JOLIET – Having spent 20 years managing Joliet-area restaurants, Elina Triantou knew exactly what she wanted when she decided to open one of her own.
But just because Triantou is from Greece, don’t mistake Hamburgerseria for a Greek diner. Hamburgerseria is a small, intimate space where customers can enjoy handmade burgers paired with coffee and sweets.
“We did a lot of research,” said Triantou, owner and manager. “We wanted something different in the town. Something small, something for me. The whole thing, it’s like for your lunch break. Nothing is precooking. You can come in and sit.”
Hamburgerseria puts its original burger sauce on most of the burgers. These include the Classic Cheeseburger (American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and onions) or the O’Hare Burger (Swiss cheese, portobello mushrooms and grilled onions).
Certain specialty burgers do not have the sauce, Triantou said, such as the Italiano Burger (fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers and marinara sauce) or the French Burger (Triantou’s favorite, with Brie cheese and cranberries).
Of course, if the customer requests it, the sauce always can go on the side, Triantou said. She would not reveal the ingredients of the burger sauce, but she did say it had a mayonnaise and ketchup base.
Customers also can customize their burgers. As long as Hamburgerseria has an ingredient, it will use that on a burger for a customer, Triantou said.
Despite the restaurant’s name, burgers are not the only menu items.
The restaurant also offers salads, sandwiches, paninis and all-beef hot dogs. Hamburgerseria’s hot dog offerings, like the burgers, are creative.
Triantou said the Chihuahua Dog – a deep-fried dog, wrapped with bacon and topped with avocado and sour cream – is her most popular dog, which people are discovering on their own.
“Basically, we work word of mouth,” Triantou said. “Right now, no advertising yet. I don’t even have the sign outside yet.”
Hamburgerseria’s other two hot dog options are Chicago Style (mustard, relish, onions, tomato and pickle) and New York Style (grilled onion, relish, jalapenos and cheddar cheese).
And for sides? Just three, including homemade potato chips.
But don’t expect to order traditional french fries with either the burgers or the dogs. Hamburgerseria doesn’t offer them, but it does offer homemade potato chips.
“Every day we make it fresh,” Triantou said. “Also sweet potato (fries) and fried onion rings.”
The restaurant also offers a variety of sweets, from muffins to cookies to cheesecake, but those are not made in-house, Triantou said.
“The whole concept is European, and we try to match the burger with the coffee and the sweets,” Triantou said. “Right now, we’re doing just the regular and decaf coffee. We don’t have cappuccino or espresso yet; In the future, we’re going to change this.”
Feedback on the restaurant so far has been positive. Currently, customers can order online, and Triantou hopes to add delivery service soon.
If Hamburgerseria continues to be well-received, Triantou will consider franchising.
“Having so much experience all those years, I won’t say it’s risky,” Triantou said of opening a restaurant. “That’s why you make it something small and good. If people like it, they are going to come back.”
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday through Thursday and Sunday) and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday).
WHERE: 1015 Essington Road, Joliet
CONTACT: 815-725-2883 or firstname.lastname@example.org