Head to the second floor of the location for a fine dining (sort of) experience.
Lately, places like Chipotle have tried to fill in that space between fast food and fine dining with the so-called fast-casual model of dining—still, there are some things lacking in the chain’s method. You still have to wait in line and carry your own food to your table, the typical trappings of the fast food experience. What if there was another link in the fast food to fine dining chain, one that slightly elevated even the most casual dining experience? A Burger King in Philadelphia may have cracked the code.
The burger chain’s location at 15 South 8th Street and Market Street in Philadelphia is a two-level fusion between the kind of quick and satisfying meal you might expect from Burger King, and a more elevated dining experience. Is it meant to be ironic? Is it a marketing stunt? Or a genuine attempt to make Burger King a special experience for customers? A writer named Helen Ubiñas, at Philly.com, decided to investigate.
She found that the manager at this location was inspired by a New York City location of the chain—which also offers the same service (and hopes to soon start serving alcoholic drinks). When Ubiñas and her friend climbed the stairs to the second floor where the table service is offered, they found “tablecloths and laminated menus and table numbers and actual salt and pepper shakers,” and “the most adorable and earnest host," who told her that this is the only location in the city with table service.
According to Ubiñas, the food tasted the same, the burger and fries weren’t served on plates, and there was no silverware—but perhaps those additions would have strayed too much into fine dining territory. And of course, there was no wine list available (yet, at least).
Breaking into the fining dining restaurant world is tricky for a brand known for their grab-and-go meals, but Burger King’s experiment with table service—whether or not it’s a stunt to attract customers—is admirable. Fancier restaurants tend to take themselves seriously—and offer impeccable service and brilliant chefs, for that reason—but there’s no reason to not reinvent a chain restaurant in their more elevated style, even if it's just for the deeply committed host you might encounter during your value meal.