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Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Burger Monger brings natural beef to Brandon

Customers dining in Carrollwood but living in the Greater Brandon area are what prompted the owners of Burger Monger to take over the space vacated by Cherry’s in the Bloomingdale Square shopping center, anchored by Walmart, Publix and Bealls.

“We had people who would drive from Brandon and Riverview to Carrollwood a couple times a week to eat with us,” said Lisa Deptula, who has been the business manager for Burger Monger since its inception, under owners Jake Hickton and Bob Slane. “Our customers repeatedly asked us to come to Brandon and we’re very pleased we did.”

In all, there are four Burger Monger locations, with restaurants as well in Wesley Chapel and Willow Grove, Philadelphia. As for the location in Brandon, “We’re happy to see our regulars here,” Deptula said. “And it’s also great to see a lot of first-timers coming in.”

In an open dining space punctuated with six large, wall-mounted television screens, Deptula dished out the merits of Burger Monger dining, most notably the all-natural Akaushi Kobe beef featured in its hamburgers and hot dogs.

“That’s the only beef we use,” she said. “It’s arguably one of the healthiest beef’s you can get. It rates above [USDA] prime.”

According to the company’s menu, beef from Akaushi cattle “contains a higher concentration of monounsaturated fat relative to saturated fat,” which accounts for a lower cholesterol option. The beef also “is a significant source of oleic acid, the compound in olive oil that is touted as good for the heart.”

The chicken served is all natural and vegetarian-fed and the french fries are hand-cut and cooked in beef oil, which Deptula said is a healthier option.

At Burger Monger, diners build their own meals after selecting the type of meat preferred — burger, dog or chicken. A wide selection of toppings and condiments are available, including the Special Monger Sauce, made from Jamaican relish and chipotle mayonnaise. Also popular, Deptula said, are sauces purchased from Intensity Academy, a local vendor. One is Garlic Goodness, a “very spicy, very garlicky and very popular offering,” she said. The other is Chipotle Ketchup. Other available condiments include Hellman’s mayonnaise, Grey Poupon mustard, A.1. Steak Sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ, Richard’s Hot Sauce, and Chai Chipotle Chup.

Toppings include balsamic tomatoes, grilled sweet onion, roasted red peppers, grilled mushrooms, banana peppers, Chicago neon relish and the chef’s onion slaw, mustard kraut and tomato relish. Premium toppings, available for $1.49 each, are guacamole, Akaushi beef chili, fried egg and cherrywood smoked bacon.

If desired, each order includes a slice of real-milk cheese: American, provolone, aged swiss, mild cheddar, pepper jack and shredded cheddar jack. Premium cheeses, available for $1.49 each, are French brie, aged smoked Amish blue and whole-milk fresh mozzarella.

Not into meat? The vegetarian burger is made to order, with rice, beans and spices.

“A lot of people expect a frozen patty,” Deptula said. “We make it from scratch.”

Also made from scratch: fresh-baked buns and Burger Monger cookies, including Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Chip and Maren’s Oatmeal Raisin.

“We make our own dough and we’re baking them fresh throughout the day,” Deptula said.

Rounding out the offerings are beer and wine, Strawberry Butter Cake and Häagen-Dazs hand-dipped milkshakes and malts. Gluten-free buns also are available.

Burger Monger is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., except for Friday and Saturday, when the restaurant is open until 11 p.m. There are specials throughout the week: $5 Burger Monger Monday and $3 Dog Dog Thursday. For Burger Monger loyalty diners — there is no charge to join — there is $5 Chicken Sandwich Wednesday and, with a college ID, a 20 percent discount on Tuesday. The special on Wednesday is also for the Monger Caesar Salad.

Burger Monger is at 903 East Bloomingdale Ave., in the Bloomingdale Square shopping center at the corner of Bloomingdale and Bell Shoals roads. For more information, call (813) 684-7982.

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