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The Concha Burger Is Real And It May Be The Ultimate Food Mashup

The burger, shake, and fries are enduring icons of American cuisine. This greasy, calorie-laden food is the stuff of American folklore. Integral to the iconography of the U.S. of A., burgers are the perfect meal anytime of day, any day. But a group of visionaries, added a twist to the American classic to switch it up a little —for the better. In a time of cultural hybridization, the blending of elements from different cultures, an All-American burger, paired with the quintessentially Mexican pan dulce resulted in the cultural hybrid of dreams. I give you: the concha burger. 

If you, like us, love a good pan dulce as much as you love a juicy burger, Mexican food pop up, El Norte, has something to say to you; ¿Por qué no los dos?

El Norte Kitchen, a Mexican food pop up that specializes in “Norteño” food —food typical of the northern region of Mexico— came up with a sweet and savory creation, that’s the stuff of Mexican-American dreams. Replacing the burger buns for a concha, this new sandwich is a sweet and savory delight that will satisfy both your cravings.

Run by a Latinx family, El Norte’s food has Sonoran roots with an Arizonan touch.

El Norte Kitchen is a Pop-Up Restaurant run by the Allen Family. The pop up creates unique Mexican inspired dining experiences in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The Latinx family lived in Tucson, Arizona for years, which is why their food is influenced by the culinary delights they tried in their many travels to the southwestern city.

Ben Allen is the head chef and founder of the pop up and he has a deep love affair with Mexican food.

Ben Allen —the chef and owner of El Norte Kitchen— is devoted to Sonoran food, this love stems from his move from Minnesota to Tucson at 19. He had planned on going to school but ended up cooking across several kitchens instead—falling in love with the region’s style of Mexican food in the process.

The team at El Norte Kitchen works hard to innovate and offer their guests an experience that is fun, delicious and unforgettable —I mean, who could forget a concha burger?

Buttered and cut in half, the concha is stuffed with a beef patty, pepper Jack cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and pickled onions. Sadly though, it was a short-lived offer. Ben Allen told Fork Yeah about how they came up with the idea and how excited guests were to get their hands on this little piece of culinary heaven. “We let everybody know ahead of time that it was just kind of a trial and error test run and we’d be doing a limited quantity,” said Allen. “About an hour before we opened that morning for the pop up, we had a full bar waiting for these burgers.” “When we started serving them we actually sold out in about 20 minutes.”

El Norte Kitchen also serves Sonoran-style burritos and hot dogs.

If you’ve never had a Sonoran-style burrito, know that they are worth waiting in line for, outside and around the block. That is, after all, the strength of the pop-up: stuff you can’t get around here anywhere else. Stuff like El Norte burritos, which start with specially ordered flour tortillas, arriving from Arizona, filled and then re-seared on the flat-top to give it a golden patina and crunch. The pop up also serves up Sonoran Hot Dogs, wrapped in bacon, seared, and finished with mayo, beans, and avocado; carne asada fries, perfect churros, and more —hungry yet?

Allen’s favorite burrito is the “California style”

“It’s kind of that all in one meal, you get your steak, you get your French fries, all wrapped in a tortilla. So that was my go to meal on drunk nights or early mornings,” shares Allen. “It was just that one and done.” The California burrito famously has steak, french fries, guacamole, cheese and beans all wrapped up in a bomb of calories and delicious goodness.

Find El Norte Kitchen in St. Paul, Minnesota. Follow their social media or visit their website to find out where they’ll be popping up next.

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