The Hippo


May 29, 2020








The Cardiac burger at Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen in Milford. Courtesy photo.

Eat burgers, win prizes  

There’s still time to participate in the Hippo’s Granite State Burger Challenge. During the month of July, order a burger at a participating restaurant and you’ll have a chance to win a grand prize of $2,000 in restaurant gift certificates. Just pick up a Burger Challenge passport at any of the restaurants, get it stamped each time you order a burger and turn it in at the restaurant or the Hippo office (49 Hollis St., Manchester), or mail it in to the Hippo by Aug. 4. Additionally, there will be smaller gift certificates and other prizes awarded for daily contests announced on Facebook and Instagram (search “Granite State Burger Challenge”). For more information and the list of participating restaurants, visit 

Not your average burger
Gourmet burgers offer creative options, quality ingredients

By Angie Sykeny

 From taco burgers to burgers with apples and peanut butter, a growing number of restaurants are taking their burgers beyond beef and a bun. 

Jeannette Zaza, who owns Vibes Gourmet Burgers in Concord with her husband Jim, says the gourmet burger concept starting taking off a few years ago, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. 
“People seem to want something better, not the regular burger they’re used to,” she said. “The term ‘gourmet burger’ is important to people now. … They want to move it up a level with burgers that are better quality.” 
Vibes has about a dozen different burgers on the menu, such as the Malibu (topped with sliced avocado, chipotle mayo, baby arugula leaves and fresh herbed goat cheese), the Godfather (topped with sweet Italian sausage, grilled peppers and onions, spicy Sriracha drizzle and provolone cheese) and the Unusual (topped with sliced apple, cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, fresh lettuce, pickled jalapenos and whipped creamy peanut butter). 
The simple structure and versatility of the burger allows chefs to get creative with different ingredients, flavor combinations and cooking styles. 
“There are so many ways to change it up: You can infuse the meat with cheese or put the cheese on top. You can use a spicy sauce or a sauce with some sweetness. And, of course, there is a huge variety of toppings you can use,” Zaza said. “It’s endless, what you can do with it.” 
Travis Oneail, who co-owns Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen in Milford with his parents Joe and Marcelle, also said that the gourmet burger trend is undeniable. 
“The competition has become fierce,” he said. “The craft burger movement almost compares with the craft beer craze, with customers loyal to their regional and local creators.” 
The Papa Joe’s menu features 11 specialty burgers, including the Spartan (topped with barbecue sauce, a hot dog, onion rings, bacon, lettuce and cheese), the Oriental Cowboy (seasoned with teriyaki and topped with wasabi ranch dressing, cole slaw and crunchy Chinese noodles) and V’s Taco Burger (topped with taco seasoning, sour cream, salsa and cheddar). 
Oneail said he believes it’s the wide range of options and the ability to customize burgers that makes them so popular with diners. 
“[There’s] the flexibility to have the customer put input into their own burger choice,” he said, “[with] the variations of the meat itself like grass-fed, Angus … the different cooking styles like flat top, grill, charbroiled … and the flavor combinations.” 
“People are really into the fusion of flavors now,” Joe Oneail added. 
But gourmet burgers aren’t just about options. Zaza and the Oneails agree that the key to a gourmet burger is quality ingredients.  
“A good quality meat that’s cooked right and a quality bread is very important,” Zaza said. “They’re basic things, but that’s what makes a better burger.” 

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