Never prim, always proper is the motto of the new Proper Burger Co. — the sophomore venture from the creators of Avenues Proper. And with careful choices you'll find a proper meal here.
This Main Street location is actually two buildings — Proper Burger Co. and Proper Brewing Co. The brewing segment is a bar and beer store, but you can order food from the restaurant to be delivered next door at the bar. Table service isn't available in either location, but the line moves quickly at the restaurant, so you can get back to Skee-Ball and pool on the bar side or simply enjoying your company on the patio at Proper Burger.
In keeping with burger joint trends, every item on the menu is ordered à la carte with the exception of the Proper combo ($3.99), which will earn you fries and a 20-ounce soft drink.
Proper's sides are simple: onion rings and fries for $2.99 each. On the one hand, Proper Burger's fries are some of the best I've had in Utah. Skin on, crispy, salty and served with an aioli dipping sauce that puts any other "fry sauce" to shame. Very proper.
Yet both orders of onion rings I've received have been disappointing. The coating was overcooked while the onion itself seemed impossible to bite through and snaked out of its crispy exterior on first contact. Improper.
Moving on to the main menu selections, you'll find three salad choices ($4.99-$9.99) if greens are required in your party, as well as a veggie burger (add 99 cents) and chicken breast (add 99 cents) selection.
Because the menu at Proper Burger is primarily burgers, we'll address the main components you'll find on most orders first. The challah-like buns are of superior quality and stand up well to heavy saucing while still being light and airy. Unfortunately, you'll likely find that the burger-to-bun ratio is off unless you order at least a double patty (add $2). The standard quarter-pound single burger is fairly small and unremarkable — making the unusual toppings paramount to a good meal.
I love olives and Greek food, so my first order at Proper Burger was The Greek ($8.99) burger. Although the olive tapenade, crunchy cucumber and fresh herb cheese were individually flavorful, nothing contained enough moisture to make each burger bite palatable.
We then faced the opposite problem with the Fiery Furnace ($7.49) in all its drippy goodness. The Sriracha buffalo sauce and tangy blue cheese spread commingled perfectly but caused the crunchy zucchini pickles to eventually squish out the sides and the bun to finally succumb. A proper knife and fork were needed to finish this meal.
Highlights of the Rising Sun ($8.49) burger include a heaping portion of spicy kimchee, fresh cilantro and a fried egg to balance the sour, fermented notes. Unfortunately, the pickled cucumber got lost between the kimchee and the Sriracha, and I never picked up on the miso aioli flavor.
Feeling fancy? I was, so I ordered the $25.99 Truffle Shuffle burger. Would I suggest you do so? No. You're welcome.
I feel as if this menu item is some sort of a joke I'm not in on but was placed on the menu very specifically for someone like me. I only know of one other person who has eaten it, and I can unequivocally say it is not worth even half of the $25.99.
So what's the big deal? Don't mistake that sauce on the bun top for mayo; those black specks are actually a few eggs of American sturgeon caviar mixed with the truffle aioli — neither of which were discernible flavors when competing with two hamburger patties covered in American cheese topped with bacon and a fried egg.
Sometimes, simple really is most proper. That's certainly the case with the Proper Style ($6.99) burger, which yields a single burger patty topped with melted American cheese, caramelized onions and proper sauce for a solid, no-nonsense burger.
What will please customers most may be the ability to get a vast selection of Proper beers made fresh next door. (Wine and cocktails are also available.)
Children are allowed on the Proper Burger side, and they (and adults) will find sweet, thick shakes ($3.49) in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry-basil varieties.
Proper Burger Co. and Proper Brewing have fun atmospheres with lots to see and do, fantastic fries and a burger menu that will satisfy if not entirely delight.
Heather L. King also writes for www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches.