Nothing is more insulting when a place claims to be vegetarian friendly then offers a mass-produced brand of a veggie burger. The same burger I can buy in a 12-pack at the Publix across the street. Only the restaurant offers to dress it for me and then proceed to charge me $9. How kind of them. That’s what they do at the new Shula Burger in Kissimmee. However, Shula does do a very good job at disguising the grocery store burger with a wide variety of toppings. Plus, there are a few sides on the menu if a frozen veggie patty isn’t your thing.
Shula Burger is part of Don Shula’s family of restaurants that include Shula’s Steak House, Shula’s 347 Grill, Shula’s 2 Steak and Sports and Shula’s Bar and Grill. The only brand I have been to is the uber fancy Shula’s Steak House, where you are seated with a football menu, served steak tartare and molten chocolate lava cake. That was back in my steak-eating days. Nowadays, I search for places with veggie burgers. Lucky for me, this much hyped about franchise does indeed serve a specialty veggie burger. However…….
When we first arrived at the counter we inquired about the veggie burger. Was it made by Morningstar? Was it frozen? We were told with confidence that the veggie burger was made by the Shula company and shipped to the stores fresh, never frozen. Uh..well..we later learned from the manager that the veggie patty is the Malibu Vegan patty made by the Gardenburger brand, which is, indeed, frozen. Last I checked Gardenburger is not owned, manufactured or distributed in any manner by the Shula company. Sounds like maybe the staff should be educated a little better.
Anyway, the veggie patty itself is made with corn, carrots, barley and brown rice. Though it is listed on the menu as being served with baby greens, tomato, red onion and a herb mayo, there were too many other amazing options with the beef burgers that we wanted to try. We were able to substitute the veggie patty onto any of the other burgers with no problem.
I ordered the French Onion Burger (with the veggie patty, of course.) Caramelized onion, gruyere cheese, garlic mayo and crushed garlic croutons. Tasted like French Onion Soup on a bun. Very tasty. Even with the veggie patty.
Chad ordered The House of Blue which was a burger (in our case, again, the veggie patty) topped with blue cheese, red onion jam and balsamic greens. It was very tasty though it could have used just a little more red onion jam. We couldn’t get a taste of it at all. We both definitely preferred the French Onion over the House of Blue.
On the sides menu we spotted fried pickles and fried banana peppers. Anyone who regularly reads The Hungry Sprout knows that I go weak at the knees for a tasty fried pickle. But fried banana peppers? Never even thought about frying these up. Lucky for us, Shula Burger offers a 50/50 side with 1/2 pickles and 1/2 banana peppers.
The fried pickles were pretty good. Thinly sliced and lightly battered, the pickles were sour, juicy and crispy. Yum. But greasy.
The fried banana peppers, though a little more heavy on the battered side, were also quite good. Sweet, spicy and crunchy, they are sure to be a big crowd pleaser for Shula Burger. Just be aware they are also a little greasy.
We also sprung for the blue cheese and bacon chips, minus the bacon for us of course. Crispy thick chips piled high on a platter topped with blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing and green onions. Large enough to be a meal in itself or shared. Don’t be fooled into having everyone order their own side of this. That will be a lot of chips.
Overall, Shula Burger was an interesting experience. Would we go out of our way to visit? No. Disappointing. The lady behind the counter tried to convince us that we were getting a Shula exclusive veggie patty, when indeed, anyone can get them at the grocery store. Nothing worse than being lied to when I am asking a question about your product. The other option for a veggie head here is one of their three salad options. Well, contrary to popular belief, vegetarians do not live on salad alone, not even most of the time. I can make a decent salad at home, thank you.
We paid $28 for two burgers and two sides. We had only water to drink. That was a very expensive frozen meal. The sides were decent though but this is not a place for someone trying to eat healthy. This is definitely not a place for a veggie burger.
With all the new burger joints popping up all over Central Florida, Shula doesn’t even come close to topping our list. There are plenty of other burger joints who make their own fresh veggie burgers to please the large (and growing) number of vegetarians in the Orlando area. If you want a good veggie burger, visit B&B Junction ,That One Spot or Toasted. All three are just a few of the places that make their own veggie patties and there is a huge difference. And, I don’t think anyone will make an ungreasy fried pickle better than B&B Junction. Just my opinion.
Shula is just meh, nothing exciting and certainly not worth the trip for us. I am just speaking as a Veggie Head, perhaps if you are into beef burgers this may be your thing. But then you probably wouldn’t be reading this entire post then, would you? It is about time that these burger joints realize there is a huge Vegetarian population here in Central Florida and our money is as good as a carnivore’s. Just saying. I would return but only stick to the blue cheese chips without the bacon. Yay.