A new place for burger lovers
The Burger shop (ザ バーガー ショップ), located a few minutes on foot from Kojimachi station, is a relative newcomer to the burger restaurant scene in Tokyo. Opened in February 2018, it already has a sky high rating of 3.44 on Tabelog, Japan’s premier restaurant review site. A second branch, opened in the suburbs of Tokyo near Ikejiri-ohashi station in November 2018, has received similarly high reviews. It’s so new that I haven’t been able to find it on any “best Tokyo burger” lists on English websites focusing on Tokyo and Japan.
Apparently, The Burger Shop even caught the eye of the Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and they were asked to make a custom burger for President Trump during his state visit in May 2019. However, they didn’t eat it at the restaurant – it was served during lunch on their golf outing in neighbouring Chiba prefecture. This is a repeat of what happened during Trump’s last visit in November 2017, when he was served a burger from another famous Tokyo burger restaurant.
Why did the Japanese Prime Minister choose this particular burger restaurant? The official reason is that, unlike many burger shops in Tokyo, The Burger Shop uses actual American beef. Another, unofficial, reason may be that the restaurant is located just one kilometer away from the Prime Minister’s official Residence in Nagatacho, also the location of the Diet and other government offices. Could it be that one of his aides tipped him off to the existence of this secret burger place?
Trump’s burger: now available to all
After Trump’s visit, The Burger Shop decided to add this custom burger to their menu, calling it “The Stakehouse burger”, a giant of a burger with two 160-gram patties, four slices of cheddar cheese and an original BBQ sauce. The size is reflected in the price: 2700 yen. At first, it was only available in limited quantities, and only after 3pm, but at present, it seems that those “restrictions” have been lifted, and the burger can be enjoyed for lunch as well.
Their burgers are served with the brown sesame top bun on the side, so you can appreciate the meat patties and toppings. Interestingly, the burger fillings – homemade mayonnaise and salad – are served in a small side dish, and you can add them yourself or eat them separately. I’d recommend the latter when eating “The Stakehouse burger” for three reasons. First, you can fully enjoy the rich flavour of the meat. Second, since it’s a big burger, this will make it easier to eat. Finally, since the patties are quite big, the top one will slowly start to slide off, so you don’t want to add any more weight on top of this already unstable structure – I am fairly sure Trump didn’t!
So how was it? I can say, without any hesitation, that Prime Minister Abe was 100% right in selecting this place for his state guest. The meat patties had a certain amount of coarseness which would appeal to any meat lover. I would like to say that I would have it again, but with such a high price tag, it will remain a once in a lifetime experience. Although there is no expiry date for this burger on the menu, it is unlikely that they will offer it indefinitely.
Plenty of burgers for all budgets
Of course, I made sure to visit The Burger Shop more than once, to try some of their more affordable menu items. I tried the “Burger Shop” burger (bacon, pineapple, cheese 1400 yen), as well as their regular “Cheese burger” (1150 yen). Although both were more modest in size, the meat had the same satisfying coarseness. The menu lists an amazing 25 burgers, and they also do take-out. On top of all that, there is a “Today’s Burger” (also called “Today’s special” or “Daily burger”). On one of my visits, it was an intriguing “Maple Bacon Cheese Burger” (1300 yen).
Another interesting point to note is that during lunchtime, the burger comes with a vegetable juice made of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, celery, bananas and lime (well mostly vegetables). Despite the name, I didn’t really taste any vegetables – it was tasty and refreshing, more like a smoothie. I couldn’t help wondering whether they dared serve it to President Trump.
When visiting “The Burger Shop” one thing to keep in mind is that although it’s open every day all year round, this 100% non-smoking restaurant only seats 14 people at 7 two-person tables (there are no counter seats). The tables are somewhat low, so tall people like myself, may find it a tad uncomfortable – this may be another reason that Abe and Trump had the burgers to-go. Due to its high reputation and recent fame, it’s best to avoid the peak lunch hours unless you are prepared to line up outside. Finally, to avoid confusion when sharing your dining experience with your friends, just make sure to specify that the name of the burger shop is actually “The Burger Shop”!
Read more about burger restaurants in Tokyo on the Tadaima Japan website:
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:
If you chose to visit this restaurant after reading this article, don’t hesitate to tell the staff you found out about them through the Tadaima Japan website.