Today's AHT reader recommendation comes from Rod Schiffman (aka brownbag on AHT) in Salt Lake City. The Copper Onion appeared in Salt Lake magazine's latest issue as one of the best burgers in Utah. Thanks, Rob! If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, here's how to do it. —The Mgmt.


[Photographs: Rod Schiffman]

The Copper Onion

111 E. Broadway, Suite 170, Salt Lake City UT 84111 (map); 801-355-3282;
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: Built from ingredients supplied by local purveyors, it hits on most cylinders
Want Fries With That? Sure; steak-fries with crisp outsides and melting insides sprinkled nice large grains of salt
Price: 1/4-pound copper onion burger and fries, $11; with cheddar, + $1
Notes: The burger is only available on the lunch menu.

A recent addition to the Salt Lake dining scene, The Copper Onion has been getting rave reviews from friends and critics. I noticed the obligatory burger entrée on the lunch menu and decided I had better check it out.

The burger is a 1/4-pound patty made from fresh ground sirloin, griddle fried to order. My medium rare burger came exactly as ordered. There's a lot of juice and enough fat to create an excellent mouthfeel and beefy flavor. It has a good crust that serves as a base for a spectacular layer of onions. The onions are caramelized with a slightly sweet red wine sauce until they just barely keep their original form. They move this burger from yet another gourmet burger to something more memorable. There's a layer of shredded lettuce that provides more texture that flavor. That's the way I like it.


The bun is a restaurant-made challah that provides an excellent bun to meat balance with just the right give and enough strength to handle all the juice from the beef. My only quibble is that it needs to be toasted. The mayonnaise on the top bun adds a lot to the lettuce. The cheddar melts into the meat and provides a nice accent without being overbearing.

All the ingredients work together to create an excellent burger, but even with the excellent onions, it just doesn't have that gestalt that moves it beyond that sum of its parts. Despite that, it's one of the best burgers around town. You can pay more for less at many places and there are few credible burgers in the area that are cheaper.

The service is top notch. This is one of those times when it's nice to be able to have a good bottle of wine with a burger. The steak fries compliment the burger well, but like the burger, stand on the edge of greatness without being great. I think a little coarser grind on the meat and a toasted bun could make all the difference in the world. But in the end, would I come back just for this burger? Yes, I think I would. —brownbag

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