Prime Burger Opens With LaFrieda Burger Bargains

By Danya Henninger  |  October 23, 2013
Credit: Danya Henninger

Michael Jamison picked a good location for his first Philadelphia eatery - on just its fourth day open, with nearly zero advance press, his quick-service stop Prime Burger is booming with business. With nearly a decade of corporate food management following time running his own kitchen in Queens and cooking through the NYC restaurant circuit, Jamison has the experience and know-how to make his new spot work.

That’s a bonus for Philadelphia burger-lovers, because you’d be hard pressed to find a better burger for your money than at this small storefront at 703 Chestnut Street. Super-flavorful Pat LaFrieda beef shows up in half a dozen burger varieties, and the six-ounce patties on brioche rolls from Hudson Bread start at $7 and top out at $10.50 (for the decadent surf ‘n’ turf).

There are “zero-beef” burgers too, in varieties like tuna, veggie and salmon, each one made in-house from high-end ingredients. Sides like waffle or sweet potato fries and desserts like hand-spun milkshakes are also top quality. How can Jamison afford to keep his prices low?

“I’ve run the numbers,” he says confidently, having quit his job just three weeks ago to focus fulltime on this new endeavor. “It’s not the highest margin menu, but I want to make people happy. I think it will work.”

The neighborhood doesn’t have much in the way of inexpensive, high-quality meals - “We’re on the same block as two Iron Chefs!” Jamison says, referring to Morimoto and Jose Garces’ forthcoming Rosa Blanca (formerly Chifa), “So we’ve got to keep our product at that level.” Several Morimoto line cooks have taken to frequenting the shop for lunch, where orders are taken at the counter and then brought out to 25 seats among booths and tables.

To start, Prime Burger will be open 11 AM-8 PM, Monday-Saturday. Click through the slideshow below to check out some of the burger offerings up close, and then head over to try them for yourself.

703 Chestnut St.; 267-861-0053

  • The Deluxe builds on the most basic patty option by adding cheddar an sautéed onions to the lettuce, tomato and pickle toppings ($7.50).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Get happy with the Blues Burger, in which blue cheese, frazzled onions and balsamic glaze spark up the beef ($7.95).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Surprising decadence will greet you when you bite into the Surf 'n' Turf Burger, topped with grilled shrimp, Boursin cheese and lobster sauce ($10.50).

  • Whole ahi tuna steaks are chopped and mixed with spices to create flavorful beef-free fish patties for the Tuna Burger, served with cucumber-wasabi dressing and a pile of crispy rice noodles, also cooked in house ($10.95).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Lump crabcake flakes in huge chunks as you bite into the jalapeno-tartar sauce-topped patty ($9.75).

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Five flavors of milkshakes are hand-spun to order and topped with fresh whipped cream ($5-$6.50).