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THE DISH: Burger 21

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Burger 21 serves, from top left clockwise, the Tex-Mex Haystack burger with fries, the Ahi Tuna burger with sweet potato fries, The Great Dane hotdog and the burger of the month, the Chicken Monterey. (Staff Photo: Meghan Kotowski)

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The Buford fast-casual restaurant has booths, tables, an outdoor patio and a milkshake bar for diners. (Staff Photo: Meghan Kotowski)

ON THE MENU

• Cinco burger — A beef patty with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, salsa, jalapenos, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro cream on a sesame bun, $8

• The Greek — A veggie burger topped with lettuce, tomato, roasted red peppers, a feta cheese spread and pickled cucumbers on a toasted whole wheat bun, $6.79

• The Sonoma Valley salad — Mixed greens topped with bleu cheese crumbles, candied pecans, cranberries, grapes, tomatoes and served with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette, $6

• The Cobb — Grilled turkey with lettuce tomato, bleu cheese crumbles, bacon, avocado ranch dressing on a toasted whole wheat bun, $7

3385 Woodward Crossing Blvd., Suite No. 350, Buford

770-831-3240

www.burger21.com

Open since: July 29

Owners: Husband-wife duo Corley and Meg Steward

Location: Burger 21 is located at the intersection of Woodward Crossing Boulevard and Buford Drive, near the Mall of Georgia. It shares the same complex as Men’s Warehouse.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Atmosphere: Burger 21 isn’t your typical burger joint. Instead of being greasy and dark, the inside is bright — thanks to several windows — and fun.

There are large black and white photos of people eating burgers, fries and shakes, booths with bubble patterns and an outdoor patio, which has a photo of a Chihuahua that the staff have named Spike.

“It’s a retro feel with fun music to go along with it,” co-owner Corley Steward said. “Obviously the centerpiece of the restaurant is the shake bar, being able to make the hand-spun milkshakes in front of our guests is a big thing.”

The patio is pet friendly with dog treats and water.

Back indoors, guests order at the counter, then find a spot either at a table, booth or the shake bar and wait until the food is delivered.

One thing that isn’t in the restaurant is a television, for a reason.

“We want it to be an environment where families can enjoy the food together and have conversation without being distracted,” Steward said.

Menu: As you could have guessed, Burger 21 sells burgers. There are 10 beef burgers and 10 others, that include veggie, turkey, tuna, shrimp and chicken patties. To make it 21 burgers, the eatery creates one new burger for each month.

The patties are hand patted each morning and made to order.

There are other things too, like salads, milkshakes, chicken fingers and sliders, plus a kids’ menu. Almost all of the items are made in-house, which includes the sauces at the sauce bar. The staff mixes these sauces from scratch: ketchup, mustard, honey mustard, Thai ketchup, barbecue, ranch, ragin’ Cajun, chipotle mayonnaise, apple cider and toasted marshmallow (for your sweet potato fries).

“A lot of people are coming in for our salads,” said co-owner Meg Steward. “For people to come to a burger joint and want salads is unique.”

One big draw for many people is the gluten-free menu. Let the staff know your order is gluten-free and they will use different equipment to prepare the food.

“The gluten-free community is really appreciating the fact that we have gluten-free burgers, fries, shakes — they can have a full meal when they come in, feel totally satisfied and not miss out of the environment,” Meg said.

The 21 day of the month is busy around Burger 21. Besides unveiling a new burger and shake for the month, the restaurant also holds a charity event.

“The 21st is kind of a big deal around here,” Meg said with a laugh.

Ten percent of all the sales of the day go to a new charity each month. For September, the Stewards are giving the proceeds to Operation Second Chance, Gwinnett County’s jail dog program.

Things you might not know: This is the first Burger 21 location in Georgia.

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Burger 21

Burger 21