a perfect blue-sky day, Zinburger gives the impression that it is larger than it actually is. Located inside a storefront in the Promenade Shops on Rt. 3 in Clifton, the restaurant is the franchise's first foray out of the southwest where it operates two locations in Arizona.
Zinburger officially opened for business on Dec. 13 and for its first week is donating 20% of sales to the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton. Stopping in for a bite between Christmas shopping — or a drink to relieve its stress — can also do some good for the area kids and for the soul.
852 Route 3, west, Clifton.
Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Reservations are not accepted.