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The Upstate Tavern: eggs & sausage on waffle

Easter Brunch, in a Burger

The new and beloved “Burger of the Month” program at Upstate Tavern is in full swing this spring, and the April offering brings together all the important components of Easter brunch into one mouth-watering burger.

Dubbed the “Brunch Burger,” the special dish comprises a hamburger patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, a fried egg, lemon aioli and maple syrup, served on two bun-sized waffles.

The burger is available all month, and Chef de Cuisine Yolanda Lee said it’s one of her best so far.

“People are really going to love this burger because it really does have everything you’d associate with Easter brunch,” Yolanda said. “We get really inspired by holidays, and this happens to be a holiday where there are lots of signature flavors and items we were able to play with as we figured out what the burger would be.”

As the name of the program suggests, Yolanda and her team come up with a different special burger every month. They usually operate a few months ahead, and they base their recipes almost exclusively on upcoming holidays and availability of products.

Since the program started in the summer of 2021, guests have loved the creativity and sense of flair.

The March burger, for instance, had corned beef and cabbage on top—an obvious shout-out to St. Patrick’s Day.

They also enjoyed February’s “Truffle of Love” burger, which was a shout-out to Valentine’s Day and comprised a hamburger patty with arugula, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, balsamic glaze, and garlic-truffle aioli.

The May burger, tentatively dubbed “Tavern de Mayo,” will feature pepper jack cheese, house-made guacamole, chipotle aioli, tortilla chips, tomato, and onion. According to Yolanda, this burger will be served with French fries and a side of queso. (Oh, and in case you didn’t put it together, this burger references Cinco de Mayo.)

“I can’t tell you how many times I go out and when people find out what I do and where I work, they ask, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s the next burger of the month?’” Yolanda said. “My team and I appreciate the excitement guests have for this program and the creative outlet it is for all of us.”

Yolanda, who has worked for Oneida Nation Enterprises for 10 years, credits a stint at YBR Casino & Sports Book with sparking her love of hamburgers.

She opened the new casino back in 2015 and helped build the menus for the Burgers of Madison County restaurant there. During this time, she was able to use nontraditional ingredients such as apples and fig spread. She fell in love with the possibilities of building better burgers. The rest, as they say, is history for everyone.

“There are so many different ingredients you can put on a burger,” she said. “Really, the sky’s the limit.”

 

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