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Canyons Burger Company (Georgia)
“Play hard. Eat well.” That’s the motto of Canyons Burger Company, yet another restaurant striving to be a cut above the typical burger joint, offering cooked-to-order burgers with fresh, never-frozen meat and other ingredients. With most people trying to save money, people are searching for quality meals at venues less expensive than formal restaurants but better than fast food. Canyons provides a variety of choices, including salads and homemade chicken tenders, but patrons come for the specialty burgers.
The standard burgers—plain, cheeseburger, and bacon cheeseburger—are reasonably priced, the latter at $5.49. The specialty choices, with toppings like blue cheese crumbles, sautéed mushrooms, cole slaw, and barbecue sauce, are in the $5 to $6 range. The most expensive choice (at $7.49), also Canyons’ “burger of the year,” is the Mount Bella, a grilled burger topped with a marinated, grilled portabella cap, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and bacon. Wow.
This brings me to Canyons Burger’s theme: an active lifestyle in the great outdoors. The company is affiliated with local cycling groups and outdoor outfitters, and the restaurant is decorated with sports paraphernalia like kayaking helmets and bicycles. The TVs are turned to sports channels. Vivid posters of rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, and surfers adorn the walls. I don’t quite see the connection between participating in extreme sports and eating cheeseburgers and fries, but I give Canyons props for trying to promote an active lifestyle and appreciation for the great outdoors. Even the menu items have quirky names that reflect this rugged sports theme: Red Smoke, Blue Bayou, Grand Canyon.
Even if I can’t equate eating a juicy cheeseburger with scaling a cliff, I will say that the fresh ingredients and grilled patties at Canyons are a big draw. The restaurant prepares hand-pattied Black Angus beef and fresh produce every day. The buns are soft and don’t have that dry texture that buns get when they sit in a freezer. People can select free toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles. The meat is tender and juicy, but it doesn’t soak through the bun. When burgers have layers of toppings, they tend to slide apart or become a soggy mess, but Canyons burgers are compact enough to avoid that problem. Vegetarians and the health-conscious can choose from the Turkey Burger, a Spicy Black Bean, and a Portabella Cap, all served on a multigrain or wheat bun. Crinkle fries are the standard side item for the combo meal, but once you try the sweet potato fries you won’t want to go back to regular. They’re a satisfying blend of sweet and salty and frighteningly addictive. Other side items include onion rings, cole slaw, fresh fruit, and salad.
My top choices are the 180° Cheeseburger, the Red Smoke, and the Portabella Cap. The first selection is a classic cheeseburger. With simple toppings like lettuce, tomato, and onions, and valued at $4.99, it’s a good deal. The Red Smoke ($5.99) has bacon, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and barbecue sauce. I don’t usually have barbecue sauce on my burgers, but in this case the sauce adds some extra zest to the bacon. I recommend adding lettuce and tomato for a healthy touch. My mother, a vegetarian, prefers the Portabella Cap, a thick, juicy marinated mushroom cap topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I’m getting hungry again just writing about it. At $6.79, the Cap is on the pricier side, but it still beats the prices at formal sit-down restaurants.
Canyons Burger Company has two locations in Georgia, and management hopes to expand to neighboring states. The first Canyons opened in Old Downtown Woodstock in January 2008. The location at Cherokee Plaza Brookhaven opened later that year. I have only visited the Woodstock location. With the downtown community developing and expanding with new restaurants, town homes, and shops, Canyons draws locals searching for a fun and affordable dining experience close to home. The restaurant is also across the street from the Woodstock Park, which features free concerts and festivals. Canyons founders Sonny Crumpton and Nick Binnings say that business has grown in the past two years, and the locations of the two Canyons have to be an important factor. I won’t say that all the customers are noticeably athletic or outdoor types, but Canyons is a family-friendly restaurant that attracts a sizable crowd. In a time when many people are opting to eat in rather than dine out, that says something.
next to railroad#, at Canton Rd
and Townlake Parkway/Arnold Mill
3877 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30319