I had a lunch date with my friend “S” yesterday, and she suggested that we check out a new restaurant on Lafayette Street – Vertigo Burgers & Fries. Even though I already knew what she was talking about, I decided to do a Google search on the joint. First thing I noticed: no website. Okay, after a little more research, I found out that they do have a website, but it only has their logo, hours and location on it. Kinda useless. But my Google search provided me with a legit Facebook page so I figure that’s better than nothing! But… no menu on the page? Okay, well I can kind of figure out what they serve on my own based off the name. Some Facebook comments did catch my attention though. Apparently there was an issue with running out of buns – umm, that sure sucks when you are serving burgers! Some people were questioning if you could get take out, but this review from Cook the Blog proved that yes, you can get your burger to go (even on their first day of service). More things I found out from my search: Vertigo is not open on Mondays, more rave reviews than not, there is some kind of connection to Cypress, and they just opened earlier this month. Oh and they served so many people that they had to shut down their kitchen the first few days (totally just gathering this from Facebook comments now). Interesting.
So after my researchin’, I was looking forward to my Vertigo lunch and was really excited to check out a brand spankin’ new place. We decided to go early because, like most places in Tallahassee at lunch, it was sure to be packed. We met there at 11:15 and had no wait whatsoever. I was a little confused when we first walked in on exactly how this restaurant worked. Do we seat ourselves? Do we order at the counter? A young lady greeted me as I walked in but didn’t really give any direction. I finally figured out that you order at the counter (on the opposite side from the entrance).
We reviewed the menu at the counter for a few minutes. I really liked their diverse burger selection. A few of them caught my eye, and I quickly narrowed it down to The Tremor (good FB comments about this one) or Going Green. The Tremor was a beef burger with “truffle tremor,” bacon, sauteed mushrooms and dijonaisse (hope I’m getting this right – no menu is posted). FYI: Truffle tremor is apparently a fancy cheese. Going Green is the signature vegetarian burger for Vertigo, composed of farro and red beans and topped with all kinds of veggie goodness like avocado, cucumber, sprouts and grilled onion. As an ex-vegetarian, I couldn’t resist the Going Green. I was sold when they said cucumbers. Luckily my buddy got The Tremor so I got a first hand review of that one. All of the burgers are a little on the pricey side, especially for lunch, but the ingredients seem worth it (grass fed beef, fancy stuff like tremor cheese, etc). The prices range from $8-11 per burger then fries and drinks have to be ordered separately. We ordered our burgers, decided to split a full size order of fries, got our drinks and sat down.
Let’s go back to the actual restaurant itself. Vertigo is located in the old (old, old) Looper’s Subs location on Lafayette Street beside Pier 1 Imports. Both the inside and outside got a major/much-needed facelift. While it is a smaller building, Vertigo did a great job of maximizing space by using small tables and long bars with stools. They also have a nice patio area out front with few large umbrellas.
We made our visit on a Tuesday because they are not open on Mondays. I feel like this might end up biting them in the butt because of their location – I think they will do a lot more lunch business on Mondays than, say, dinner on Sundays seeing as how they are in “state worker alley.” But I’m no restauranteur, so I’ll just shut up now. Back to the story – I got my food super fast. Like faster than places that have been open for a long time. Sure, we got there early and beat the rush, but I was still impressed with the quickness of service. Unfortunately, when they brought out my food, they only brought out mine and just a sad message to my friend – they were out of the special tremor cheese! Oh no!!! This wasn’t a huge deal to Miss S except for the fact that 1) this burger wasnt exactly cheap. In fact, it was one of the most expensive items on the menu and I’m guessing it was probably because of that darn cheese! They sure didn’t offer her a refund, though… And 2) We were like the second patrons that day. Couldn’t they have told us when we ordered that they were out of their fancy cheese? It’s one of the main selling points for that burger. Arg! I briefly had a flashback to the Facebook complaint about the buns. Anyway, Miss S just gracefully said she would accept sharp cheddar on her burger, and they had it out to her a few minutes later.
Now on to the food – in one word it was “meh.” Oh, not familiar with meh? How about “so-so”? Granted, I got a freakin’ bean patty at a burger place, but if you put it on your menu (and I’m paying $8 for it), I expect it to be tasty. This was just.. well.. it was okay. The veggies on top were fresh. The portion was huge. But the farro/bean patty lacked seasoning, and I could have used some kind of flavorful sauce on top (I think it came with mayo?). My friend liked her first bite of The Tremor but by the end, it was a little too much of everything – too much cheese, too much sauce (dijonnaise?). The fries were decent – very crispy, definitely hand cut and fresh. But overall, I’m not sure I would return to Vertigo. The price was just too high for such a mediocre burger. As far as bean burgers go, The Black Bean Cafe has my heart. I guess I should give their beef burgers a try for myself but I have a feeling that I will always be able to think of a place I’d rather go than Vertigo.
I wanted to love you, Vertigo. I really did. But you still have some kinks to work out (like getting a website, not running out of product, etc) and I wasn’t too impressed with my burger. To sum it up…
Cleanliness: Super clean
Food: “Meh” for the price. Not amazing, not awful.
Service: Friendly, fast
While I wasn’t blown away, I still suggest you try it for yourself!