June 23, 2018 | ° F

Bobby’s Burger Palace opens in Princeton

It’s 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Hours before his new burger restaurant opens to the public in Princeton, N.J., chef Bobby Flay orders up a Crunch Burger – a 100 percent certified angus beef patty topped with one slice of American cheese and thin, crunchy potato chips.

When coming up with the idea for this “quintessential sandwich,” Flay thought of contrasting textures and flavors, he said.

“Crunch – it’s a fun experience,” the redheaded chef said at the grand opening of his Bobby’s Burger Palace in Princeton Market Fair, several miles down Route 1 from the banks of the Raritan. “Most people who do it do not go back.”

And that’s just one of the 10 gourmet burgers Flay serves up at this restaurant, which is his fourth location in New Jersey. The burgers reflect the chef’s travels through the United States and represent different locations on the map: The Philadelphia Burger has provolone cheese, griddled onions and hot peppers, while the Dallas burger has spice crusted coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, barbeque sauce and pickles.

Flay has clearly thought all about the burger experience when crafting his restaurant, up to the spicy chipotle sauce he serves with his French fries, and the condiments available to customers — chipotle ketchup, jalapeno hot sauce and burger sauce.

This place isn’t just burgers and fries. They’ve also got shakes, which Flay calls, “deadly,” for two reasons.

“Their texture, it’s incredibly thick. There are 11 ounces of ice cream in every shake,” he said.

The most popular shake flavors are the top three — vanilla, dark chocolate and black and white.

“The people in the know will get the pistachio,” Flay said.

The colorful interior of the restaurant provides a welcoming environment for every burger lover, complete with a serpentine curve communal counter and a light fixture that echoes its shape. Green, yellow and red can be found in almost every nook and cranny of this upscale burger joint.

Flay said the opening of a Princeton location has been in the works since 2009. He has Bobby’s Burger Palaces from New York to Washington, D.C., but New Jersey holds the highest concentration of the chain.

“My mom lives in Spring Lake and I spent summers here,” he said. “New Jersey is obviously very important.”

And as for Flay’s favorite burger on the menu, he’ll have the LA Burger, crunchified.

“I love avocado and tomato,” he said. “It has to be crunchified.”

Amy Rowe

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