Umami Burger, San Francisco’s SoMa District’s Thick Gourmet Delight

We need to be very transparent right from the start.

This is not a vegan burger. We know vegan is all the rage, and we are very glad that it is, but sometimes when your stomach gets the burger grumbles, you need something a little different.

Meatier so to speak. Chunkier. Thicker. Juicier.

Like a Umami Burger, which is not just any burger. It is a gourmet burger. Yummy. With a Umami taste.

No, not Yo Mama. It’s Umami. Very Japanese.

What is Umami?

Umami or savory taste is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). It has been described as savory and is characteristic of broths and cooked meats.

People taste umami through taste receptors that typically respond to glutamate, which is widely present in meat broths and fermented products and commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Since umami has its own receptors rather than arising out of a combination of the traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct taste.

Umami is a powerful force behind many of our food cravings. Umami-rich foods include soy sauce, miso paste and bonito flakes in Asian cuisine; and cured ham, cheese, tomatoes, ketchup and mushrooms in Western cuisine.

Wonders never cease.

Such a discovery. Who better to bring this wonderful taste to a wide market than a savvy team of entrepreneurs? They call themselves Umami Burger.

Umami Burger is an American restaurant chain that specializes in gourmet hamburgers. writer, photo credit

The restaurant was founded by Adam Fleischman, and is part of the Umami Restaurant Group. Umami Burger has waiter service and most locations have a full bar. Its first restaurant opened in Los Angeles in 2009. There now are over 25 locations in California, Florida, Illinois, Japan, Nevada, and New York as of 2017.

Time for an update.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times on March 1, 2019, “Travelers can expect to see a lot more Umami Burger locations popping up in cities around the world over the next few years. The company recently announced plans to open 100 new locations by 2026, from Mexico City to Qatar.”

That is very ambitious. We love ambition.

In 2016, Sam Nazarian's global hospitality company, SBE Entertainment Group, became majority shareholder of Umami Restaurant Group and announced its plans to accelerate the restaurant's growth worldwide.

The restaurant's burgers are made using 6-ounce beef patties, mostly from American Wagyu beef, that are coarsely ground in-house. writer, photo credit

The meat is seasoned with Umami Sauce, which contains soy sauce, and Umami Dust that includes ground-up dried porcini mushrooms and dried fish heads.

Mr. Fleischman said that no monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added.

Their tomatoes are slow-baked overnight with a soy-based sauce to enhance their flavor.

Parmesan, which is also umami-rich, is provided as a cheese crisp. The burgers are served on a soft, Portuguese-style bun that meet Fleischman's desire for a basic supermarket-style bun that also feels artisanal.

Umami Burger provides over a dozen different burgers, and substitutions are discouraged.

Sorry about that. Have it your way is not their theme.

Priced at over $10, their burgers are more expensive than those at fast food restaurants, but it is well worth it.

How delicious is their offering?  In 2010, Umami Burger was named Burger of the Year by Alan Richman of GQ Magazine.

Wait. We smell an incredible aroma.

Let’s walk closer to where it is emanating from. Yes, there is it is and as is often the case, there is a flavorful story that goes with it.

At they smile, “The Umami Burger first dropped on Los Angeles in 2009, immediately becoming a must-try burger and positioning itself firmly on the city’s best restaurant lists, and the nation’s best burger lists. Since then, San Francisco, Chicago and New York have been Umamified, with 24 locations spanning the nation. In early 2017, we opened our first international location, bringing Umami Burger to the home of umami itself, Japan, with additional locations on the way.  Even Mexico has joined in as the latest to launch an Umami Burger with even more to come in the near future!”

That is great news. Customers can’t seem to get enough of Umami Burgers.

San Francisco is everything to us. We grew up there and continue to be in love with it.

Is a Umami Burger restaurant available in San Francisco? Of course it is. Dare you even ask? San Francisco has everything. writer, photo credit

Here is an invitation, “Stop by our SoMa restaurant near AT&T Park to taste one of our gourmet burgers. Enjoy a burger and fries on our patio or join us inside for a craft beer and to catch a game on one of our big screen TVs.

Umami SoMa is located just south of AT&T Park (Go Giants!) at 242 King St., right next to the Caltrain. Looking to feed a hungry team? Ask us about our catering and to-go programs!”

As of this April 8, 2019 writing, they are located at 242 King Street.

We want to read more about their incredible expansion. They are happy to oblige. Here is the inside scoop.

Please enjoy.

NEW YORK, March 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Umami Burger, sbe's world-renowned premium burger brand, is thrilled to announce the opening of their first three locations in Mexico City in partnership with Gin Dinar. Gin Dinar is a company in Mexico focused on hospitality and development business that currently has 70+ company-owned restaurants through GIN Group and is set to open 40+ Umami Burger and Katsuya restaurants in collaboration with sbe by 2021. These three locations are the first of 30+ additional Umami Burger locations planned to roll out in Mexico in the coming years. Umami Burger Merida officially opened to the public on March 23rd with two locations slated to follow, Umami Burger Querétaro opening April 11th and Umami Burger Puebla's opening May 10th. This announcement comes on the heels of sbe and AccorHotels exciting commitment to open over 100 Umami Burger restaurants across the globe in the next seven years.

Sam Nazarian, Founder & CEO of sbe, states: "We are very excited to open our first three Umami Burger locations in Mexico City in collaboration with Gin Dinar and bring our Umami Burger brand to the community. Mexico is an extremely important market for both Umami Burger and the sbe portfolio, including our other acclaimed brands SLS, Mondrian and Hyde Hotels and Residences. We've seen an unprecedented level of growth and are extremely excited to continue our expansion in Mexico."

Javier Romo, COO of Gin Dinar states: "We are very excited about our licensing partnership with sbe. We believe that this brand will be a resounding success in Mexico as there is a market niche looking for refreshing and innovative options such as Umami. In the same way we are excited to have a relationship with a company such as sbe with which we feel closely linked in terms of its principles, mission and values. This brand is ideal for the portfolio of our company."

Architecture firm Abraham Cherem designed the three new properties to mirror the vibrant and aesthetically pleasing decor as seen in the US locations using natural wood, structured leather, and Umami Burger's iconic pops of orange and blue color. The menus will offer guests the same favorited dishes including the flavorful Manly Burger, the Sunny Side Burger, and mouthwatering Truffle 'Em Fries.

The Umami Burger brand is aggressively expanding, having just opened two new locations in Japan this month with 17 more in the pipeline. Later this year, Umami Burger will introduce several locations in the Middle East with two locations debuting in Doha.

Umami Burger Merida is located at La Isla Merida, Calle 88 #608, PB local PB-89, Colonia Temozon, Merida Yucatan, CP 97143 (Tel: 9999219151) and is open Sunday - Thursday from 12:00 - 22:00 and Friday - Saturday from 12:00 - 24:00.

Umami Burger currently has 16 locations in the US, four locations internationally in Tokyo, Japan and Nassau, Bahamas.

For more information on Umami Burger visit or follow @umamiburger or #umamiburger on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Opening photo Umami Burger Company 


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