Lunch can be a challenge for the ordinary office worker. You often only get a half hour, and an hour at most. You may end up eating a lot of microwave meals or falling into the same old fast food patterns. I worked in Downtown Fresno for several years and have to confess that I drove through the McDonald’s drive-thru more times than I care to count. I just needed a burger and I needed it quick. If you’ve ever been in that predicament before, a new downtown restaurant has a delicious solution!
CHARburger opened about a month ago on the corner of L and Kern streets. Dreamed up by the owner of the innovative Char Cu Ti Rie restaurant in Visalia, it’s a fast food burger joint with plenty of twists. The menu is small but full of great flavor and unique ingredients. Brioche buns were created in collaboration with La Boulangerie in Fig Garden. Nutella and tamarind milkshakes are made with ice cream from McConnell’s in Santa Barbara. Fries are dusted with spices and sea salt.
The burgers themselves are of course the star of the show. They live up to the CHAR part of their name – in a good way. I had the CHARcheeseburger, which comes with a choice of sliced aged cheddar or cheddar sauce. My friend had the Char.Tots. with homemade cheddar truffle sauce as a side. They were quite satisfying.
But are you ready for what I think was my real favorite? It’s the crispy brussels sprouts with fresno chili honey sauce. They were AMAZING. I would like to thank the food gods for the current brussels sprouts trend, because restaurants left and right are adding amazing dishes of this once degraded vegetable to their menu. (Looking at you, too, Colton’s Social House!) I know! It sounds strange with a burger! But give them a try before you judge!
Going back to the start of my post, CHARburger is clearly catering to the downtown lunch crowd. It’s prime location is walking distance from a ton of offices, and its hours are only Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can definitely expect a mad lunch rush around noon, with a bit more wait for food and seating. (We waited about 15 minutes.) But CHARburger has technology in place to combat some of that. There are self-serve kiosks where you can pay and send your order straight to the kitchen. You can also order online and specify what time you’re coming to pick up your food.
As for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to work near CHARburger? You should make some time like I did and drive down there sometime. (Just by the way, if you have an iPhone, be prepared that Siri will give directions to “charburjer”!) I used it as an excuse to meet an old coworker for a much-needed catch up lunch. You won’t regret making the trip! You can keep up with CHARburger on their Instagram page.
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