American-themed hamburger joints seem to be a thing in Geneva (see: Inglewood *still my favorite). The Hamburger Foundation particularly plays up the upscale American diner feel by contrasting the classic black-and-white checkerboard flooring with dark wood accents, vintage posters and recessed lighting. F and I both ordered two bacon cheeseburgers there the other day – one of the three items on the main menu. Each burger comes with a salad, fries and coleslaw. I’ll take you on the rollercoaster ride that was my experience there.
The biggest downside to eating in at The Hamburger Foundation is the awkward arrangement of tables and the blatant inability to accommodate customers. F and I arrived and, although there were several couples sitting at four-person tables, we were made to sit in a cramped two-person table in the middle of the entire seating area. Fearing that larger parties would come that they wouldn’t be able to accommodate we weren’t really given a choice on the matter. But why penalize a customer and not another? With no coat rack around, I had nowhere to put my large down jacket. The only thing that made it better was the huge bouquet of bright white flowers that we had to our side.
Second downside is the salad. It is the first thing that’s brought to the table after you order, to be eaten as a sort of starter despite that not being everyone’s preference (ahem, me). I found it to be overdressed, with an overwhelming amount of olive oil. The mixed greens were fresh but the olive oil killed it.
The burger, fries and coleslaw come after. Right off the bat you’re thrown off by the small plastic plate that’s placed in front of you, which barely fits the food you’re eating. You’re forced to essentially disassemble it before digging in – move the fries to the side, find another place on the table for the small sample of coleslaw, etc. Also, why salad and coleslaw? I would have preferred a heftier serving of coleslaw and no salad. Having both can be a bit redundant. The coleslaw was alright although I must admit I have a special preference for those with more mayo, purple cabbage and carrots to balance out the green cabbage. You can’t go wrong with fries when they’re on the thicker side and contain traces of potato skins, as they were that night.
The rollercoaster of pros and cons came to a halting stop the moment I bit into the burger: it was impeccable. Quality meat. Perfectly cooked. Juicy. Flavorful – mostly thanks to the bacon, though. That smoky, rich bacon. The other highlight for me was the delicious brioche bread which expertly absorbed all of the hamburger’s juices without breaking apart in your hands halfway through the meal.
Although the burger meat is 100% locally-sourced (80% Geneva, 20% Vaud), as is the bacon, the burger comes complete with a tiny American flag on a toothpick. A bit too kitsch perhaps? A gorgeous burger of that caliber doesn’t need all that extra garnish, I think it even detracts from it.