An open space with high ceilings gives a contemporary feel to the new Station Eats at 3 Landmark Square in Stamford. It's not the easiest place to find, but once you climb the stairs to the second story entrance, you're in for a treat.
The look here is more urban than the original, smaller restaurant in New Canaan, but the bright orange and blue signature colors let you know they are one in the same: a modern burger bar where you can load your organic hot dog or grass fed burger with dozens of toppings, grab a shake, or drizzle the signature chipotle station dressing over your veggie salad
The centerpiece of the room, a large wooden community table surrounded by stainless steel stools, draws you right in. A quick glance at the menu board on the wall shows Station Eats has expanded its beverage repertoire to include premium wines such as an Australian shiraz, Sonoma pinot noir and even a half bottle of prosecco--a steal at $14. A welcome addition also can be found in the High Octane Shakes, spiked for grownups. With flavors like "u-turn," bourbon and oreos in a chocolate shake base or the "red light" with vodka, strawberry, graham crackers in a vanilla shake, adults can regroup after a trip to the Stamford mall.
A wall of windows looks outside to the roomy patio, soon to be filled with tables overlooking downtown Stamford. This is the perfect place to relax--not rush--with your food when warmer months arrive. Even inside, the restaurant suggests an unhurried pace. A row of elegantly curved wooden booths invites you to linger and look out the windows. And if you look closely, there is a message inscribed on the lower front counter wall: please relax, please sit, please stay.
With spring just around the corner, you can easily imagine a lively beer-and-burger scene filling up the patio, particularly since Station Eats offers draft beer in pitchers as well as lagers, a sure draw for the after-work crowd. And there's something new to try: the hi-octane shake, which just might be the perfect finish to your burger. Mine was vanilla laced with bourbon and crunchy oreos: an after-dinner drink and dessert whirred into one. Rich, decadent and seriously fun.
Did I mention the flavor of the month shake for February is Tiramisu? This is definitely a place to indulge your sweet tooth.
While seated at the community table for lunch this week, I chat with my neighbor, Tony Spadaro. He raves about his hot dog, which was heaped with chili, relish and onions. Next to it sits a burger.
"I don't usually do fast food, but I don't consider this fast food," he said. "The hot dog has a snap to it and the toppings are so fresh. I don't feel guilty eating both."
Who says you have to choose between a burger and a hot dog? But if it's going to be a burger, try the signature Station Burger. It is cooked right in front of your eyes, then stacked with American cheese, lettuce and tomato. It's hard to beat this classic, but when you add the chipotle station sauce, it's over-the-top good.
Farther down the community table, two young women seated opposite each other catch up over chicken hot dogs. At 70 calories plus the bun, this has to be the lightest fare on the menu. And it's nice to know that the locally farmed chicken is smoked by a local butcher.
I have to admit, Tony's right. You really can't call this fast food. It's healthier than any other burger joint around and it's nice to know the meat and potatoes are organic.
Now who would've thought of giving your juicy burger a crunchy potato chip topping? It took a girl friend from Texas to show me that winning combination at Station Eats last weekend. Those who enjoy premium toppings can do no better than the thick cut bacon--or possibly the rich blue cheese.
A burger isn't complete without fries, and you'll find a variety of fries at Station Eats. But the crispy ultra fries topped with cheese sauce, grilled onion and the signature station sauce, are the running favorite. A coffee shake on the side makes a cool partner.
Not in the mood for meat? The new veggie burger is a vegan wonder packed with cauliflower, broccoli, peas, tomato, carrots, potato and sweet corn. Heated and flattened under the hand press machine, it turns into a crispy veggie patty that needs little more than a station salad to sit on.
There seems to be something to satisfy every taste at Station Eats. Just don't ask for a turkey burger--there isn't one. Yet.
Station Eats 3 Landmark Square in Stamford