RESTAURANT MR BEAST BURGER
YouTube star Mr. Beast opens a flagship location, but he’ll need more than his 100-plus-million subscribers to make this place go viral
You’re probably wondering why we’re publishing a restaurant review about a burger place located inside a mall — in New Jersey, nonetheless, where there are as many malls as there are mobsters.
That’s because the burger place is Mr. Beast Burger, the first and only (so far) permanent location launched by Jimmy Donaldson, aka Mr. Beast, and the mall is the regional godforsaken destination American Dream.
For those who are too old to know, or care really, or are not parents to a child between 10 and 15 years old, Mr. Beast is an internet phenomenon. The North Carolina native’s YouTube channel has 132 million subscribers, good for fourth most in the world. His videos show him and his crew of twenty-somethings playing video games, pulling off stunts and most notably – and admirably – giving away small fortunes to folks for doing harmless stunts, or to good causes.
A month after operating a pop-up location in November 2020, where Jimmy gave away meals for free, he partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts and launched nationally, operating as a ghost kitchen in hundreds of locations across the United States and United Kingdom.
Mr. Beast Burger at American Dream had its grand opening on Sept. 4, 2022, the day before Labor Day. I took my son and his friend. They had hopes of meeting Jimmy and eating one of his burgers and chocolate bars (more on them later). Neither happened. We stood in line for over three hours, serpentining throughout the mall’s massive first floor. We bailed when we realized the circuitous line had two more levels to ascend. It was an absolute shitshow. I finally realized just how popular Mr. Beast is. If his burgers are even a tenth amazing as this line was, I’m in for a treat.
The flagship location, on the mall’s third floor, is currently the only place on the level to eat. In some future reality, Mr. Beast Burger will be surrounded by more worthwhile-looking restaurants. If you go on a non-holiday weekend, prepare to wait in line to order for 10 to 15 minutes – you can stare at everyone else eating while you do. To view the menu in line, you can scan a very hard-to-find QR code, or strain your neck when you pass the menu hanging high on the wall. When your turn to order is next, you’re met by a towering, black-tiled column. Did someone just relocate an ancient obelisk? Maybe it’s load bearing, but it’s definitely intrusive.
This column isn’t the only thing that’s black. Everything at the checkout area is black. Like how white makes everything sterile, black makes everything look Goth and brooding – there’s no warmth, no charm. It’s more like a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.
The menu is limited, which might be good for Jimmy’s shiny object / lack of attention span fans. There are only three types of burgers, albeit smashed and crispy, all named for different members of the group: Beast Style, Chris Style and Chandler Style. They’re all a combination of one or two patties, house seasoning, American cheese, pickles, diced onion, mayo, ketchup, bacon, one has fries on it, on a toasted bun. If meat isn’t your thing, each burger can be swapped for an Impossible one.
Other offerings include Karl’s Grilled Cheese, Crispy Chicken Tender Sandwich, and a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. For sides, there are crinkle fries that look like they were nacho-fied at Applebee’s, and seasoned. You can also get a Feastable, Mr. Beast’s own chocolate bar. (Again, more on them later.)
When the food does arrive, it doesn’t look that appetizing. It’s a little sloppy. Maybe it’s the lighting. Or maybe, they don’t have enough people in the kitchen to keep up with demand to make it presentable – a common problem among the entire restaurant industry.
The Beast Style burger was good the first time eating it. Not quite in the same league as Shake Shack (thank you, Danny Meyer), but tasty and worthy of a recommendation. The second time, it lacked all flavor, not making it worthy it all, or recommendable. The cheese on the second attempt had a burnt spot, reminiscent of the open-faced grilled cheeses my mother made in the toaster oven when I was a kid.
I had to try the Nashville Hot Chicken because I never had it before and don’t know when I’ll get to Music City. First, the chicken was chicken tenders, so they fell off easily. Second, it wasn’t that hot. I have a low tolerance for spice and heat, and I’m not expecting Hattie B’s quality in North Jersey, but if this is what Nashville Hot Chicken is supposed to taste like — I suspect it’s not — then, well, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.
Getting your food delivered to your table takes about 15 minutes on a busy afternoon, which is about the same amount of time it takes to eat your meal, so you’ll also have to pay for parking. (American Dream gives you 30 minutes of free parking…) While waiting you can watch Mr. Beast videos (yay…), write your name on the wall (er, yay, again?), or look at the case of one-dollar bills. My guess is 8,000 singles.
Within the confines of the restaurant is the store where fans can gobble up Mr. Beast Burger merch: hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts – it’s recommended to buy a size or two larger for the sweatshirts as they’re known to shrink – and chocolate bars. Oh, the chocolate bars. You thought I forgot about them? Take one bite, and you will not forget what I think are some of the best chocolate bars. Ever. And I love chocolate. If I could, I’d guzzle it by the gallon. The ingredients of the Feastables are organic and few (five at the most) and the ones that are in each bar are pronounceable. There’s milk chocolate, whose milk comes from cows that are grass-fed. Other bars include chocolate sea salt, almond chocolate and quinoa crunch chocolate.
The chocolate bars may be absolute bliss, and the burgers are sometimes done well, but Mr. Beast Burger, is well, done.