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As an old fast food guy, I’m happy to see so much creativity going into new beverage offerings in the business. But what seems missing to date are new diet versions of these drinks, for those of us who love the taste (and what pros call the “mouth feel” of crushed ice and creamy stuff), but have to push away from the excess calories and fats. Beverages are highly profitable, and will be more so when there are more low-cal options.

My old media friend Scott Hume brings the story up to date in his latest entry in his blog atβurgerβusiness%29

Ran across MBurger yesterday, behind Michigan Avenue’s Apple Store, on Huron. This inconspicuous, tiny new spot was carved out of Tru’s former pastry room, and the customer service area is 12 by 12 with just 8 rickety seats, but a fabulous window view into Tru’s kitchen. (MBurger’s parent Tru is the fine-dining restaurant with a menu that starts at $95 and goes to the moon.)

The basic burger-plus menu reminds me of the one Dick and Mac McDonald created out of their previous bar-be-cue drive-in in 1948’s San Bernardino. I had a double burger, fries and diet coke. The bill was around $8, the food served in a bag, and for a burger guy like me (retired McDonald’s VP), it was great. Juicy burgers, nice chopped lettuce and a soft bun. Fries were super shoestrings, thinner than McDonald’s, hot and tasty, like the fries you get with an authentic steak frite. Check out their menu at their simple website — I hear they will set up a nice street-side al fresco dining area when it warms up. The small staff is grown-up and friendly.

MBurger won’t be the next McDonald’s, but I’d go back. A high quality fast food burger take-out experience, with a pedigree. By the way, I didn’t buy an IPad around the corner — went online there and saw that many new IPad owners are reporting Wi-Fi connection problems. Let’s wait for the new, improved version.

February 2023

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