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Zeeburger Joins the Woodbury Food Scene

Carole Peck's burger joint is jumping in its opening weeks.

With a famous chef as its creator and a menu that includes locally sourced hamburger meat and Kobe beef hot dogs, it's no wonder there's been quite a buzz about the recent opening of Woodbury's Zeeburger.

By now, most foodies have heard of, if not visited, Carole Peck's burger place. And when you run one of the most beloved landmark restaurants in western Connecticut, expectations are high for your second venture. So after coercing my son, to whom the name Good News Cafe means nothing, we and a friend arrived for our first taste at these new digs.

Arriving when the door swings open for business will help you grab one of a handful of wooden booths or tables in this brightly colored eatery. The vibe here is modern, welcoming and comfortable, but don't expect any frills. There are napkin dispensers on the tables and help-yourself packets of salt and pepper at the counter.

But no one arrives at this place looking for amenities; we're looking for a good burger. And I'm still debating whether I found it. After my number was called and I fetched my tray packed with offerings, I could barely wait to sink my teeth into Zee Blue Juicy Lucy Burger ($7).

I had high hopes for the grass-fed ground beef mixed with chunks of Gorgonzola, and I added grilled onions and pickle to complete my anticipated masterpiece. After the first, then the second and finally the third bites, I realized that I was disappointed. The meat was cooked to my requested medium well and it was tasty, but I was surprised with its small size and felt the bulky brioche bun overwhelmed the meat.

There was a bright (green) spot, however, and that was the pickle. When I felt the crunch of that sliced pickle and saw its fresh spring green skin, I was smitten. Where do they get those pickles? My family's no stranger to growing and jarring our own pickles, so when I taste a good one, I'm impressed.

My son chose his usual hot dog, unaware that he was ordering a massive meal that I'd be hard-pressed to finish. Zee Mean Kobe Beef Dog ($6) is huge and comes on a split Portuguese roll with smoked jalapeno relish. We ordered the relish on the side, which would be a wise decision for anyone who doesn't like their spiciness to hurt.

The relish had great flavor, but the following burn lingered and I had to gulp down some soda to put out the fire. I know several people who would love this combo, but not many kids. As for the hot dog, it was flavorful, if a little awkward to handle on the split Portuguese roll.

Our third taste off the menu was the Veggie Shroom Stack ($6.50). My friend enjoyed the generous slabs of zucchini and portobello mushroom with cheddar, opting not to include the red peppers. She also thoroughly loved her thick, old-fashioned chocolate shake ($6.50), which was a deliciously creamy pairing with the lunch.

French fries and sides are ordered a la carte at Zeeburger, so we asked for both sweet potato ($3.50) and regular fries ($2.50). After sprinkling mine with a packet of salt (I know, bad habit), I liked both varieties but preferred the thicker sweet potato fries. The house-made Carole's ketchup added a subtle layer of flavor to the fries, whose flavor is often smothered when using commercial ketchup.

Of the items we didn't taste, the Slammin' Salmon burger, Tweety Bird and original Zee Burger looked appealing. Zeeburger also sells beer and wine, in addition to Pepsi products and other beverages.

We couldn't leave without tasting the ice cream made with milk from Arethusa Farm Dairy. Cups filled with chocolate and coffee flavors ($3.25) were delicious.

Every restaurant has to feel its way to its own path when it first opens, figuring out what works and what doesn't. And I'm looking forward to visiting Zeeburger again a little further down that road.

Zeeburger is located at 670 Main St. South, Woodbury, 203-405-6011. Hours are Tue - Sun, 11am - 9pm.

Andrew May 23, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I think it's a shame that so much fan fare is being made about an over priced burger joint. I like my burgers without fancy cheeses and commercial ketchup works just fine for me. Additionally, Woodbury already has a burger joint, Pete's, just up at the top of the hill from ZEEBURGER. How about supporting local business that need it and are already established instead of feeding someone else's ego.
teachermom December 31, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Right on man!! Although, I heard they don't even have ketchup! And they have ventilation problems that cause the inside to be very smokey and the service is a nightmare. It seems more than a coincidence too that Sandwich Construction went out of business just at the same time that Zee Burger needed a place to move into!?! Another coincidence... the owner of Sandwich Construction worked for Good News Cafe like10 years ago. Hmmmm... Another thing. How come they are allowed to have such a huge sign on the roof and all other businesses are only allowed smaller signs and not very often? Again.... when you have money and pull in the community people seem to bend over backwards for you...
Andy Florence September 19, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Maybe this website needs an update? Zeeburger deserved to die, as did the 2nd generation of Sandwich Const. Co. Comments were both pretty accurate.
Jaimie Cura (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Hi Andy. This article was published in May 2011, when Zeeburger was new to the scene. Here a link to the 2012 coverage of when Bilda Burger was before the Zoning Commission for approval: http://woodbury-middlebury.patch.com/articles/zoning-commission-supports-bilda-burger-more Also, should you ever wish to review any of the businesses in Middlebury or Woodbury, here's a link to the directory listing: http://woodbury-middlebury.patch.com/directory - You can search for businesses there and rate/comment on them.

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