BuiltBurger's co-owner/founder David Makuen is crazy about ground-beef patties tucked between two buns. So nuts that he launched a company in 2009 that specializes in intensely seasoned burgers made with the mission of making the most memorable patties. BuiltBurgers are a hit, with orders shipped around the country. Late last year, he and his wife, Rebecca, opened a small, stylish cafe near Pioneer Square that's already generating heat--get a load of those lunch rush lines out the door--and great reviews. (Jason Sheehan practically wet himself over this place.)
SW: Please fill us in on the BuiltBurger background?
Makuen: I'm a burger-holic and have many years of corporate marketing and brand-building experience. With BuiltBurger, I set the goal to create a memorable, delicious burger brand that was different from everything else in the market. The vision started small on the Internet and has grown with our first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Nov. 2010. We like making people happy with all-natural and boldly flavored burgers.
Why do people love burgers so much? Is it just an excuse to order fries on the side?
I think burgers are the most "comforting" comfort food there is. Easier and more interesting than steaks. Capable of more flavor combinations than meat loaf. Coupled with a great bun (which is hard to find), nothing beats a perfect burger.
What makes BuiltBurgers different than the competition?
Simply put, we place maniacal focus on the patty. We make the patty the hero. Yes, a little corny, but it defines what we do and what they don't. We want you to remember the patty, not the stuff on top.
If you were a first-time diner at BuiltBurger, what would you order?
I would always order the "Built Tasting Plate," which lets me pick three sliders of any flavor on the menu. Today I would pick a special such as Potsticker, plus our Magnificent Chorizo and the Supreme Pastrami. Add savory potato beignets and a cilantro poblano dip, and I am set.
Do you do a lot of burger research? And by research, we mean eating burgers around Seattle . . .
Yes, we regularly visit burger destinations around Seattle. I think the burger craze that has been so hot in New York City is slowly taking hold in Seattle.
What's the most over-the-top expensive burger you've ever eaten? Was it worth it?
The "Black Label Burger" at Minetta Lane Tavern in Greenwich Village, NYC. It was $26 and not worth it.
Check back for part two of this week's Grillaxin Q&A for more with Burger-holic David Makuen.