Met up with a new burger joint in the San Diego (Miramar) area. Woody’s Burgers recently set up shop along Miramar Road in a previous location once inhabited by Boll Weevil and the more recent Bangin’ Burgers.
My first and foremost question is, “What makes Woody’s think THEY can survive?” I don’t know the whole story with the other two previous restaurants and their relationship with the owners of the property, the terms of their lease or the success of their business’. All I do know is that Boll Weevil had over a dozen locations in San Diego since 1967 and are now only five franchises strong. (Bollweevilrestaurants.com, 2013) I remember the reason we used to eat at the various Boll Weevils throughout the county was the good sized burger served up basically plain and the onion, pickles and other condiments including jalapeno’s were on the table for you to build your own. It was, at the time, a somewhat unique experience.
So I met the owner of Woody’s at a promotional booth set up in support of the Marines’ start of their summer season. This is an on-base event to promote summer activity safety and awareness. I too was involved with a promotinal booth at the event. Woody’s was promoting the openeing of their restaurant just outside the gate of MCAS Miramar in hopes to draw a significant following from the 2000 sample burgers they provided for the event. I asked the owner about the inspiration for the name. He gave some far-fetched story that “Woody” was just a nick-name shortened from his last name. Yeah right, probably carefully designed so CritDicks like me would use the name to explain what we just ate, “I just got a Woody”.
Whatever his motivation, his team at the event was preparing flat-grilled cheese covered thick burger samples on top of two leaves of butter lettuce (I’m impressed already) with a squirt of house special 1000 islands dressing. The dressing was good, I’m not sure about the burger itself because it was cooked well done (probably a safe measure); but it was still juicy, I just didn’t get much of the flavor. That aside, it’s a lot to be dropping for the promotional opportunity to make a first impression. I kept asking everyone that attended the event with me if they thought the burger was good. It rested at a 50% approval. 1/2 thought it was good and 1/2 thought it was lacking. But “Woody” was handing out 2 for 1 promotional coupons so we’ll really give ’em a try in their restaurant. I’m guessing real soon. I think they had the promo thing down. Get the customer in the store! Even if you break even with the food costs, you have an opportunity to win a long-time customer. Woody also claims to have brought the jazz and karaoke music idea with him from his first store in Palm Springs. A bit confusing on the website action since their Miramar location doesn’t seem to pop on Google to well. They have a nice looking site but perhaps a bit confusing. I’ve looked at both their Palm Springs site and the Miramar site multiple times and, as of this writing, I can’t positively tell you if and when they have the music. Maybe I had distractions. Ok, I went back and I’m still confused about the entertainment thing after another brief website visit, but what I did find is a large host of San Diego brewery drafts on tap. I definitely think he could keep in the game if he can “tap” into this crowd.
Woody further explained to me that his burger had outperformed Burger Lounge in a recent local competition. Woody claims his burger finished second place and Burger Lounge finshed 4th. You see I just recently ate at Burger Lounge and thought them to be quite tasty and the restaurant experience to be unique for a variety of reaons, possibly to be mentioned later. But what stands out in my mind about Burger Lounge is when we went to visit them a couple weeks ago and since we were unaware of how to get to the La Jolla location, we happened upon their delivery truck . . . Now stopped at a traffic signal and being the consummate environmental stewards we are we paid close attention; because just as the delivery truck made the left turn in front of us, we saw the side door swing open and an empty crate and 5-gallon jug of deep fate fryer oil fly out of the door and slide across the street. Just as I was able to get my phone ready, he began to pull over as we were passing him. So, although the Burger Lounge burger (I actually had the Lamb “special”, I have a thing for Lamb) was very good, I didn’t have their “regular” beef burger, so I really can’t compare.
Not to be out done, half way through the event I had to go to a small going away party at my office in which the meal that was being served was In-N-Out Burgers. So now which did I feel had the most merit?
Of the three I’m writing about, Burger Lounge . . . I did not try the beef burger . . . out!
Woody’s . . . I didn’t really have an entire burger . . . out!
I know I can go to an In-N-Out and get what I’m expecting; and since they are almost everywhere now, I’m going with them . . . for now. This battle may be continued at any time and entail other burger joints as well . . . I’m already thinking the ol’ standby Carls Junior.
So if you get a chance in Palm Springs or San Diego . . . ,