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OC Mutt | Jan 10, 201904:52 PM     13

Death of Umami Burger

Dearly beloved burger lovers, we are gathered here to mourn the tragic death of Umami Burger. A once innovative restaurant serving a delicious juicy burger bursting with flavor along with a side of excellent conscientious service has become a sad pathetic rotting-corpse - a mere shell of what it once was. Mark my words, you heard it here first, Umami Burger is dead. It may be a zombie for a while, but it’ll be gone within 1 - 3 years.

The reason is simple, they stopped caring about food and the customer experience. These areas have deteriorated incrementally in tangible ways to the point where I and many people that I know do not wish to return anymore. It has turned into a factory - no different than an Applebees - airport location.

I don’t write this with glee, I write it mournfully. I used to love Umami Burger, so a big (insert harsh profane insult) to the grossly incompetent new ownership. Congratulations too, it took a concerted effort over the course of time with a lot of stupid decisions by a myriad of morons, but you’ve destroyed a once delicious, game-changing enjoyable restaurant with your imbecilic tone-deaf “management”.

I’ve watched Umami Burger slowly deteriorate over the past 4 years while eating at several locations including the worst one on King Street in San Francisco. Witnessing this was like the proverbial water torture, each time returning, giving it one more chance, hoping that things would change and that the next painful drip would not come.

The first drips came from poor service and execution.

Bad Choices - degrading the quality of the main event, THE FOOD
Beef quality downgraded
Less juicy
Less Umami
They definitely did SOMETHING as the beef flavor is inferior to what it once was
Less generosity of burger toppings
Fewer onion rings in a serving
Removal of the delightful flight of sauces for onion rings
Used to come with a flight of 3 different sauces
Serving un-ironic 80’s Chinese Chicken salads
Doused in a revolting, wildly ill-conceived “dressing” that tastes like spicy concentrated orange juice
Too sweet, too tangy, too spicy all in one liquid mess

Inconsistent product:
The inability to make a medium rare burger (we’re talking gray well done served instead)
Onion rings that are not only not golden but Sia’s hair-colored white
An inordinately high percentage of onion rings with no onion but instead that inedible onion paper inside
The disappearance of the dipping sauces for said onion rings.
Ruining the impossible burger by blackening it beyond recognition
(saw that personally 3 times when wanted to see what it was all about - and no, I'm not a vegetarian)
Inability to execute an order
Food arriving late
Often dishes served in the wrong order
Incorrect orders delivered
The last 11 times I’ve eaten at Umami they’ve failed to get the order for the table correct. That’s not a typo, ELEVEN times, parties no bigger than 4

And the final nail in the coffin, the point of no return, harbinger of death, comes in two forms. Ketchup and raw bacon.

Apathy manifest in execution and bean counter based destruction of the perceived value proposition.

Apathy Execution: I once chewed upon nauseating cold lardons on the manly burger - they had the texture of a well-done tendon. I took one out and saw that they were raw.
When a friend reported independently that the same thing at a different location happened to him a couple of times I realized this was another indicator of the corporate decay.
We both were too traumatized to ever try the Manly burger again

Value Proposition: miserly micro-management of food portions
The ultimate indignity is their delicious house-made ketchup now being (begrudgingly) meted out in 1/4 filled tiny metal thimbles.
Nothing says “$%@!-you customer, you’re a problem to be managed and a pocket to be milked of every penny and NOT someone we value” like being forced to beg for another 1/2 teaspoon of ketchup and pray that it arrives before the poorly conceived* always undercooked skinny fries freeze to death - if it arrives at all.
*(Note: NO ONE likes their skinny fries - they go cold within seconds and they’re even worse with the awful sauces they douse on them)

I take zero pleasure saying this, in fact, I’m sad about it - Umami burger is dead and management killed it. What an incredible shame. And another final (insert swear word) once again to the moronic, greedy creeps who constitute the new ownership - you ruined one of my favorite restaurants.

Umami Burger Soma
Umami Burger Oakland
Umami Burger Palo Alto
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