Revolutionary Burger Reborn (Lebanon, NH)

(Update: Well, this Revolution fizzled out like the last one; Gusanoz announced in late September 2021 that they were again shutting down Revolutionary Burger).

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” – Stephen King

If there’s an underlying theme to dining during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been that there’s generally no such thing as “business as usual”, and pretty much every restaurant has had to adapt, or close. It’s been brutal, with a lot of places closing forever, but during these times, we’ve also seen some encouraging change, like new restaurants opening, and quite a few restaurants getting quite creative to adapt to the current dining “new normal” of primarily takeout food, social distancing, and more stringent health requirements. I’ve seen a lot of really good creative problem solving, especially when it comes to creating outdoor dining space, new ordering methods, new concepts, and even revisiting old concepts. The last of these brings us to Revolutionary Burger in Lebanon, NH.

Revolutionary Burger is no stranger to the pages of Offbeat Eats; we reviewed them way back in 2011 (review). At the time, they were a bit of an odd concept: Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant, itself being a common topic here (you can read some of the background here), had decided to try and replicate the basic concepts of In-N-Out Burger as a store-front-only operations. They were making the burgers out of the kitchen at Gusanoz, but only selling them takeout with advance ordering. Now in 2021, that’s now a fairly common concept with a well-known label, the “Ghost Kitchen”, but in 2011 semi-rural New England? That was an unusual concept. If you read my earlier review, I actually liked the concept; aside from a few little quirks in ordering, the concept was well-executed, with a burger nicely done to the “California Fast Food” style (a toasted bun, lettuce, tomato, onion and, of course, the “special sauce”), although I admit to having chuckled every time I saw their version of the cheeseburger, the “Che Burger”, since that meant that Che Guevara’s name was attached to an item featuring…. American Cheese. Cheesiness aside, the burgers and fries were good, but apparently not enough to get critical volume: in early 2012, the concept quietly disappeared with a notice about “as they prepare for the next phase of the Revolution”.

But yeah, as the Covid-19 pandemic dragged on, Gusanoz continued to tweak their operations. Fairly early in the pandemic, they transformed their smaller, original dining room into a combination takeout counter and “La Comida”, a small set of Mexican grocery staples and spices for cooking at home (a rather helpful addition during the era of homebound workers). Then, in early 2021, I was completely shocked to see a new post on Revolutionary Burger’s long-dormant Facebook page. Apparently, viva la Revolution! In this era where ghost kitchens, online ordering, and order pickup, Gusanoz had dusted off the old concept and started serving up takeout burgers again. For the most part, the concept hasn’t changed much at all, including the logo, that still features a decades old image of Eddy, the Gusanoz owners’ son, who now runs his own nearby taco stand (that I really enjoy). The other day I was finally able to get a (now renamed) RevBurger with cheese and fries and check out the refreshed Revolutionary Burger concept.

Overall, the concept still works at least as well as it did in 2011. The burger still has most of the hallmarks of a good In-N-Out-style “California Fast Food Burger”: a thinner patty, nicely done, with a good seared crisp on it, but still juicy inside. The topping were fresh, crisp, and well-assembled. The “Special Sauce” here is “RevChipotle Mayo”, and that actually adds a nice hot pepper and garlic kick to the burger, and makes for a decent dipping sauce for the fries. About the only thing I didn’t catch that I like in this style of burger is a good, strong toast to the bun (if my bun was toasted at all, it was only a slight toast), but that didn’t really detract, and the price is quite refreshing in this era of $14+ burgers… this is a $5.69 burger.

The fries were also quite good. These still appear to be single-cooked fries, but are nicely executed, and served with just enough seasoned salt to give them some salty and spicy kick without burying the fries under the seasoning. And that extra $0.50 container of “RevChipotle Mayo” was handy here as a great dipping sauce.

Overall, I’m surprised and pleased to welcome back Revolutionary Burger. There’s a few hitches still, primarily the wait time. For a mid-week lunch is quite wide, the range given was 25-50 minutes, with my order being ready towards the tail end of that, but I did notice that the kitchen was very busy handling both Gusanoz and Revolutionary Burger orders. Foodwise? They set out to recreate the “California Fast Food Burger” and do a good job of it, although next time I’ll probably get a second patty and ask for my bun to be toasted a bit more. But certainly a welcome addition to the local takeout scene (and this makes essentially my fifth review of Gusanoz!)

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