The better-burger movement continues its charge. At Dugg Burger, coming up with the “Dugg Dozen” of toppings has offered up a learning curve. “When we originally conceived of the Dugg Dozen, our first instinct was to ‘plus-out’ the recipe of each topping individually,” says Jeff Braunstein, managing partner and founder. “The initial versions of each were complicated, with bold flavors and complex preparations. Tasting them à la carte, they were amazing, but when we combined multiple toppings on the burger, we found the flavors fought with each other and were not always complementary. We went back to the drawing board and scaled back every recipe. We learned that simple preparation with the highest quality ingredients led to the best-tasting combinations.”
Now, diners at Dugg can order toppings like hickory-smoked bacon, crispy onion straws and fire-roasted jalapeños. A thirteenth topping, dubbed “Lucky 13,” is chosen by guests and rotates as a novelty ingredient throughout the year. Past items have included Stuffing and Corn Casserole for Thanksgiving, Bloody Mary Ketchup and Scrambled Eggs for Breakfast Week. Another nice touch comes through the technique of dressing tomato and lettuce in a housemade vinaigrette. “It’s a very simple thing, but it sets up the taste buds to respond to more flavors at the same time,” says Braunstein.
Dugg Burger also differentiates itself with a unique build: By digging out the top portion of the bun with a special “Dugg tool,” the concept is able to reverse the burger-building process. Rather than starting with the patty and then adding toppings, the team fills the bun with toppings chosen by guests in a build-as-you-go fashion. The burger patty is then added hot off the grill after all ingredients are loaded, giving customers a customized burger that hasn’t been cooled off by the traditional burger-build process.