Dine or Dash: Proper Burger

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Dine or Dash: Proper Burger

(Courtesy Proper Burger)

(Courtesy Proper Burger)

(Courtesy Proper Burger)

(Courtesy Proper Burger)

By Weston Wood, Arts Writer

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Utah is famous for its many local breweries. Utah’s famous craft beer is an art that started as a local-deemed necessity. Utah breweries originally were created by local people trying to maneuver around Utah’s incredibly strict liquor laws. The laws have changed over the years, and the breweries have been instrumental in changing them. In September of 2019, the Utah government changed the regulation of 3.2% alcoholic beer to selling beer at 5%. With the growth of these breweries into local hangouts, one newer brewery has been taking Salt Lake City by storm. 

Six years ago, Avenues Proper opened in the hills of a neighborhood in Salt Lake City. They are a startup brewery dedicated to the integrity of the brewing, which is paired with a desire to innovate. They started their own restaurant and brewery in the heart of the Avenues, bringing the same dedication to the food that they paired with their beer  — after all, every great brewery has to have great brewery food that goes with it.

Avenues Proper started to gain much attention from the local community for its beer and food quality. This popularity made it possible for them to open up a bar and burger place right next to each other on Downtown Main Street. The reason for having two establishments instead of just one once again goes back to Utah’s liquor laws, but both the bar and the grill are heavily trafficked by Salt Lake locals. 

 

The Ingredients 

I could only sit in the Proper Burger building, something I didn’t mind because of the contemporary design. The joint didn’t take itself too seriously, a refreshing change of pace from most sit down restaurants. Yet, its grey and green color schemes still maintained a professional aesthetic that made you think the food would be great — and it sure was. 

Contrasting the fancier Avenues Proper, Proper Burger is unapologetically bold in almost every way possible. This burger shop has rock and rap music bumping constantly. The sizzling grills and clamor of people passing between the bar and restaurant show the livelihood of Salt Lake.

Daniel Moreland, head manager and head chef, sat down with me over some Proper burgers to discuss his life, the menu, and how Proper Burger came to be. Moreland has had quite an extensive career — he has been a part of a large number of establishments even though he is relatively young. “I’m actually from Austin, Texas. But, I grew up in Houston and San Marcos for nine years,” Moreland said. “Austin became really crowded. There also wasn’t much in terms of skiing. I came up in 2017 for this job, which I got over a Skype interview. Two years later, I have a much more fulfilling life here. My wife enjoys it here too.”

Moreland is a more recent addition to the Proper team, but he helps kindle a dream that has been around since the opening day of Avenues Proper. The idea started within Avenues Proper, where they wanted to make quality craft beer and as Moreland said, “Food that maybe you could get at other pubs, but better. Food that is gonna make people think, ‘wow this is amazing’ rather than, ‘I’ve had this before.’”

Moreland has made sure this standard is maintained. Many of their ingredients are made from scratch, including the Proper Sauce. Moreland also does a new specialty burger every week, something he’s consistently done for the past two years. “Creating a new burger every week is actually really, really hard,” Moreland said. 

Moreland has more or less stuck with it, though, “I have repeated a specialty maybe once or twice. A lot of the taste of a burger is in the sauce, so I hand make a lot of mayonnaise and aiolis for the specialties.”

The menu itself is extensive, offering many different types of burgers. Some of them even question the definition of what a burger really is. They also offer some really great shakes, fries and onion rings to pair with their burgers. Along with this, they also have a new brunch special that consists of a donut breakfast burger and a vegan option donut breakfast sandwich — that uses black-bean sausage, tofu bacon and  vegan eggs.

 

The Verdict

When it comes to anything burgers, Proper Burger beats most burger places I’ve been to. Using creativity and innovation while also maintaining a dedication to proper burger composition isn’t easy. I haven’t seen any other burger place with such flawless execution.

I would recommend you go here next time you want some grub. The prices are decent, the music is always good, the staff is very nice and there’s a bar five feet away — in short, I promise you will be blown away. 

I would recommend just getting the Proper burger. It’s the burger that started it all back at Avenues Proper. It’s also a little simpler, something I can get behind. Moreland, on the other hand, would recommend you try his personal favorite, the Pork City.

 

5/5 Stars

 

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@westonwood8