One of my favorite summer indulgences has got to be a good old fashion American Cheeseburger,
Not a hamburger, veggie burger, turkey burger, black bean burger, or some weird tofu wanna be burger. The classic grilling bite always brings me back to memories full of friends and seemingly endless summers from my hometown in Long Island. They also remind me of the oh so hilarious arguments between my mother and her boyfriend (with the WORST NY accent ever) on the best way to grill them.
You can only imagine how excited I was when FINALLY a burger joint opened up in Coconut Grove.
LoKal actually has been opened since December of last year. The name originates from the german word, which means restaurant and meeting place. This place has a playful, modern zing, the outdoor seating is next to a retro, painted graffiti wall and the inside just screams burger joint. There is a bar inside full of loCal beers on draft and bottled. If you’re a mixed drink guru you might want to check out some over priced, egotistical burger place on the beach. LoKal is much more of your neighborhood hang out,(quite suitable for the grove). Maybe, it’s the spunky servers, or $2 PBRS that makes you feel welcome. The seating inside is a bit close, but out-doors is a little more spread out, and you will no doubt stay cool with their speedy fans. One thing that makes this place stand out is that they are EXTREMELY dog friendly. LoKal loves dogs so much that they even have a menu for your pets. If you sit outside your pet is treated just as well as you, and they drink out of his or her own bowl.
My boyfriend and I chose to sit outside since it was after all a beautiful sunny day. We decided to split 2 things since, we arrived at an awkwardly 3pm “late lunch” time (which is even extremely normal for Miami). We were shortly greeted by our server who was super cool and fiery. The servers usually wear suspenders to give them a more edgy look however, they are all super sweet. The menu was very appetizing. Everything is based upon local ingredients and freshness. LoKal also grounds their “local” meat every day. I let my boyfriend makes the burger decision since, no one could no wrong ordering on their brilliantly, bold burger menu.
For a snack, I was in between ordering us the Heirloom tomatoes with Maytag blue cheese and the Fresh Gator Strips. My daring instincts told me to go with the gator and, I was interested to check out their spin on one of my oddly favorite snacks. He chose the Lokal burger, which was just so utterly appropriate for us first timers. She then asked us if we wanted sweet potato fries, regular or 50/50. Alas, I can have my cake and eat it too! This is the greatest remedy for my indecisive self. I love french fries and sweet potato fries equally….so naturally, we went 50/50. I was pumped!
Also, we all know weird burger bistros are on the rise but. this menu had me on the edge of my seat. All of the meaty patties are Florida grass-fed LoKally from Ocala. According to the website, They are free-range, Kobe-style cattle and have no hormones, antibiotics or steroids. Oh and I am just warning you, just because these burgers are local does not mean they are lo-calORIE…the name can throw you off.
These burgers struck my fancy and are ones I want to go back and try:
Frita: Kind of similar to the Columbian super perro dog, topped with guava jelly and stuffed with potato sticks, pressed down(like a cuban) but, interestingly topped with melted grueye….mmmm
Miami Heat: Of course, this would appeal to my tabasco obsessed palate…served with spicy mayo, my favorite pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and the greatest thing japan or china (same thing right?) brought to the United States…siracha
My Childhood Dream:Can you say savory and sweet? This one sums it up with a bacon cheeseburger in a seared donut. Yup.
In addition to these unique but, tasty sounding burgers like every other burger menu in Miami there has to be one
gotti diamond of all burgers on there. LoKal offers 2 burgers and a bottle of their “Finest” champagne for $300…like I don’t even know why these places do that, it’s corny and no one is going to buy that…unless he or she is as dumb as Flavor Flav. They do have unusually tasty additional toppings such as fried eggs, New Mexico Chili Guacamole, Guava Jelly, Canadian Bacon and Maytag Blue Cheese for an extra cost. The difference between LoKal and most other Miami Burger Joints is that not everything shouts bacon (which I do not mind at all). There were sandwiches that included southern classics like crispy Chicken and waffles and a dreamy, Grouper Reuben. Salads like the Crispy Chicken and Whole Leaf Caesar Salad with Rock Shrimp sounded as equally tempting.
Shortly after sipping on our cheap but, oh so refreshing beers our local gator strips from Starke, FL arrived (job well done, Cyperss Creeke Farm). It was a decent sized appetizer for up to 3 to share. It was presented very much prettier than I expected. My boyfriend and I bit into one and both locked eyes. We both knew they were the best gator bites we ever had. It came with a cocktail and spicy mayo sauce that my boyfriend stopped me from drinking. The sauce had a unique tang to it that I later realized was old bay seasoning. The chewy strips were fried perfectly and definitely had some of that seafood spice in them. The plate was also generously surrounded by the old bay. I found it appropriate but, I think there may have been too much. The salad underneath it was so complimenting to the fried pieces over it. I wanted a salad too so, I got my wish and had the best of both worlds. The mixed greens were even lightly dressed in a lemon type vinaigrette.
While we were
inhaling finishing the rest of the gator our LoKal burger arrived. It looked like a pinterest picture I could not imagine eating because, it looked so sexually, divine. It even had the restaurants logo stamped on the masterpiece. Also, I am VERY picky on how my burger is cooked. Overcooked meat=cardboard. If you order your meat well done, you might as well save some money and eat frekin’ bark. I am sure they would taste the same. However, this one was cooked to order-medium and precisely pink all over. The LoKal burger was served with their homemade honey mustard, homestead avocados, Florida tomatoes and Onions (what would a burger be without that necessary crunch?). Yeah, the burger is Florida fed and all that organic, green mombo jumbo but, man the thing really tasted like I was eating health and delectable all at once. I don’t know if it was all the local ingredients or farm fed cow that produced such an amazing combo. but, it was so satisfying. If you thought they could not get LoKal enough, the honey mustard is made from local honey.
The french fries were so finger lickin’ good, literally I licked the honey mustard off my fingers after dipping. I also, dipped the potato fries into what was left of the spicy mayo. The sweet potato fries were not overly sweet so you could actually taste the sweet potato which was refreshing. The fries were not overly salty either like every other restaurant you go to. You could tell the fries were freshly cut and they tasted like potatoes. I don’t know about you, but most fries I have eaten typically taste like salt and are too crispy too even tell what the hell they are made of.
The entire experience of LoKal felt friendly and “farmtasticly” pleasing. The prices were a little more than your fast food burger but, well worth it since the cows were treated with the utter most respect and they have local gator for crying out loud. Lord knows, the Everglades can loose a couple of them. The icing on the cake was that the waitress even took off 2 beers off our bill. If you have an appreciation for local beers and exceptionally outrageous burgers, bring out your beer belly here.
LoKal is just what the Grove was missing.