Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chico's Burger at Chico's, Helsinki, Finland

American style restaurants are a big hit in Finland. For some reason Finnish people has always been a fan of US culture in every single way. Maybe the reason for is history and our location, a long love and hate relationship, with Russia. It's like we love to get as far as we can from Russia and take everything we can from Western culture. Well, what ever the reason is, there seems the be a huge amount of American / Tex-Mex styled restaurants in Finland. There's nothing wrong with that but usually the final product isn't that authentic. And yeah, who am I to judge this after creating a fanzine for American icon - a burger. Well, I think I have some perspective to the matter after living in California and travelling around the different states plus having this fixation with burgers.

Chico's restaurant chain is owned by HOK-Elanto. HOK-Elanto owns one of the biggest supermarket chains in Finland, and they also own restaurants and restaurant chains, service and gas stations, and hotels among other businesses. Chico's chain was found in 1991 and it currently has 17 locations in Helsinki region. Unfortunately Chico's is just another sad example how to build up a restaurant chain, put a little effort to interior and menu and start to call it as American restaurant. They actually brand Chico's as a All American Bistro with the taste of a real America - yeah right. With prepared meals, freezer pattys, ready-made-sauces plus frequently repeating words Tex-Mex and Texas in menu does not make a real American restaurant. It looks fake, it feels fake and most of all it tastes fake.

Well, let's get done with this... They serve a handfull of burgers which all have the very same ingredients that are used across the menu in different mixes and combinations. Their signature burger, Chico's Burger, is a bun with 2 x 75g ground beef patties, bacon, remoulade sauce, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onion and pickle served with French fries. Sounds ok but in reality someone has thought it like this...

"Hmm, let's take the biggest bun in the kitchen and throw two small freezer pattys inside it. Oh, and let's pile it high that it looks like a huge burger even if it isn't. And as a cherry on top let's grill the freezer patty until it has lost every drop of its juices and is dry as a sahara. And if someone happens to notice that let's just fill the burger with mayo. And let's cross our fingers and hope that people never travel to America, go to a proper burger joint and see what's a real burger is like."

That pretty much descripes everything what this place is all about. Not recommended.

Hietalahdenranta 5
00150 Helsinki, Finland

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