While many may argue the merits of what makes one of our fellow citizens a true ‘celebrity’, I don’t think it matters in our ever connected day and age. Delux Burger Bar, which is part of the always growing Century Hospitality Group, has been running a Celebrity of the Month hamburger since Ryan Jespersen first broke the mold in July of 2009. Since then, it’s been a mix of Edmontonians who either love food and/or their community. So sure, Delux could ask an Edmonton Oiler or Edmonton Eskimo to be a part of the fray, and that might fill the celebrity quotient, but it’s people like Jerry Aulenbach who deserve the credit every so often.
Not exactly shy in the world of social media, Jerry, who might be known to more people as @ZoomJer, is part family man, part realtor, part bacon aficionado, and part dedicated supporter. While I’ve known about Jerry for some time, our paths didn’t officially cross until earlier this year at the City Market on 104th. From that point on, it’s been a growing relationship that has moved to include some quality time with our significant others. With Jerry being the Celebrity Chef for November, a party of sorts was soon created with both Facebook and Twitter awash with excitement.
Having never visited the West Edmonton Mall location, I was really surprised by how sharp the space is. Bright and modern, it fits really well between the considerably more chain orientated restaurants on Bourbon St. With the elevated section at the back set aside for those attending, Sarah, Miz J, and myself made our way back and snagged a corner booth. Quickly joined by Edmonton Journal food editor, Kerry Powell and her kind husband Greg, our table took in the burger eating action. What makes Jerry’s burger, The Double Bacon Foursqaure Burger so unique? Made with Diamond Willow 100% organic beef, the patty is topped with a slice of sweet pineapple, Havarti jalapeno cheese, mayo, red onion, lettuce, and of course 2 strips of Irving’s Farm smoked bacon. Sounds pretty good no?
While Jerry isn’t going to be living at Delux this month, he was kind enough to help the wait stuff deliver some of his creations. Our table alone ended up consuming 5 of Jerry’s creations, while I Greg and I also threw in 2 other burgers just for good measure. First, I have to say that the fries, both the sweet potato and regular, as well as the onion rings are fantastic. Arriving in tiny little shopping carts that would put the kids carts at IKEA to shame, they were salted, warm, and crispy. The rings also succeed in that the crust was crispy enough to allow for a complete bite; ie, you didn’t end up pulling the entire slice of onion out, leaving you with a deep fried carcass.
The burgers themselves, were in a word, good. We had a few glitches at our table, with one burger going back as it was missing components. I know the kitchen was busy during our event, but missing an item like pineapple..that needs to be solved. The ciabatta was a nice change, but maybe a bit too dense for my liking. The patty, which was over cooked, was probably saved by the juicy slices of grilled pineapple and crispy bacon. Oh, and the bite from fresh red onions!! Overall, I think Jerry’s done a great job of creating something fun and unique. I should mention that Jerry’s burger is $11, with $1 from each going to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. As well, you can save yourself a buck by showing the wait staff your Foursqaure check-in notification. Oh Jerry, you and your social media!
Besides the celebrity offerings, Greg ordered The Deluxe Burger ($11.50)- 8 oz. Black Angus beef, blue cheese infused, caramelized onions, portabella mushroom, double smoked bacon, ciabatta bun. Arriving on another ciabatta (do I sense a trend), I gathered that Greg and Kerry seemed to enjoy the burger, but found it a little dry and possibly saved by the sweet, delicious caramelized onions. My order was the Kobe Burger ($20) – 8 oz. Kobe beef, double smoked bacon, caramelized onions, applewood smoked cheddar, spicy mayo, with all the groceries, fresh baked kaiser, finished with kosher dill pickle & onion rings. And yes, you read that right, twenty bucks! Digging into the gigantic burger, I found the jet black and crusty exterior gave way to a well done center. A shame really, as even the cheese seemed to have melted away under the high heat leaving me with all but a soft bun and delicious bacon to snack on. I can’t believe I spent $20 bucks on this.
Just like my recent experience at Zinc, I realize that this night wasn’t a typical dining experience. With over 60 of Jerry’s burger creations being served, and a whole slew of guests and friends, Delux Burger Bar was probably behind the ball from the start. The biggest problem for me, was what gives this restaurant its name; the burgers, of which they really only have a few if you take out the fish and veggie. While I can look past Jerry’s monthly addition, both the Kobe and Delux were nothing special. If you are going to be a proud burger bar, then I hope you can make a good burger. Yet, located in the massive West Edmonton Mall, I wonder if the constant flow of shoppers and tourists will even mind the well-done burgers when they are probably too busy people watching.