April 19, 2009
Keeping up with Jones
American hawker stall chain Botak Jones has introduced massive and mini burgers in a bid to draw the crowds
By Rebecca Lynne Tan
There are burgers to quell appetites big, small and even extra large.
Kopitiam-style steak and burger chain Botak Jones, which has 11 outlets islandwide, revamped its menu recently to offer both tiny and massive burgers, in addition to its regular-size offerings.
Its 52-year-old founder, the bald Bernie Utchenik, says the idea was a 'knee-jerk reaction' to the disappointment he experienced after trying a 5-inch (12.5cm) wide burger at a well-known fastfood joint.
He says: 'I believe in honesty in advertising - if you're going to offer a 5-inch burger, it should have a good amount of filling in it.' He says he lifted up the bun only to see that his burger barely had any.
And that is what sparked off Botak Jones' supersized 5-inch burgers, which are 7cm high, with a 15cm wide burger patty that weighs 220g before cooking.
It comes in five versions - the Massive ($7.80), a plain burger with lettuce, tomato and onion; the Massive Cheese ($9.80), which has four slices of cheese; the Massive Cheese Whoopass/Egg ($13.80), a burger oozing with Botak Jones' signature Whoopass chilli con carne; and the Massive Provolone Mushroom ($16.80), a patty topped with fresh button and shitake mushrooms sauteed in butter, garlic and onions with four slices of melted zesty Provolone cheese.
The fifth is the largest - Massive Sunrise ($13.80), which is piled up highest with bacon rashers, two eggs cooked sunny-side up, four slices of melted cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions.
Launched two weeks ago, the burgers have received 'an overwhelming response' so far, he says.
Mr Utchenik even had to ask bread company Gardenia, which supplies Botak Jones 4-inch buns for its regular burgers, if it could make 5-inch buns for him too.
Since late last year, he has also been offering burgers at the other end of the spectrum - mini burgers with beef patties that weigh 90g each, compared to the 135g of the regular Botak burger.
Called the Mini-me, each one is about 3 inches wide and comes in two versions - Mini-me Botak burger ($3.80), which is a plain beef burger; and Mini-me Cajun ($4), char-grilled chicken breast topped with mozzarella and cajun sauce, which were created for its student customers.
'We realise a lot of our outlets are located near higher learning institutions such as NTU and ITE,' he says.
On average, the chain sells 6,700 regular beef burgers and 1,200 mini-me burgers each month.
The recession has also led business at Botak Jones to dip about 15 per cent in recent months.
So to keep the crowds coming, he has come up with a whole list of promotions.
These include a new ladies' cut of prime steer beef ($10.80), which weighs about 100g, and a 5-4-4-11-2-2 meal special where five people can eat for the price of four, from 11am to 2pm daily.
The chain will also be launching a daily specials menu which will have mains such as oxtail stew and tuna noodle casserole.
He says: 'We are all scrambling in this recession and everyone needs a hand.'
NEW YORK NEW YORK
What: The Giant Yankee Burger. This massive 20.3cm wide burger comes with a beef patty, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cheese, mustard and ketchup.
Weight: 700g patty
Price: $32.90. The chain also has an ongoing Giant Burger Challenge where customers who finish an entire 20.3cm burger, fries and a giant root beer float win a meal on the house. The only winner so far has been a petite female customer.
Where: 9 outlets islandwide
NEW HARBOUR CAFE AND BAR
What: The Monster Burger. Each patty measures 11.4cm in diameter and comes topped with bacon, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, ketchup, mustard, fried shallots and a fried egg. More than 20 are sold daily.
Weight: 227g patty
Where: 114 Tanjong Pagar Road, tel: 6226-2657, open: 10.30am to 11pm, Mondays to Thursdays, 10.30am to midnight, Fridays, 3 to 11pm, Saturdays, closed on Sundays
BREWERKZ RESTAURANTS AND MICROBREWERIES
What: The King Brew Burger. At 10.2cm wide, this burger was created by former executive chef Eduardo Vargas in 1999. The recipe combines two beef patties, cheese, bacon, sauteed mushrooms and beer chilli all in one burger.
Weight: 450g for two patties.
Where: 4 outlets islandwide
What: The To Die For Burger. This burger with a 10.5cm wide beef patty comes with a home-
made bun, a special OverEasy sauce and is served with a choice of parmesan haystack fries or truffled fries.
Weight: 300g patty
Where: l Fullerton Road, 01-06 One Fullerton, tel: 6423-0701, open: 5pm to 1am, Mondays to Thursdays, 5pm to 3am, Fridays to Saturdays
SEAH STREET DELI
What: The Lincoln Tunnel Burger, which used to be known as the Texas Burger. Each hefty burger comes with a patty that is 14cm wide and 2cm thick.
Weight: 250g patty
Where: 1 Beach Road, Raffles Hotel, tel: 6412-1110, open: 11am to 10pm, Sundays to Thursdays and 11am to 11pm, Fridays, Saturdays, eve of public holidays
THE MARMALADE PANTRY
What: The Ultimate Burger. These 8cm wide burgers are served with homemade gherkin, tomato relish and shoe string fries. The three Marmalade Pantry outlets sell about 40 to 50 of these burgers every day.
Weight: 220g patty
Where: 3 outlets including 390 Orchard Road, B1-08 to 11 Palais Renaissance, tel: 6734-2700; open: 11.30am to 9.30pm, weekdays, 10am to 9.30pm, Saturdays, 10am to 4.30pm Sundays (all day brunch)
What: The Full House Burger. A 14cm wide burger with a pile of toppings including a fried egg, cheese, onion rings and bacon.
Weight: 230g chicken patty or 180g beef patty
Where: 6 outlets islandwide
What: The PS Burger. A 12.7cm wide grilled wagyu and chuck patty topped with brie, spinach, bacon, tomato and caramelised onion on a toasted sesame bun. Available only at brunch and lunch.
Weight: 240g patty
Where: 3 outlets including 28b Harding Road,tel: 6479-3343, open: 11.30am to midnight, Mondays to Thursdays, 11.30 to 2am, Fridays, 9.30 to 2am, Saturdays, 9.30am to midnight, Sundays
What: Mini Burgers. Each patty is 5cm wide and an order of two mini burgers makes a decent sized snack.
Weight: 70g to 80g per mini patty
Price: $12 for each order of two mini burgers plus fries
Where: 11 Upper Wilkie Road, tel: 6336-5413, open: 6pm to midnight,Tuesdays to Sundays
BARRACKS CAFE AT DEMPSEY
What: Old-fashioned American Sliders. A signature dish at House, these mini burgers are served on soft plain buns and come with a choice of five toppings, including the unusual truffle aioli and blue cheese with bacon. Each slider is 7.6cm wide.
Weight: 80g patty
Price: $22 per serving of two American sliders with one topping of choice and a side of truffle fries or sweet potato nibblets
Where: Block 8D, Dempsey Hill, tel: 6475-7787, open: noon to 11pm, Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to midnight, Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 2am, Fridays, 11 to 2am, Saturdays, 11am to 11pm, Sundays
What: Meatball Sliders. An original recipe created by former executive chef at the Wine Garage, Travis Masiero, these pork mini-burgers come with homemade tomato sauce. Each burger patty is about 3.8cm in diameter.
Weight: 40g per mini patty
Price: 3 for $14, 6 for $26, 9 for $39 + GST
Where: 30 Merchant Road, 01-07 Riverside Point, tel: 6533-3188, open: 4pm to midnight, Mondays to Thursdays, 4pm to 1am, Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays, 11am to midnight, Sundays
QUEEN AND MANGOSTEEN
What: Mini Burgers. These 4cm to 5cm wide burgers are the bestsellers.These are served with sliced tomatoes on sesame seed buns and come with a side of fries.
Weight: 100g each mini patty
Price: $16 for an order of three
Where: Vivo City, 1 Harbourfront Walk, 01-106/107, tel: 6376-9380, open: 11am to midnight daily
What: A sampling platter of different flavoured mini burgers. Each is 5cm wide and 2.5cm thick. Weight: 50g each
Price: $24++ for an order of four burgers - miso cod, tandoori chicken, wagyu beef and French brie with onion marmalade
Where: 12 Ann Siang Road, tel: 6221-1694, open: noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays