A couple of Fridays ago, our daughter bailed on her babysitting duties – a trip to Six Flags suddenly came up – and so Marie stayed home with the three year-old while I went out to Zinburger’s opening night soiree. They invited the best and the brightest of Buckhead society, and also a bunch of us scruffy bloggers, for their red-carpet premiere event to benefit Camp Twin Lakes, and I’d really appreciate it if you clicked that link and checked out what they do.
Zinburger was founded by Samuel Fox six years ago, and his team, Fox Restaurant Concepts, operates four locations in Arizona: two each in Tuscon and in Phoenix. On the east coast, The Briad Group has licensed the brand and operates nine restaurants in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. The newest location in Lenox Square Mall is their first in Georgia.
There’s usually some big shindig or other going on at Lenox, and it seemed as though Zinburger’s red carpet event was happening at the same time as some other big launch or something elsewhere in the shopping center. A note to the savvy: there are actually at least two valet stations at this mall, and one of them is very conveniently located right around the corner from Zinburger, so you can park your car quite promptly and stroll past Zinburger’s very nice patio on your way to a good meal. There’s another valet station that everybody else tries to use, resulting in long lines and impatient people in Ford Tahoes mounting the curb in frustration and getting themselves in trouble with the police, conspicuously. Don’t be like them.
Zinburger is in a really nicely-designed space, staffed by some fantastic servers, some of the best in the business. The company really cares about doing it right and pleasing guests, and this crew was absolutely on-point, answering questions and handling the roar of the mob and the very loud music. About the only question that I didn’t get answered was whether the music is going to be so loud during regular service. One server told me that she hoped not.
I started the evening on the patio with the Friday Date Night duo and Anish from Spatialdrift. At this point in the evening, most of what was coming from the kitchen and making it as far as us were the salads – the BLT, with ranch dressing and parmesan cheese, was quite good, but everybody really enjoyed the Napa, with dried fruits, almonds and goat cheese – and some wines and other drinks. The “Zingria,” made with Zinfandel, Triple Sec, lime and raspberry, was my favorite.
I said hello to Serina and LC from Hot Dish Review, and wandered into the back of the restaurant, where both the air conditioning and Bella Vivere were. And burgers! The kitchen was turning out slider-sized samplers as quickly as they could, with buns from Best Bread Baking Company, and here, in a booth in the back, we were better poised to try some. Hadn’t caught up with Bella V. for shop talk and gossip in ages, and we enjoyed the signature Zinburger, with mayo, cheese, and onions braised in Zinfandel, and the quite good Diablo, a similar flavor with an extra pep of spice, with jalapenos, pepperjack, caramelized onions, and a chipotle sauce. They boast that the burgers “are scratch-made and cooked to order on a griddle in their own juices. The Certified Angus beef and American-style Kobe beef (is) ground fresh twice a day.”
The milkshakes were completely amazing. The salted caramel was my favorite – it’s made with dulce de leche ice cream and it’s powerfully salty – but the Bars of Zin, despite the odd name, was pretty tasty as well. It’s chocolate ice cream with a hazelnut spread and mixed-in Kit Kat bars. How incredibly neat.
Gregg J., who writes for several places including Eat.Drink.Repeat, invited me to join him and some other local food writers, Jason Dominy, and Beer Geek ATL to say hellos and be social. That’s what this event was all about – saying hello to Atlanta and being very social. My ears were ringing by the time I made it out to the patio again. Enough people indoors had their fill of milkshakes and stopped intercepting the servers so that the people on the patio could see how wonderful they were. I was tempted by another salted caramel, but figured I’d had one milkshake too many at this point, and still had to drive home. (smile) Overall, it was a very fun event, with lots of happy people. Seemed like a good welcome to the neighborhood for our new friends from Arizona.
(As noted, this was a media event and our meal was complimentary. It’s our policy to always note when we’ve received our meal without charge. If you would like to invite us to your restaurant’s media events, please drop Grant a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
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