Started in 1998, modeled after 1950’s diners, and with the timeless taste of good old home-cooked charbroiled burgers, Hawaii-based Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, fires up its grill as it opened its first branch in Greenbelt 3 Makati today.
Teddys is the latest foreign franchise to join the current gourmet burger craze in the country and has created quite a buzz in social media as hundreds lined up as early as 6 am to be among the first to try out their burgers and hopefully be the winner of a year’s supply of burgers.
Thankfully, I didn’t need to line up early or ‘crash’ my way into Teddy’s as it held an exclusive media event a couple days before its opening to meet Ted Tsakiris himself and his very welcoming staff who flew in to train the local crew.
The Hawaii burger chain, whose specialties include ground chuck flame-broiled burgers and old-fashioned shakes, will be the first international franchise for the High Jap Group, owned by the trio of Marvin Agustin, Raymund Magdaluyo and Ricky Laudico, whose restaurants include Sumo Sam, Marciano’s, Akira and the newly opened Banzai.
The High Jap Group are eyeing 10 initial outlets for Teddy’s. Laudico revealed that plans for a 2nd branch at Newport Mall at Resorts World Manila is already underway.
“It all happened serendipitously. Raymund, who is in charge of business development, was biking in Oahu and it started raining hard. He ended up taking shelter at Teddy’s Kailua branch. His wife had told him all about this winner of a burger house which they had to try. From then on, he was hooked,’’ recounts Ricky Laudico, co-owner and managing director.
Enamored about Teddy’s and everything about it – the taste, the concept, the stores –Magdaluyo then brought Agustin, the company’s president, and Laudico to Teddy’s in Tokyo, and then met with founders Ted Tsakiris and Richard Stulain to invite the brand over to the Philippines.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers Philippines thus joins Teddy’s growing network, with nine branches in Hawaii, and about 20 more in various stages of development in the US Mainland (California, Washington, Texas, Las Vegas), and in Japan.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers got its start in the backyard cookouts of owners Ted and Rich. The two loved good burgers but couldn’t understand why there weren’t any fast food restaurants that offered the quality of their home cooked burgers in a quick service environment. So Ted and Rich set out to create a restaurant that served the best quality burger in an energetic fast paced environment. After studying the simple menus of the original 1950’s burger joints, Ted & Rich decided to ‘reinvent the burger joint’ with a 50’s theme and a simple menu of burgers, fries and shakes.
Tsakiris addsthey are ‘’built from the burger.’’
‘’Honestly, we just do the burger. At Teddy’s, we’re built from the burger. Our toppings are not very extravagant, we don’t have truffle oil, we don’t have foie gras. Our ground chop is the best tasting patty out there. If you wanna serve a crappy ground patty with soy in there, you know what you need? You need foiegras, you need truffle oil all over it, you need double cooked bacon to mask the terrible beef flavour and you need to stack it so high on there that’s eight-inches almost hitting your chin. So honestly, I don’t need that much product on our burger because if you put too much stuff on there, you don’t have the beautiful experience we have,’’ Tsakiris adds.
A self-confessed burger purist, Tsakiris grew up being served burger and French fries at his father’s Greek diner in New Jersey. ‘’My father would bring the burger in front of me and, for some odd reason, I would watch the news on TV and I would sit there and I would talk to my burger. And my back straight up, I was very professional, I wanted to be like an adult and I would have conversations with my burger. I think I said something like, if I wanted to fall in love, I would choose you,’’ Tsakiris says with a laugh.
Ferrari of burgers
So what makes this new burger joint different?
Simply put, Teddy’s is the “Ferrari of burger patties” as proudly described by his staff.
Teddy’s uses only 100% fresh chilled ground chuck (no fillers or binders). And their Burgers are hand pattied daily and always charbroiled to order. Teddy’s Super Sauce is their own sweet and tangy creation and not your usual thousand island dressing and when combined with the natural juices of the burger the result is a choreography of sensations in your mouth.
I was only able to try their Kailua Monster double burger– two thick patties with Teri, Grilled Mushroom, Grilled Onions, Swiss cheese– and I must say, my diet has met its match. It was BIG, and for those with normal appetite I’d say the combo would be good enough for three people.
Other must try burgers are Teddy’s Original Burger or Cheeseburger, made of 100% US ground chuck patty seasoned with our special burger seasoning, Teri Burger, which is basted with sweet Teriyaki sauce, and the Monster Double Burger. You can then choose from several specialty toppings such as Waikiki (Teri, Spud, Cheddar, Bacon) Hawaiian (Teri, Grilled Pineapple Paradise), Cajun Burger (Cajun Seasoning, Pepperjack Cheese, and the Kailua.
You can also select your toppings separately and the choices include Grilled Onions, Jalapenos, Grilled Pineapples, Peanut Butter, Cheese, Avocado, Mushroom, Bleu Cheese, Bacon, Onion Rings, Spud and Pastrami.
As for the sauces, there’s the Special Sauce, Buffalo Sauce, Loco Moco Gravy, Teri, Barbeque Sauce and the Kilauea Fire Sauce.
So you can basically create your personalized burger and choose from three types of buns; potato, wheat and lettuce wrap.
For Fries and Sides, there’s Teddys signature crispy fries, spicy or garlic flavor fries, tater tots and their battered thick cut onion O-Rings.
Not in the mood for burgers? Teddy’s also has chicken tenders, fish and chips and tiki wings.
Finally, you should also try their one of their thick shakes (strawberry, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, banana, peanut butter).
Whether you are into burgers or not, or looking for just a new restaurant to try out, Teddy’s Burgers is an easy suggestion, especially for those who have BIG appetites.
‘’Eating a burger is a religious experience for me. And nine times out of 10 when I’m eating a burger, I just start shaking my head, my eyes closed, and say “Wow! This is amazing!” And my stomach is right near my heart. Eating is an emotional thing. You know if you’re hungry and if we screw your food up, as a customer you will hate us for life. So that’s why a lot of restaurants fail over time because they don’t understand the primitive nature of the supply and demand of food. I’m feeding you because you are hungry, not because you’re full. When you get hungry there are certain biological things that happen to your body. You get cranky while you’re in anticipation of a great burger. We figured out, don’t screw up. Give these people the possibility of the best burger you could possibly get in the least amount of time and do it in a great atmosphere,’’ Rich exclaims.
And its easy to get emotional once you’ve taken your first bite of Teddys burgers.