The best burger joint I won’t eat in.

By that I mean inside, I love the place as long as we can enjoy our meal al fresco.

I’m talking about The Counter, in Walnut Creek on California.  It’s an absolutely fabulous spot to get a burger, but it’s interior design is all concrete and metal and glass, making it painfully loud and unpleasant.  Outside, on a balmy evening, it’s wonderful.

The way a restaurant sounds, like everything else,  is a design choice.  Flooring, wall covering, china, silver, glassware and table linens all have distinct sound qualities that can be chosen to make the establishment quiet and soothing or loud, brassy and excited.  Sadly for me, loud is the current fashion.  So, we eat outdoors or go somewhere else.

1/3 of a pound of beef, gruyere cheese, roasted garlic aioli, avocado and an onion bun. The perfect burger.


The Counter gives you a checklist, and you create your own burger.  Beef, turkey, chicken, veggie pattie to start.  Many kinds of cheese.  Your choice of dozens of possible toppings and additions.  This is the Burger King “have it your way” concept on steroids.

Some places will only cook their ground meat well done–I guess that they know the quality of their meat.  The Counter gives you what you ask for, including beef so rare it’s darned near still walking.  They also know the quality of their meat, and have nothing to fear.  I like that.

A fifty-fifty order of sweet potato fries and onion strings.

A burger by itself is just food.  It takes a side of fries, and maybe a chocolate malt, to make it a meal.  And The Counter delivers.  I get the fifty-fifty of sweet potato and onion string.  It’s really too much for two of us, you need four people to do it justice.  Nonetheless, I dig in and do what I can and leave the rest.

Sometimes, I’ll splurge on the chocolate malt, too.  More calories than anyone really needs, but sooooo good.  They have wine and beer, too, if that’s what floats your boat.  It must be OK wine, since Gail is willing to go there repeatedly.

Fine dining this isn’t, but it’s a scientifically proven fact that the body needs burgers, and The Counter is the place to get a great one.  Just be sure to sit outside.


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