Pincho Factory, a new Latin-inspired fast-casual, is known for a number of things, including its namesake pinchos (skewers of grilled meat), burgers and fries. For the Miami-born concept, Chef/Co-owner Nedal Ahmad created the Toston Burger as an LTO. “It was by far our biggest LTO of all time,” he says. “What started on our chalkboard with plantains as buns grew into one of our best sellers on the permanent menu.” He attributes the success to the combination of the salty-sweet, crunchy tostones (fried plantains) with the umami-rich beef patty. “When married with our cilantro mayo, jack cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, it was magic. There were a lot of reasons people really accepted this dish broadly. Primarily, it was different—we brought together Latin American flavors to the good old-fashioned cheeseburger, and people were hooked,” says Ahmad. “The texture is another huge part of the experience—that crunch, with the creamy and savory elements, make it a well-rounded and balanced dish.” Since its established popularity, he’s expanded the toston as a carrier to other LTOs, including both chicken and shredded beef sandwiches.
Ahmad concedes that not every creative idea for bun substitution works quite as well. “My worst LTO in history had chocolate chip cookies as buns,” he says. “Having experimented a lot with sweet and savory flavors, I really thought this thing would be great. Needless to say, I have paved the road of failure on cookie buns, so you don’t have to. You’re all welcome.”