REVIEW - Teak Neighborhood Grill - Home of the Original Donut Burger!

So it seems that I owe the whole of Orlando a great apology. A little over a year ago, I wrote this - a guide to our favorite burgers in the area. I swiftly heard from a handful of readers who felt compelled to point out an oversight... some more politely than others. That oversight was that Teak Neighborhood Grill was not included on our list. I fessed up to each of these readers... I KNEW that Teak should be on that list, but I had not personally had the experience to speak of. It was on MY list, but I just hadn't made it happen yet. Well - that has changed, and I totally get it now. It's not exaggerated hype. I understand the disbelief and passion that led some of you to enlighten me. This is one hell of a burger joint!!

Happening RIGHT NOW - Teak is in the midst of their 2nd Annual Burger World Tour, with a different burger offered each day for just $5! When I received word of this, September 8th immediately jumped out at me... Glazed Donut Burger! This was the one that put Teak on my radar in the first place. No time like the present to finally sink my teeth into some Teak!

I admit - there isn't a single option on Teak's extensive burger list that I wouldn't try. It took me a while to grasp the "craft burger" concept, and putting a different spin on the all-American staple, but once I dipped my toe in that pool, I dove right in pretty quickly. Now, I find myself getting excited over the quest to find something different. At Teak - it's practically ALL different, and there's something kind of exhilarating about that if you fancy yourself a burger aficionado!

Let's start with the Teak vibe. We hit the Metrowest location, which has a pub-like dining area adjacent to an outdoor covered patio. You could easily miss it - tucked away within a blended commercial/ residential community nook... the very definition of a hidden gem! TVs, live trivia, and reasonably-priced, flavorful cocktails? Yes, please! Along with that less-touristy pricing (a nice shift from the area's norm) comes a complementary local feel, even though you're just a few miles away from the theme parks. You could certainly have a great evening here with just a few friends sharing drinks and apps, like the fabulous perogies we tried out! 

But, if you really want to understand the Teak obsession, you simply have to aim for the burger selections - so consider those appetizers shareable and save room for the main course! At first glance, you'll find almost 20 burgers on the menu - but there's really 37 different types to choose from! You'll only discover about half of them, unless you know about Teak's Underground "secret" Menu. Each month, the restaurant releases a password on their Facebook Page. To view the secret menu, which is kept in a highly secure lock box, share the current password with your server. It was that menu that led to our second burger selection of the evening - the Godzilla - an aptly-chosen name for a gargantuan beast of a burger! The Godzilla serves up 1 lb. of Angus beef, provolone, Swiss and bleu cheeses, bacon, pickles, mixed greens, tomato, bibb lettuce, onion rings, and bistro sauce on an artisan baguette. If you think the description is a mouthful, just wait till you see the product! This paired well with a hardy helping of just-right garlic bistro fries. Mr. Come See Orlando didn't need another meal for more than 24 hours after conquering this magnificent monstrosity, but be aware - this isn't their biggest burger indulgence. Not by a long shot!

Before we get to Teak's famous Glazed Donut Burger, can we detour for just a moment to talk about the Teak Challenge? It looks a little something like this:

Photo: Randy Santel, Youtube

The Teak Challenge includes 2 full pounds of ground beef, 9 slices of American Cheese, 9 slices of Swiss cheese, 9 slices of Provolone cheese, 24 slices of smoked bacon, 2 fried mozzarella rounds, 4 beer battered onion rings, tomatoes, lettuce, Teaks’ award winning bean-less chili, Cheddar cheese sauce & sliced jalapenos. If you can devour this within a 45-minute sitting, you've won a free meal and bragging rights - with perhaps a side of heartburn. Personally, I couldn't even put a dent in something like this - but I'd love to be on-hand to see someone else make the effort!

Back to something a bit more reasonable for those of us with only one stomach to fill.... that famous donut burger! It's quite simple, really - but brilliant. Two warm glazed donuts serve as the burger "bun", and the 1/2 lb. Angus patty is topped with American cheese and bacon. As curious as I was about this item, I honestly expected the donuts to be a letdown. Not sure why, but I just didn't think they'd be as fresh as the claim promised. They ARE that fresh, and worthy of standalone praise. This could make you drive right on my that Krispy Kreme hot-light, donut fans! Absolutely every bit as good as I had hoped it would be - lived up to the hype, and to my high standards. Exceptional quality all the way through... wow-worthy burger, to say the very least. I think it's time to prioritize editing our "best burgers" guide! (Side note... the sweet potato tots are remarkable! Do this!)

With our praise of Teak comes a warning. This is one of those places that can become highly addictive... the kind of place you'll crave to return to again and again as you check another edible accomplishment off of a seemingly neverending list of must-haves. So buckle up and settle in for the long-haul. You've just discovered your next obsession. Personally, I'm most anxious to return for the Drunken Monk, or the PB&J from the Underground Menu! After that - who knows?! There's plenty to choose from, and the prices are right.

Teak has been recognized with numerous awards for their crafty innovations, including the honor of being named best burger in Florida by The Travel Channel. If you're a local who has yet to experience Teak, stop making the excuses and get yourself out there. If you're a visitor to The City Beautiful, your tourist dollars will be much better spent here than at the myriad collection of overpriced tourist traps with a fraction of the quality and appeal. Two locations - Metrowest and Maitland. Find out more on the Teak website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram!