Universal has never been lauded for their quick service dining. If you’ve ever eaten at The Leaky Cauldron or Three Broomsticks, you might be wondering why that is. However, if you’ve dined at gems like Comic Strip Cafe or Mel’s Drive-In then you understand the dark side of Universal dining. Feel free to add Richter’s Burger Co. in San Francisco at Universal Studios Florida to the list of places to avoid like the plague.
Richter’s Burger Co. doesn’t have any surprises in store as far as their menu goes. When many think about average theme park food, usually you go straight to hamburgers and chicken tenders. In this case, Richter’s Burger Co. goes all in on burgers. The two burgers offered are The Big One (a cheeseburger) and The Aftershock (a bacon cheeseburger). Toppings are not listed because they have a toppings bar for you to fix up your sandwiches the way you want. Additional premium toppings are available like guacamole, jalapeños, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and these cost around a dollar extra. The menu also includes healthier options like The San Andreas (a grilled chicken sandwich), The Fault Line (a black bean burger), and The Richter Scale (a grilled chicken salad).
Let’s talk about the food first. Richter’s Burger Co. has an open grill so you can actually see the burgers and chicken being cooked with your very own eyes. As we waited in line to order, I daresay the burgers actually looked decent on the grill. The question is what happens to the food between the grill and the plate. For a burger option, we tried The Big One since it’s the most classic and it mysteriously appeared both dry and greasy at the same time with the way it was served. After adding lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup and mayonnaise, the burger didn’t taste half bad, but the toppings completely dominated the overall flavor. Essentially, it was your standard crappy burger. Price for this as a combo with fries and a milkshake is $13.99.
The other menu item we tried out was the The Fault Line to see if maybe they could do a vegetarian meal some justice. The short answer is no. The black bean burger, like so many other vegetarian options, came out charred and burnt to a crisp. Like the cheeseburger, the only way to save the sandwich was to add toppings that overpowered the patty itself. Price for this as a combo with fries and a milkshake is $12.79.
One good thing about Richter’s Burger Co. is the amount of seating available. There is seating immediately after you enter the restaurant and by the toppings bar, as well as on the second floor of the building. However, there is a ton of seating in a secluded back room and outdoor patio that is barely used and the best option if you’re looking for a quiet meal.
As far as the theming goes, Richter’s Burger Co. wholeheartedly embraces the earthquake theme that used to be more relevant at Universal Orlando when Earthquake and Disaster still existed. Without the attraction, the theming seems fun, but a bit morbid. Fans of Back to the Future will want to keep their eyes out for a Doc Brown easter egg in the restaurant, but we’re not going to spoil where you can find it.
There are some amazing options for dining at Universal Orlando, but sadly Richter’s Burger Co. isn’t one of them. If all you’re looking for is a standard theme park burger then feel free to give this a shot. If you want to take your experience to the next level, look towards Fast Food Boulevard or maybe full service dining like The Cowfish or NBC Sports Grill & Brew.