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Red Robin’s Burger Works pricey, but taste, service worth it

Hannah Trate / Lantern reporter

For those looking for a burger on the go but are tired of McDonald’s and Wendy’s, there’s a new burger joint in town, and it’s bringing a taste of gourmet to the typical fast-food experience.

High Street welcomed Red Robin’s Burger Works Monday, a new addition to its ample supply of fast-casual eateries. The new restaurant is one of two locations nationwide.

A few things caught my attention as soon as I walked in. First, the entire restaurant was a flurry of activity. It’s always a good sign when an establishment is extremely busy on its second day, and this restaurant handled the commotion well.

It seems the restaurant caters to the college town crowd of Columbus. Digital menus, modern décor and upbeat music create a trendy atmosphere. Its late weekend hours are also sure to be a hit with students.

I was expecting an experience reminiscent of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, but when I faced the menu, I was surprised to see a variety of choices. Now don’t get me wrong, this is Red Robin’s take on fast food. However, it still offers many of the classic burgers found at traditional Red Robin’s, as well as a build-your-own option.

With so many choices, I had a dilemma on my hands: Should I go with my traditional 5 Alarm Burger, create my own burger or go completely left of center and try the chicken fingers or a salad?

In the end, I went with the 5 Alarm and a side of sweet potato fries. My total was $9.05 after tax.

The biggest difference between Red Robin’s Burger Works and Five Guys is the service. Like Five Guys, the food is prepared as it is ordered. Unlike Five Guys, I received a number and was informed that a staff member would bring out my food shortly. Sure enough, a waiter delivered it to my table only minutes later. The staff was also extremely accommodating to my large group of friends.

Thankfully, my concern that this restaurant would sacrifice the Red Robin’s taste in favor of speed was misplaced. My burger was comparable to anything I have ever ordered at a traditional Red Robin’s. It was juicy, the toppings were crisp and fresh, and best of all, it didn’t taste like it had been sitting under a hot plate for hours. The regular fries are not the ones found at traditional Red Robin’s, but my sweet potato fries were incredible.

This location also boasts a futuristic soda machine that provides customers with more than 100 options. A word of warning: refills are free and it’s addictive. Soda costs an additional $1.99, but I think the experience alone is well worth the price.

Overall, I am pleased to welcome Red Robin’s Burger Works to Columbus. The food was a little on the pricey side, but I thought the quality and service made it worth it. You can also shave a bit off the check by ordering to-go. If you’re looking for a place to get a burger quickly, drop by and check it out.

Grade: A

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