Walk into The Counter in downtown Phoenix, and you’ll immediately feel welcomed. The restaurant has an upscale diner feel, with a sports television-filled bar, comfy booths and lots of tables for both one-on-one encounters and family outings. I loved the lighting, which was just right at not-too-bright, not-too-dim, and despite the construction currently surrounding the restaurant’s streets, it’s nice to have a downtown Phoenix view while you nosh.
My pal and I recently dined there and tried a ton of menu items, a great variety for both fans of the build-your-own-burger concept, as well as vegans and vegetarians. We started with fried dill pickle chips ($5), which came with a sweet apricot sauce. I liked the sweet and salty combination, and the pickles were fried to a great consistency, light and not greasy.
We also split a big caprese salad ($7.50), which came with marinated red and green tomatoes, red onion and thick slices of mozzarella. These two items alone would have filled us both up. I loved the green tomatoes, which is a unique touch to the tomatoes you usually get in a caprese salad.
The build your own burger process is the really fun part. Grab a sheet of paper outlining all your burger options, and fill it out, sushi-style. There’s a housemade vegan option, as well as bison, turkey, chicken and tuna burgers. Get it with a bun (options include a vegan ciabatta and pretzel bun), or go bowl-style and forgo carbs. There are a dozen cheeses to choose from, 26 sauces to add, and nearly 50 toppings to pile on, including dried cranberries, quinoa and marinated artichokes. Premium toppings include an egg, bacon and chili. Add a side for $3, from shoestring or sweet potato fries, to seasonal grilled corn, and you’ve got a very filling meal – I couldn’t finish a quarter of my burger and crispy onion strings combo after the appetizers.
My pal got a regular beef patty with guacamole and shoestring fries. She said the burger was tasty, and the guacamole was fantastic.
For my burger, I ordered the vegan patty on a vegan ciabatta bun, with herbed goat cheese spread, house mustard, a lettuce blend, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, red onion and dill pickles. Although I added a ton to my burger, everything was portioned well-enough so I could hold it without a problem and cut it in half cleanly. The vegan patty was delicious, and I’d highly recommend my flavor combination if you’re looking for a great veggie option. If you’re vegan, there is also a vegan cheddar, which really made me appreciate how well The Counter is mindful of all its customers.
You can also build your own salad, or order a burger on their menu in a combination the restaurant has concocted. Besides a full bar, one of the other cool aspects to The Counter is that you can order an adult shake, a sweet treat with your choice of spirit or liqueur.
Besides the tasty food and welcoming ambiance, my pal and I thought our service was stellar, especially considering all the things we ordered. We received everything promptly and were checked on diligently, which we were really thankful for.
Find more information on The Counter here.