Elevation Burger

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Elevation Burgers are, like several other burger chains in Washington, popping up in the burbs like the restaurant equivalent of Whac-a-Moles. How does it stand out? It serves only grass-fed beef burgers, fries crisped in olive oil, shakes in flavors such as guava and not one but two kinds of veggie burgers. At National Harbor, where mega-restaurants turn out broccoli rabe, avocado-jicama salads and sashimi martinis, the Virginia-based chainlet serves something much more important than organic beef: families and the budget-conscious. Many items on the menu - including the cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and the shakes (which are easily big enough for two) - ring up at less than $4, meaning you can comfortably feed a family of four (nominally healthful) burgers and shakes for less than $30, just as long as Junior doesn't order the 10-patty Vertigo Burger. And if you're in National Harbor for only a few hours, or hanging out for a daylong festival, Elevation is the place to reload without reservations. The restaurant is tiny, however, so get your food to go and do your eating al fresco. -- Lavanya Ramanathan (April 2011)