Le Burger throws out convention and leaves it all up to you.
A walk down Mariahilfer Straße is like life in fast-forward. Businesses shut down and new ones take their place, while others just get a seasonal facelift.
One storefront on Vienna’s longest shopping drag managed to pull off a trifecta of all of the above: Where a McDonald’s once stood, an Austrian premium food franchise, Le Burger, has transformed the shopworn venue into a shiny, modern eatery with a slightly slower pace.
Upon entering, I was welcomed by a friendly employee offering a menu and instructions for ordering. Decorated with a swarm of incandescent light bulbs, the sleek, industrial interior combines exposed cement walls and vertical gardens with the aroma of sizzling patties, fries and onion rings wafting from the open kitchen. Intrigued and intimidated by the manifold choices, I grab a seat upstairs with a view of the busy shoppers outside.
Mariahilfer Straße is the third location and new flag-ship of the Le Burger franchise. Founded in 2014, the first two are in the familiar surroundings of food courts in the Auhof and Donauplex shopping centers. What sets the Mariahilf location apart is the sit-down restaurant section with traditional self-service on the ground floor. What remains the same is its concept and motto: “Einen Burger für Jedermanns Geschmack,” or “A burger to fit everyone’s taste.”
This means that every burger can be customized with over 20 available toppings and is made fresh – including vegetarian and low-carb options (without the bun). Adventurous patrons can even mix their own sodas, although whether they should is an entirely different question.
Overwhelmed and hoping to avoid creating a Frankenburger, I opted for the Farmhouse (smoked bacon, cheddar, fried egg, roast onions, grilled mushrooms, mayo and BBQ sauce) with a side of onion rings, and a local craft beer (so €15.40 for the menu).
My meal arrived promptly, only a few sips into my beer. Flipping the burger over to unwrap it was a delight, revealing the sandwich already the right side up. Digging in, I could taste the freshly fried egg and the oozing cheddar. I helped myself to sauce from the dispensers and took a bite of warm onion rings, juicy on the inside, crispy-gold on the outside. A satisfying meal overall, the bun a bit bland, reminiscent of Micky D’s variety.
Waiting for the bill I noticed another quirky feature of Le Burger: Service buttons bolted to the surface of the tables, airplane style. I clicked it and immediately got the staff’s attention.
Le Burger has an ambitious menu, ranging from breakfasts and salads to their signature burgers and homemade milkshakes. They proudly inform us that most, if not all, ingredients are locally sourced or fairtrade. Combined with the spiffy decor and R&B pumping over the speakers, it’s a palatable pit stop from the hustle and bustle surrounding it.
7., Mariahilfer Straße 114 (flagship store)
Mon–Thu, 08:00-00:00; Fri & Sat, 08:00-01:00; Sun 09:00-22:00
(01) 905 96 15