The aptly named Caveman Burgers opened recently on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Bell Road. The heart of the restaurant is its attention to the origin — and chemical makeup — of its ingredients, according to owner Jeff Bobby. This means ingredients are produced without additives and anything that can be locally sourced, is — hence the name and reference to the paleo diet.
"It started with a love of burgers," Bobby says. "Then I started thinking about how we could be different. Then I was introduced to a natural way of eating, so I started looking at my food source. I saw other restaurants were going there, but the burger market hadn't really caught up."
That said, Bobby says he doesn't want to force an agenda on his customers, and as such, he's left plenty of room for choice.
"I designed it after the way I like to eat," he says. "Sometimes I eat really clean and healthy, sometimes I don't. But the bottom line is, all of the ingredients are natural and minimally processed."
At the restaurant, diners can choose between four meat options for their burgers: Angus beef ($6.44), Arizona-raised, grass-fed beef ($7.74), turkey ($7.74), or wild-caught salmon ($6.44). Then, they have the option to customize their meal with a variety of accoutrements including standard burger toppings and fancier items like natural bacon ($0.74) and even a fried duck egg for an extra $1.54. There's also the option to choose between a regular or pretzel bun.
Fries, both sweet potato and standard, are available, along with onion rings and a limited beer selection.
The grass-fed beef comes from Arizona Grass Raised Beef company, while the Angus and turkey come from neighboring states, Bobby says. Buns come from downtown's Strictly from Scratch bakery.
"I looked at all the ingredients to make sure they met with my vision," he says.
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And the fancy ingredients aren't just posturing — they have an impact on taste.
We tried a local grass-fed burger topped with mustard, barbecue sauce, the house-made mayo-based CMB sauce, veggies, and a fried duck egg all stuffed in a pretzel bun. What we first noticed was that each component part had a recognizable flavor. The ground beef tasted like beef, not burger. The tomatoes, lettuce, and onion were fresh and crisp, and the duck egg was almost gamey, but not overpowering.
Overall, Caveman Burgers didn't transport us back a million years, but it did produce an excellent burger served in a pleasant atmosphere.
430 East Bell Road, Phoenix