Trend Watch: Burger Mania

It used to be safe to assume that BYOB meant bring your own booze. These days the acronym is just as likely to mean build-your-own burger.

The gourmet burger trend first arrived locally about a year ago, when Todd Rizzo (of Rizzo Ford fame) left the car business to open Ozzi’s Steakburger in Warwick. At Ozzi’s (a Best of Rhode Island winner this year), diners can create customized sandwiches out of countless protein, cheese, sauce, topping and bun choices.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay rolled into town this summer to unveil Bobby’s Burger Palace, his casual burger joint at Mohegan Sun. The menu is all about regional flavors: There’s the Philadelphia Burger, topped with provolone, griddled onions and hot peppers, the Buffalo Burger, with hot sauce and blue cheese dressing and the LA Burger with avocado relish, watercress and cheddar. Much to our dismay, there are not yet any New England city-themed burgers on the menu.

Solo Burgers & Bar pays homage to its Federal Hill location with The Hill Burger, topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil and a balsamic reduction. The restaurant offers eight other choices, including the heart-stopping "Better Call the Doctor," topped with fried egg, cheese and bacon (a hangover remedy?).

The Chow Fun Food Group recently closed its organic, California-inspired Citron Wine Bar and Bistro and opened Luxe Burger Bar in its place. Like Ozzi’s, it takes the build-your-own burger approach. The restaurant draws a steady post-work crowd with specials like half-priced starters from 2 to 6 p.m. on Fridays and a live DJ on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Rhode Island-grown franchise Spike’s Junkyard Dogs debuted a new co-brand this summer called LuLu’s Burgers & Fries. It offers a more abbreviated version of the build-your-own-burger concept. Options include an angus beef burger, grilled chicken breast or portabella mushroom cap doused with one of ten topping styles (everything from BLT to jalapeno and cheddar).