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Burger Central Opens in Leander

Leander, TX has officially arrived. This Saturday, Burger Central celebrated its grand opening. What makes Burger Central so special? Quality.

All their burgers come from grass-fed cows that have been certified Animal Welfare Approved. The patties are hand-shaped and seasoned in the Burger Central kitchen, where they’re grilled to order. What’s not to love?

Granted, most diners only care about eating a good tasting burger. Thankfully, Burger Central has plenty of those. They’ve got an extensive menu featuring all kinds of titillating combinations: blue cheese burgers, barbecued burgers with grilled onions and mushrooms, even the infamous Ghost Burger featuring a signature sauce made from the world’s hottest pepper (my husband’s favorite!).

Saturday’s grand opening couldn’t have been more fun. While we waited for our order, young men dressed handsomely in prim white hats passed out a never ending array of free samples. Complimentary treats included bottles of Stewart’s Root Beer and Cream Soda, scoops of Blue Bell Ice Cream, freshly popped corn, sweet potato fries, and sliders which were mini-versions of the burgers on their menu. The kids also enjoyed playing on a giant inflatable slide & getting their face painted by Shortcake the clown.

Burger Central’s owner, Tracy Gunther has done her best to build the highest quality burger around. With the help of her husband Andrew, the program director for the Animal Welfare Approved certification system (arguably the most rigorous and progressive third party certification program in the nation), Tracy has been able to source beef that’s “beyond organic.” And, in as much as the pair is able to, they are finding and using local sources of food to supply the new restaurant.

You’ll notice the difference in the details: the handmade buns coming from a bakery out of Houston, the sliced tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes rather than cardboard, the delectable all-beef burgers, and the homemade blends of spices and dressings.

Owner Tracy Gunther (left) with Manager Eileen (right)

Owner Tracy Gunther (left) with Manager Eileen (right)

So, if you’re in the Austin/Cedar Park/Leander area, swing by Burger Central and check them out. They’re reasonably priced, friendly, and open daily from 11am to 9pm at 1005 South Highway 183.

Now, I just need to get them to fry their homemade french fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings in tallow instead of veggie oil!

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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16 Responses to Burger Central Opens in Leander
  1. Leesie
    August 3, 2009 | 4:46 pm

    Wow, that sounds terrific – as far as I know, we don’t have anything like that around here by me. A dear friend of mine lives in the Dallas area, a bit far for her too ;)

    Great picture – what an adorable little boy you have Kristen!!!

  2. Shaun
    August 3, 2009 | 5:44 pm

    Do they take debit/credit cards there at Burger Central or is it cash only?

  3. KristenM
    August 3, 2009 | 5:56 pm

    Shaun — They take debit/credit cards.

    Leesie — I’m so excited. Up until Burger Central opened, I had to drive all the way into Austin anytime I wanted to eat someplace that sourced their meats well. Now I just have to drive around the corner!

  4. Betsy
    August 3, 2009 | 7:14 pm

    My goodness, what a heart-throb in that first picture! Looks like he’s going to grow up to be a leading man in a 50s era romantic comedy. Oh, those big blue eyes!

    Er, this is about hamburgers, yes? That sounds like a wonderful place. I’ll have to look for something like that in San Antonio.

  5. Daily Diner
    August 3, 2009 | 7:26 pm

    I love a good burger. Seriously love.
    .-= Daily Diner

  6. Lee
    August 3, 2009 | 9:23 pm

    what a great idea for a burger joint. thanks for the great post and recap. how do i start lobbying to get one in minneapolis?
    .-= Lee

    August 3, 2009 | 10:05 pm

    What an adorable place! I love (and miss) Blue Bell ice cream. The best in Texas!

  8. DM
    August 3, 2009 | 10:09 pm

    I went there last thurs. and loved it!! Tracy is so nice.

  9. Danna Seevers
    August 4, 2009 | 12:16 am

    Wow!! That is so cool! We need to do that here in Nebraska!! By the way, your son is adorable!! Reminds of my Luke!!
    .-= Danna Seevers

  10. KristenM
    August 4, 2009 | 2:01 pm

    Danna — Thanks! His hair was sticking straight up with sweat after having played outside on the big, inflatable slide for a half hour.

    DM — It is a good place, isn’t it?

    Cheeseslave — I will confess that when I moved to Oregon, I greatly missed Blue Bell. Now that I see how easy it is to make honest-to-goodness homemade ice cream that I don’t have to feel guilty about (using honey instead of refined sugar or the HFCS in Blue Bell), I wonder just how much I’d miss it if I were to move again.

    Lee — I don’t know, but the time has surely come, hasn’t it? Most local food places around here that source good meats are swanky & a bit pricey. That has its place, but it sure is nice to eat at some place so NORMAL without feeling guilty!

    Daily Diner — You are not alone.

    Betsy — Aw, shucks. Both my boys have strawberry blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I love it!

  11. Rob Garza
    August 5, 2009 | 10:49 am

    I visited Austin this past weekend and stumbled upon Elevation Burger in the Arboretum.

    Grass fed beef burgers with quality ingredients. I wish they had sourdough or sprouted bread and used tallow instead of olive oil for the fries. But it’s a good start and I really enjoyed my burger.

  12. Kelly the Kitchen Kop
    August 5, 2009 | 4:14 pm

    Kristen, after finally seeing Food, Inc., I’m especially jealous that you have someplace nearby for a burger that you don’t have to be afraid of!

    .-= Kelly the Kitchen Kop

  13. Arlo
    August 9, 2009 | 3:34 am

    This is under the category of “real food”? REALLY?

    I think I’ve subscribed to the wrong RSS feed.

    I’m certainly not going to gush here… sorry.

    “What makes Burger Central so special? Quality.”

    Are you basing this all on their grass-fed and ethically sound ground beef?

    What quality is there in yet another pure sugar soda that everyone in the pics is gulping, killing their overwhelmed insulin response system? Heritage? Free samples? There is not one “quality” thing about pure sugar.

    Free ice cream bribes? Added sugar. Pasteurization. Homogenization. Sounds like a lot of processing to me. How is that “real”?

    “Freshly popped corn”. Again an attempt to make it sound nice “fresh!”, but again we’re talking about a sugar-filled anti-nutrient that has no place in the evolved human diet.

    “handmade buns” Another typical ploy. “Handmade” must be better, right? It’s still all grains, sugar and anti-nutrients.

    And after all the praise, you end with:

    “Now, I just need to get them to fry their homemade french fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings in tallow instead of veggie oil!”

    Which translates as “Now all I need to do is get them to fry all their insulin and glucose response inducing carbohydrates in a natural fat!”

    WTF, seriously.

    How is this REAL food? Fight back Friday? I’m trying to fight back now! I’d love to hear your response and I will admit that I am wrong if you’d like to discuss my views and your views in further detail.

    .-= Arlo

  14. KristenM
    August 9, 2009 | 9:15 am

    Arlo – While I admit some of the food isn’t “real,” I also don’t know of ANY restaurant that serves 100% real, traditional foods. And as far as it goes, the places where Burger Central compromises are in some of the least important areas. The most important thing any of us can do to immediately impact our diets is to get rid of processed/refined foods, and the second most important thing we can do is to switch back to traditional, healthy fats (like those from pastured animals).

    While it’s true they serve sodas and ice cream, you don’t have to eat them to have an enjoyable time. I know we didn’t, and we still had a blast.

    I will also say that I think you demonize carbs too much. While it’s true that Americans eat far too many carbohydrates to stay within traditional levels, it’s also true that it’s not the carbohydrate alone that makes for insulin problems. There are a number of traditional people groups out there who eat high-carb diets with no insulin or heart-health issues. The Kitavans from Papau New Ginuea eat upwards of 69% of their diet in the form of carbs, and the Okinawans (one of the longest lived and functionally aged peoples in the world) eat about 60% of their diet in the form of carbs.

    What matters most with carbohydrates is the KIND of carb it is. Is it refined, or isn’t it? Is it properly prepared, or isn’t it? And, what is your own, personal genetic background when it comes to carb consumption?

    For example, if you were from an indigenous group in Mexico, nixtamalized corn would be the staple of your diet — along with beans, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, goats, & chickens. And you could be healthy, lean, and strong eating that diet. You’d also be fully functioning into your old age. Just like the Kitavans who base all their meals on sweet potatoes, or the Okinawans who eat rice at every meal.

    So, eating fried sweet potatoes (or potatoes) fried in a traditional fat like tallow from grass-fed cows isn’t going to harm you unless you’re struggling with weight or insulin resistance. If you’re not, the occasional indulgence is a special treat.

    One important note, of course, is that these diets ONLY work b/c the people avoid all the processed & refined foods of civilization, and because their fats are highly traditional. The Kitavans cook with coconut oil, and the Okinawans with lard.

    I’m not going to demonize Burger Central for their refined sugar options (which are easily avoided) when I can praise them for all they’re doing to find good meats (a truly rare thing in these parts).
    .-= KristenM

  15. Arlo
    August 9, 2009 | 5:00 pm

    Sorry, my apologies. This post caught me at the end of a truly terrible day and I was being a bit too self-righteous.

  16. Eileen
    May 13, 2010 | 10:27 pm

    No longer serving 100% grass fed beef. New owner as of April 2010.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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