Tonyburgers: A Quest to Build a Better Burger Restaurant Chain Launched | News, Sports, Jobs


Valerie Phillips, Special to Standard Examiner

Chris and Nicole Carver, owners of Tonyburgers.

During tough times, people turn to comfort foods like burgers. That’s what Chris and Nicole Carver did when the Great Recession of 2008 hit. The Kaysville couple’s quest to build a better burger launched Tonyburgers, now expanded to seven locations.

Their premium burgers start with a patty (or two) made from three different cuts of beef and are personalized with choices from a long list of toppings. You can polish your burger with finely-cut, twice-fried fries and a shake made from hand-picked hard ice cream.

These details elevate a Tonyburger above a typical fast food burger and are the reason fans are willing to pay more – from $ 5.79 to over $ 10, depending on the size of the burger and the toppings chosen. .

In 2008, the Carvers were building luxury homes in Park City when the housing market collapsed, along with the economy.

“We had to find a way to support our family,” said Nicole Carver. “Chris has a computer science degree, but owning a burger restaurant was his dream, and I accepted it.”

Valerie Phillips, Special to Standard Examiner

The Ol ‘Reliable Double Burger Burger at Tonyburgers.

Always a classic, burgers saw a new wave of popularity back then as people cut back on extravagant meals.

“There is a certain convenience with burgers,” Nicole Carver said. “We never went out to eat when I was young, but my dad would grill burgers in the backyard. It’s just something that feels good.

The Carvers’ first major challenge: none of them had any experience in catering. So they learned from top to bottom.

“We were looking to make burgers better than anyone,” said Chris Carver. “Before the opening we went to a lot of different places – California, Texas, New York – looking for who had the best burger and what we could emulate.”

Their burger starts with precise amounts of three different cuts of beef – sirloin, chuck, and brisket.

Valerie Phillips, Special to Standard Examiner

The fries at Tonyburgers are blanched in the deep fryer, then cooled and fried again in peanut oil as the order is placed.

“It’s really an art form to get the right amount of fat and protein,” Chris Carver said. “We struggled until we found the right butcher. Wasatch Meats creates it and brings it to life every day.

They season the meat only with kosher salt. No pepper or whatever.

“The flavor comes from the three cuts of meat,” he said.

It also comes from the flat-top chrome griddle that the burgers are cooked on. “Chromium doesn’t have the pores that some metals do, so there’s no flavor transfer from what’s been baked on it,” Carver said. “Meat also adheres better to the grill, so we get a good ‘crust’, or the caramelization that occurs when you put a patty on a hot grill.”

They named the restaurant after Chris’ younger brother Tony, “who made these really thick burgers for us when we were younger,” Chris said. “We called them Tonyburgers. The “Chrisburgers” or “Nickiburgers” simply did not ride very well. “

Valerie Phillips, Special to Standard Examiner

The I’m So Bleu Burger ($ 7.57) combines blue cheese crumbs, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli sauce at Tonyburgers.

The burgers are custom made with a choice of toppings and sauces. The vegetables Рlettuce, tomato, fresh onions, grilled onions, pickles, jalape̱os, and mushrooms Рare free. Bacon, cheese, a fried egg or onion straws are extra. A single quarter-pound burger with only vegetarian toppings costs $ 5.79. Prices increase with larger or double patties and more toppings.

“Director’s Favorites” are flavor combinations for people who don’t want to think about choosing toppings and sauces. The classic combo is Ol ‘Reliable – American cheese, lettuce, tomato, fresh onions, pickles, and Tony sauce (similar to French fries sauce).

“My dad had a fishing lure called ‘Ol Reliable’ because he could always catch a fish with it,” said Chris Carver. “He passed away just before the opening so I greeted him. It’s the classic burger you can count on.

One of the top sellers is Tony’s Southern Burger, which uses homemade ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, jalapeños, onion strings, and pepper jack cheese for a little spice.

I’m So Bleu ($ 7.57) combines blue cheese crumbs, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli sauce.

Valerie Phillips, Special to Standard Examiner

Fried cheese curds were added to the Tonyburgers menu during the COVID-10 pandemic because they travel well to take out.

The menu also features a “really good grilled chicken sandwich and an Impossible Veggie burger that’s better than you think,” said Nicole Carver.

The first Tonyburgers opened in Centerville in 2009.

“At the time, there was less competition because some of the national high-end burger chains had not yet moved to Utah,” said Chris Carver.

The Centerville store performed well in the first year, and the couple opened a store in downtown Salt Lake in 2010. They struggled initially, due to lack of name recognition.

Then In-N-Out Burger opened a few blocks from its location in Centerville “and killed us,” Nicole Carver said.

They ended up moving the store from Centerville to Clinton, where it thrived. The Salt Lake City store has finally taken over, “and it’s our best store now,” she said. “Word of mouth is what motivated us for the first few years. “

In 2014, Tonyburgers returned to Centerville, near its original location. These days there are a lot of customers, even with In-N-Out still on the street.

Salads were originally on the menu, but were not a big hit.

“I thought it would be a fun hangout where you could get both burgers and salads,” Nicole Carver said. “But when people come in and smell the burgers, it’s really hard to order a salad.”

They eliminated the salads to simplify the menu when the COVID pandemic struck.

The fried cheese curd was another mainstay during the pandemic, when take-out became essential.

“Our fries don’t travel as well, so we’ve found another side that travels well,” said Nicole Carver. “Our cheese curds are now a huge seller. “

They do great third-party takeout deals, such as Door Dash and Grub Hub. “We take it seriously. We use bags with a seal on the top, so the customer can be sure the food has not been tampered with, ”said Chris Carver.

Over the years, the Carvers have expanded to stores in Holladay, Southern Jordan, West Valley, and Herriman.

“We have a lot of really great people who are a big part of our success,” said Chris Carver.

If you are going to


Pitches: 1917 W. 1800 North, Clinton; 100 W. Parrish Lane, Centerville; and five Salt Lake Valley locations.


Prices: Burgers, $ 5.79 to $ 10 and more, depending on the size of the patties and the toppings.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday (Clinton); closed on Sunday (Centerville)


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