Everyone else today will spill worth-it praise on Charlie Palmer's new burger joint, DG Burger, rave about the burger, wax purple over the fries, breathlessly report on the hundreds-deep line that snaked around his South Coast Plaza eatery to take him up on a free burger offer for the first 300--and I'll do all that mañana. But the main reason I was interested in attending today's madhouse was to talk to Palmer himself, so I could ask him the question I ask all famous chefs that grace our humble naranja: what's your favorite place to eat in OC that's not your own?
I also had a couple of other questions for him. Responses after the jump!
*On why he chose South Coast Plaza to open a burger restaurant, as opposed to his many other outposts: "It's a natural thing being in South Coast Plaza, with all the foot traffic. The clientele is the right clientele. And the chef-driven burger, the gourmet burger restaurant concept hasn't really hit Southern California yet, so it was a natural. And the demand is so great. One thing I've learned over the years is to listen to your clientele. Everyone who came to this location said they loved our sliders--but how about a burger?
*On whether he's tried any other Southern California burgers: "Can't say I have. I've heard great things about Umami Burger [Gustavo note: someone send him a TK Burgers special, stat!], but I haven't had the time to explore other places. But anyone can make a great burger--the difference is in the quality of the ingredients and the attention the chef puts to that.
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*At one point, one of Palmer's workers pointed out the line outside and suggested they give out free fries to everyone so the wait for the free burger wouldn't be so grueling in the chilly weather: "Do it. Good. Hadn't thought of that. Give them a bunch."
*On whether he'll open another DG Burger: "I've already had offers from other people who say, 'I have a piece of real estate, and I'd love to open up a DG Burger there.' People are already talking about it because of all the media attention. But let's do one right first before we think ahead."
*On his favorite Orange County restaurants that aren't Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdale's: "[My staff and I] love going out for Korean after the night is over--I love Korean food--but I wouldn't be able to tell you which restaurants--I'm just the passenger! Michael Mina is a good friend of mine, so I've been down to his Stonehill Tavern, and it's great. I like Pizzeria Ortica across the street--they make a good pizza. The only problem with eating outside of work is that most places in Orange County close after we're done at midnight, so I usually end up eating at our bar. That's not a bad thing, though--12:30 at the bar is when the best inspiration comes in. That's exactly where I got the idea for a burger restaurant!
Check in tomorrow for our mini-review of DG Burger...