Classic Burger Joint Opens in Jal el Dib

First, allow me to acknowledge CBJ’s complete unbiased attitude. I recently discovered that my ambivalent review of the Sodeco branch has been featured on their website here along with reviews from other Lebanese websites and bloggers. Compared to other reviewees I’ve encountered, that was truly commendable from CBJ’s part. Now, don’t get me wrong, my review wasn’t negative, it was just that I was upset with the Pepsi being 2,500 LBP =P reread it here

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that CBJ, like so many other awesome businesses, is opening in the Northern Suburbs of Beirut. More specifically, in Jal el Dib. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the map CBJ put on their website, to help you guys get your bearings when you wanna go try it for yourselves.

The chosen venue was very similar to the Sodeco one, with the restaurant not exactly on the main highway, but just around the corner, giving the familiar homy-feel to the place. I was skeptical about the staff, cause as I expected, Teta stayed in Sodeco. However, the Jal el Dib guys were just as courteous and amicable and made us feel comfortable in no time.

The size, tables and seating is also very similar to Sodeco, with the trademark mayonnaise-ketchup-mustard-pickles-and-other-stuff shelves above the kitchen counter on one side, and the hand-painted windows on the opposite side.

What I did not like though was the valet parking. It’s awesome not wasting time searching for a parking spot, but I would’ve preferred having the very vague hope of finding a parking spot in front of the CBJ branch. Given the residential location though, I’d understand how a granny might park their for several months at a time, so the valet parking did not really hinder my dining experience.

One awesome thing that’s different though is that the place is packed, but there was no 30 or 40-minute cue like in Sodeco. It seems not enough people know about the Jal el Dib branch yet, or that the first bout of excitement has passed, with CBJ becoming the familiar favorite you can go to anytime, instead of the must-try craze you need to go to now.

… and they do them good too. I had the mushroom-swiss burger, again, and even though it was tough to handle and I had to cut it in half like a sissy, the burger was sublime. The meat patty was just right and the mushroom sauce was superb. That, combined with the cheese, the delicious burger buns and the trademark CBJ fries made for an exceptional dinner at a reasonable price (unlike similar places that opened later, with an honestly outrageous price tag. Plus, all meat is imported, so, cut the crap posers =P)

This time around though, I had a bottle of water, not Pepsi. I still believe the Pepsi is outrageously priced, but then again, I don’t need the extra calories and diet pepsi tastes like detergent, so you’re probably better off just having water, or maybe an Alamaza.

Verdict: Loved it, closer to where I live, perfect casual place for a good burger and maybe even watching a football game?

Price: Very fair compared to some new competitors

Atmosphere: Busy (but less than Sodeco), non-smoking (huge plus), and very friendly

Staff: Very courteous and friendly

Food: I loved the Swiss-Mushroom burger. The burgers are also extremely customizable, so if the preset menu doesn’t suit you, you can manage coming up with something you’ll like.

Classic Burger Joint Review

It was an extremely slow Monday and Wissam K suggested trying out this new burger place in Sodeco. He was driving, so, what the hell! =D

The place is directly facing Di Francesco pizzeria, it’s a very nice, cozy ‘joint’. And before you judge, it’s a Lebanese project, not an imported franchise.

The decor is very simple, emphasizing its ‘classical joint-ishness’. The menu is fairly simple too with a variety of hamburgers and a handful of desserts.

The fries are amazing there, and so is the bun. I’m not really a burger expert, but the Swiss’n'Mushroom definitely scored well with my tummy (better than Hardee’s)

The tables are really close to each other, you’d practically be a few centimeters away from the tabel next to you, with the staff making sure you’re ok, adding a personal touch to the sometimes too-professional and too-lukewarm service in most restaurants in Lebanon.

Unfortunately, Classic Burger Joint will not graduate with flying colors, for their Pepsi is the 250-ml glass one (shrabba-ridda) and it is for TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED LEBANESE LIRAS! Come on… That’s absurd! That’s TEN times more expensive than the market price (which CBJ pays less of course, for the quantities they order). That is the main thing that ruined the whole experience for me.

Verdict: It’s a nice, cozy, true burger joint, dedicated to the famous sandwich with Lebanese hospitality on the side. It fails for its Pepsi-ripoff though, big time…

Price: Same as the price of other, bigger diners

Atmosphere: Busy, non-smoking, and very friendly

Staff: Very courteous, a bit shy since they’re still in their first days

Food: I loved that Swiss n Mushroom burger, plus, the burger is extremely customizable, so if the preset menu doesn’t suit you, you can manage coming up with something you’d like to eat.