Twisted Root Burger Co. is an odd name for a burger joint, so you’d think there might be a logical explanation for it. But I’ll address that later. TRBC is a youngish chain out of the Dallas area with a hefty handful of locations. The one that opened recently on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park is one of 17.
Owners Jason Boso and Quincy Hart started the concept in 2006 after meeting in culinary school, where they both were seeking new careers after jobs in stock brokerages and telephone line repair. That first Twisted, in Deep Ellum, a Dallas neighborhood, caught the attention of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” television program, and, as has happened so many times before, it took off.
The newest Twisted is in the Grove at Winter Park shopping mall on Aloma Avenue at Old Howell Branch Road. The entrance sits under a marquee-like sign. You can spot the front door because it says “Get you buns in here” right next to it.
The first thing I liked about Twisted Root was the friendly welcome I got from the woman behind the ordering counter (actually, that tied with there being no line when I arrived). The second thing I liked was a sign on the counter saying that all burgers would be cooked medium well unless the customer specified otherwise.
There are perhaps too many burger combinations from which to choose, not counting the build-your-own option. All of the burgers have a half-pound patty for a base, but the toppings get a little creative and sometimes make one wonder how the names came about – sort of like the restaurant itself, but I’ll come back to that, I promise. The Western had pepper jack cheese, bacon, fried onion strings and jalapeños. I guess that it’s the peppers that make it Western.
The Kevin Bacon of course had bacon but then so did several other burgers. This one was the only with Danish blue cheese, which I suppose means the actor’s heritage is Dane – or he is one or two people separated from someone in Denmark?
The Spicy Goat is not made with goat meat, but then the Freshman 15 isn’t made with undergrad. (Actually, I finally got the reference to the number of pounds a new college kid is said to put on in the first year after reading that burger’s toppings of smashed fries, melted cheddar, fried egg and bacon.)
I figured the All American would be about as basic as I could get, with double American cheese and bacon on top of the burger.
The AA also had lettuce, tomato and raw onions, as do all of the burgers unless you tell them otherwise. And to my delight, my burger was indeed cooked to the requested medium rare.
Customers who choose to dine in receive their orders on real plates, and mine had a little rivulet of red juices rolling to one side. Plenty of juices remained in the burger – and soaked into the bottom bun – and I enjoyed the smoky flavor of the meat on the toasted bun.
I wasn’t as taken with the side of Original Twisted Cheese Fries that I ordered. The fries themselves, which the menu says are hand-punched, whatever that means, were OK, but the gooey cheese was a bit overwhelming. Also not sure they were worth the $4.50 fee, though I think $8.50 for the burger was fair.
Especially since you get to visit the restaurant’s pickle bar and help yourself to the various seasoned chips. Oddly enough the bread and butter pickles had a bit more heat than the ones labeled atomic. But I had fun tasting them all.
Seating is mostly at picnic style tables or individual booths. Exposed brick walls and string lights that hang among the metal ductwork are major parts of the decor. There are also various references to the actor Chuck Norris, though, curiously, he doesn’t have a burger named for him, even though a Ground Chuck would make so much sense.
As for the name, a manager I spoke to after my visit said she believed the Twisted part is a description of the owners, who are “kind of crazy.” And the Root part, she said, is because “we make a lot of things out of root vegetables.” She specified potatoes and carrots, though technically potatoes are tubers and not root vegetables. Pickles aren’t roots, either, so I’m not sure I’m buying this explanation.
But if I’m in Winter Park and craving a good burger, I’ll buy another one here.
Twisted Root Burger Co. is at 4270 Aloma Ave., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is not listed on its website. It’s 407-960-5163.