Elevation Burger Escalates Onto West 14th Street

The Elevation burger is big and lush, but it might remind you of Five Guys'.

So cheap to make, so easy to sell, hamburgers form a culinary motif of our economically downtrodden age. Stand-alone shops, bistros, and chains dispensing them have increased tenfold over the last five years in the city, so that, if you throw a pickle chip in any direction, you're likely to hit someone eating a burger.

Cooked in olive oil, the fries are extraordinary.

In the economic sweet spot just above cut-rate mega-chains like Burger-King, Wendy's, and McDonald's, new slightly upscale chains have arisen, such as Five Guys and Better Burger, where some claim is made as to the goodness of the product and origins of the meat. These places have discovered they can charge twice as much for a burger as it costs at McDonald's and its ilk, while still seeming a bargain.

The latest entry in the burger franchise wars is Elevation Burger, which outdoes nearly any establishment in its category with a design package that includes a steely-blue-and-snow-white color scheme, featuring steep, snow-capped mountains, white clouds, and blazing alpine sun, almost taking your breath away as you run your eye down the menu. The first outpost is located at 103 West 14th Street, indicating that Elevation (what an uplifting name!) is poised to go against the big chains. Echoing Chipotle, the menu promises "100% USDA-Certified Organic, 100% Grass Fed, 100% Free-Range Beef, Ground on the Premises, Fresh Vegetables and Produce [notice, this isn't claiming "Organic"], Fresh Cut Fries, Cooked in Heart Healthy Olive Oil."

Like Five Guys, the chain was spawned in the Washington, D.C., area, and, like its inspiration, the standard burger has two patties, costing $5.99 before tax. Moreover, Elevation Burger offers a roster of things to put on top of your burger similar to Five Guys', but slightly more upscale, including "balsamic mustard" (yuck!) and hot pepper relish (yum!).

The spacious interior.

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