Burger lovers, it's time to embrace the "fifth taste": The founder of wildly popularUmami Burger, which already has five locations in Los Angeles, has declared that it's National Expansion Time. In an article about West Coast restaurant group sbe taking a "significant equity stake" in the chain, Umami impresario Adam Fleischman told Nation's Restaurant News that a bunch more locations will open in California, followed by a second phase of outposts New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Houston. Rumors to this effect have been floating through the burgersphere for some time, and the first of three San Francisco locations was announced officially last week. When reached for comment by e-mail, Fleischman confirmed Umami's expansion to the East Coast, adding, "We should be doing stuff in NYC by late 2012." So, there you go.
The chain sells many kinds of burgers, but the classic is a veritable bomb of umami-rich ingredients: Parmesan cheese, oven-roasted tomato, kombu, and mushrooms. In Los Angeles, Umami Burger is known for long lines, valet parking, and thousands of Yelp reviews. Last year, while bestowing Best Burger honors on him in GQ, food writer Alan Richman gushed that Fleischman's "face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the burger world."