From Iceland — Craft Burger Kitchen — The Reykjavik Grapevine

Craft Burger Kitchen

Craft Burger Kitchen

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Published February 25, 2020

As I step into the brightly-coloured diner-style restaurant that is Craft Burger Kitchen, I instantly feel like I’m back in the States. Guðni, the owner, greets me by the door. “We make all of our burgers with meat that has been dry-aged over 30 days,” he says as I begin to peruse the menu. They have eight signature burgers to choose from. They also have vegan burgers—beet and pumpkin patties with vegan cheese, lime pickle, lettuce, and tomato with spicy mayo—which are delicious. I decide on the BBQ Bacon Burger with the barbecue sauce on the side.

90’s Fever Dream

Keeping with the quest for quality Craft Burger Kitchen embarks on with their beef, Guðni explains that they also make their own barbecue sauce out of pureed dates, as well as their own ketchup and ranch dressing. I order a side of fries and some wings to try these homemade concoctions and see how they stack up against the conventional sauces that I am used to.

Waiting for my meal, I can’t help but notice the interior of Craft Burger Kitchen is like a 90s fever dream. Bart Simpson would love it here. Across from me is a chair the color of a ripe lemon. It sits in front of a vibrant orange table. I am seated on a long sky-blue bench in front of a series of tables. Banana yellow. Red. Orange. Electric blue. These brilliant colours accentuate the interior decor, which is inspired by pop art from the latter part of the 20th century.

Ketchup and Barbecue Sauce

My burger arrives, juicy and flavourful. I dunk it into the barbecue sauce and am greeted by a warm, smoky flavour, but the sweetness is not overpowering. It’s there, but it’s not too much. The wings are Korean Barbecue style; sticky, sweet and spicy. They pair well with the ranch.

I dip the fries in the ketchup. If a restaurant wants to make their own sauces, they ought to be better than what is on the market. Craft Burger Kitchen accomplishes this effortlessly. I know, it’s just ketchup, but this is the kind of stuff that can put a place on the map. I don’t even like ketchup all that much, but I can’t stop eating this.

For dessert, Guðni brings out deep fried Oreos. They are sweet perfection. The fryer softened the cookies, but they still have a great texture. All I can do at this point is lean back and give in to my food coma.

No Place Like CBK

As far as burger places go, there is no place like Craft Burger Kitchen. I’ve been to many places trying to capture the essence of American fast-food dining with carbo-loaded plates and gratuitous bacon, barbecue sauce and cheese. While other places deliver a ghost of my American memories, CBK not only delivers the experience, it does so with aplomb.

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