Burger Jones Dumps Liberty Custard

The endless drubbing Burger Jones has taken in the press hasn’t had much visible impact on their blockbuster business, so management can’t exactly be quaking in their boots about this: Dara drubs them again for swapping out the locally sourced / widely liked Liberty Frozen Custard for an out-of-state bulk product. Kiss those salted caramel shakes goodbye…


  1. Mark

    I don’t even… I mean what IS “out-of-state bulk”… how can anybody at Parasole THINK this is a good idea? What are they saving .25/.50c a shake? And BJ has only been open a few months… are they already cutting costs? No thanks!

  2. Geoff

    99% of restaurants survive without the input of foodies (100% if you’re Phil Roberts or Steve Schussler). So I’m calling wise business decision on this one, as the general consumer will continue to belly up to Burger Jones for their Twixie Tweats.

  3. Mark

    I would agree with you somewhat Geoff – I don’t know if the % are that high. After all, most small biz do close and restaurants need to bring in lots of consumers – keep ’em coming in the door and spreading the word. My difference of opinion with you is this: at this price point ($8-10 burgers/$25-30 avg ticket per person) I think restauranst are in need of the buzz, foodies, higher income and higher mindset consumer. Agree with you on the lower end/national chain – no one goes to Perkin’s wondering where they are sourcing their eggs from or looking for Hope butter. But as restaurants continue to evolve, advertising local ingredients, exploring synergies with other local suppliers (Hope butter, meat from Clancy’s, etc.) I think that can pay off in terms of sustaining local businesses and bringing in more ‘locavores’ – I would/do choose to spend $ at a locally owned rest. over a chain. Granted ‘the general public’ won’t – but ‘the general public’ isn’t paying $15-20 for a burger and fries.

  4. Geoff

    Foodies and anti-corporate locavores (like any group), overestimate their numbers and influence. they eat at the same places, read the same blogs, and shop at the same markets. All of which makes them feel edified and gives them an inflated sense of buying power and socioeconomic potency. But in reality they’re vastly outnumbered by folks with money to spend who are suckers for clever marketing. OMG MY KIDS GOT SERVED BURGERS ON FRISBEES!

    This isn’t like when McDonalds India was found to be using beef tallow in their fryer oil and people freaked the fuck out and shut them down. At this point in our evolution, not enough people here care enough about quality issues like this to affect a place like Burger Jones. The smart money is on Phil Roberts’ P&L.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get on my bike so that I can pick up my CSA veggies before they wilt.

  5. tim

    My boyfriend and I decided to hit Burger Jones last Sunday on the strength of the Dara’s opinion of the shakes. However when we arrived at 11:30am the place didn’t appear to be open. So we hit Punch Neapolitan Pizza instead. So perhaps Burger Jones is having other difficulties besides food costs – like not being able to open their store on time on a Sunday.

    Based on the first experience (or lack of) and now that we know the shakes aren’t the same – we won’t bother to try again unless there is some other compelling reason. And based on what I’ve heard there isn’t.

    (ironically we were on our way to see Julie and Julia)

  6. Eugene

    Is it possible that there is a custard outside our local area that could be better than Liberty? GASP! What?! But local is always better! Always Always Always. They also carry wine, from GASP … California! SHAME, they name is BJ. Have they not sampled our empirically superior Frontenac vintages? Even though this was the first shot at outside distribution for Liberty, I’m sure (being local) that their service and bulk product was beyond reproach. Plus they are a FOD (friend of Dara) which automatically vaunts them to divine status, a veritable gift from on-high. Kudos for Liberty for taking lost business and sour grapes public, shame on BJ managers for not airing the trash and keeping the food floggers fed.

  7. James Norton

    Not entirely unfair. But if Burger Jones was doing a contract with a reputable out-of-state supplier with good frozen custard, why not proudly announce the switch to a named, quality supplier? Also: in absolute terms, Liberty’s pretty good stuff — holds up good to East Coast and south/central WI frozen custards that I’ve known and enjoyed.

  8. tim


    I can care less about the local movement (we live in Minnesota after all – stuff doesn’t grow well when its ten below zero) but I do care about quality. When a place is trying to bill itself as THE place to be for “discerning burgerholics” (their words not mine) they hold themselves to a different standard. By all reports they aren’t achieving the standard they set for themselves and Dara has traditionally be more right than wrong (disagree with her on Five Guys tho). When it comes down to the hundreds of places to eat – you have to make choices somehow.

    And is Dara really a food blogger?

  9. Jason DeRusha

    If you benefit from positive PR because of using a local product like Liberty, you also rightly get hammered because you take it off the menu.

    Will anyone care? I’m with Geoff on this one. Burger Jones is not targeted towards foodies, it does what it does, and it seems to be doing just fine. If you lived in that area, it’s a HUGE step up from Applebees. And that’s maybe the more relevant issue.

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