the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir.a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.“finding the person who’s right for you requires a very subtle alchemy”
Like a scene from Forrest Gump, Epik Burger has proven there is no shortage of ways to make a burger: BBQ burger, Korean burger, salmon burger, chicken burger, vegan burger, and on and on. Epik has created an almost cult following, and with food delivery services like BiteSquad, locals are getting their hands on Epik’s burgers one way or another.
Chef Korey Konopasek has been working on his next big project for quite some time. Epik already offers fantastic burgers of every variety, including some high brow hits. But that is all done by changing up quality toppings and spreads, made in house. It’s still the same burger under the dressings of choice. What if he started with a super high end burger patty the likes of which no restaurant in Jax has ever offered? What could he do with it from there? And would people even be into it?
Enter: The Alchemy Burger. This is not just any burger. This baby is made with black grade wagyu beef from Snake River Farms. Chef Korey grinds the ribeye and brisket in house to make his own wagyu ground beef patty, the quality of which he can assess himself. He knew from the get go if this was going to work he’d need to approach it with some creative problem solving. Yes, Epik Burger makes everything in house. What they do, they do well. But they are a fast casual burger place. They don’t have the staff or the set up to attend to a very specific dish that requires detailed execution. This Alchemy Burger would need a perfect process that could be replicated without a trained chef. So Chef Korey went about making a way. He settled on sous videing the burger patties and finishing them with a torch sear. This way the meat would be brought to what Chef Korey feels is the perfect temperature (126 degrees), and a nice sear would finish it off and raise the temperature to about 132/133. He also had to figure out what to put on the burger. What would enhance it? What would distract? He decided this quality of meat needed to speak for itself; no veggies on this burger. He would come to make his own american cheese, taking the Old Quebec Vintage Cheddar he already uses on other burgers as a base for this specialty American in order to tamp down the tang of a high quality cheddar. He would make his own truffle butter and dijon aioli. He would chop Heritage Farms Thick Cut Bacon to top the burger with, so that the heft of the bacon didn’t overpower the buttery soft meat and cause it to fall apart. With the preparation of the burger and the toppings figured out, he was left with the experience of The Alchemy Burger. Certainly this burger was worthy, nay required, a completely different dining experience than anything else on his menu. So he thought about the dining experience and has filled in all the pieces for you. The Alchemy Burger is served medium rare(only!). It comes with a heaping portion of Heritage Farms Bacon Cheese Fries, a Pellegrino, and a cloth napkin. This is not a burger, it’s an experience.
We tried the Alchemy Burger. (You’re welcome, it was a sacrifice we were willing to make for your sake.) It is like no other burger you have had. The meat is incredible- soft, rich, flavorful, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth. The toppings add to the richness of this burger. It would be very hard to eat a whole Alchemy Burger. Like all very high quality wagyu it’s very very rich. We suggest splitting this burger with a friend because more than half is a bit overwhelming. The Heritage Farms Bacon Cheese Fries are quite enjoyable in their own right. The chopped bacon, cheese, chopped cornichons balance so well, then you dip each fry in housemade dijon aioli and oh my stars! It is absolutely delicious. The Pellegrino actually paired perfectly with the Alchemy Burger and fries. You don’t really want soda to mess with your palate while you are enjoying something so unique and well thought out. It also helps to take away the coating all very fatty things tend to leave in your mouth. And while the cloth napkin is there so you can feel a bit fancy, you’re going to need to some extra napkins because this is one juicy burger.
There are some understandable rules around the Alchemy Burger. It has been created as a masterpiece, and with a $70 price tag it needs to be experienced as the masterpiece it is. Due to the preparation it has to be ordered in advance, preferably at least two hours. It also has to be paid for in advance because of the high cost of the meat, which is easy enough when ordering online or over the phone. It cannot be ordered to go. You can absolutely take home what you don’t finish, but the team at Epik is not about to send a $70 burger to sit in yours or anyone else’s car for an unknown amount of time before it is eaten. As an aside, every restaurateur we have spoken to has lamented the rise of food delivery services. They are of course grateful for the business, but have all expressed concern that so many people are eating their food after it has sat for some time and no longer tastes fresh they way they send it out from the kitchen. We have actually heard this the most from fast casual restaurants, surprisingly. You do you, but consider that the food delivered to your door was better 20-30 minutes ago when it came out of an oven.
Don’t miss the Ridikulous shakes that have been added to Epik Burger’s menu. They are massive and made for sharing. The vanilla is topped with blondies, whipped cream, and cookie straws, while the chocolate is topped with brownies, whipped cream, and a chocolate cookie straw. These are delightfully whimsical and instagrammable creations.
Are you thinking that this all sounds great, but $70 is a crap ton of money for a burger? You’re right! This is not a burger that will be on our regular rotation, but it is definitely worth trying once, or enjoying on a special occasion for the true burger connoisseur. It would be a lot easier on the wallet if you went halvsies with a friend. I promise you won’t leave hungry that way. If you split it four ways you will have paid almost $20 and will definitely be hungry, so that sounds like a bad deal to me, but maybe you just want a couple bites. I don’t know you, I don’t know your life.
Hats off to Chef Korey and the team at Epik Burger for creating a truly unique experience and a grateful nod for figuring out how to offer this burger consistently and excellently executed. You have performed true alchemy in your quest for this most divine burger.
Where is Epik Burger?
Epik Burger is located on Atlantic Blvd between Kernan and Hodges.