Healthy Burgers vs. Cheap Burgers

Universal life question “Where’s the beef?” now has an answer: the beef is at the corner of Dunster and Mt. Auburn streets.

The past three weeks have seen the opening of two new Harvard Square burger joints, Flat Patties and b. good, within one block of each other. Flat Patties is the latest brainchild of Felipe’s guru Tom Brush, while this is the second b. good in the Boston area.

The only remaining question is: which beef will survive? Figures right now suggest no favorite has yet emerged. b. good co-owner Jon Olinto estimates that his eatery is selling about 250 burgers a day, while Brush puts Flat Patties’ figure closer to 400. But even with Flat Patties’ lower prices, that puts burger revenue for both restaurants at about the $2,000 mark.

Although their locations and food offerings are similar, the two restaurants’ philosophies are markedly different.

Flat Patties specializes in the kind of good, cheap food that legions of Felipe’s eaters have come to know and love. b. good, by contrast, is more health-conscious.

“We want to take traditional fast food and make it a little bit better and healthier,” says Olinto. That means baked fries, lean meat, and whole-wheat buns.

You pay more for the privilege. At b. good, a typical check will run $8, but only $5 at Flat Patties.

For Steven T. Cupps ’09 and Evan J. O’Brien ’09, that is the bottom line. “I think that overall b. good has a better burger,” says Cupps, but ultimately, low price means Flat Patties gets his nod.