Burgers Made by Robotics Are Coming: Creator Opens This Week

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A closer look at Creator’s buns. (Ha-ha.) Photo: Aubrie Pick.

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Meet Creator, the burger maker. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

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The Tumami burger (from a collaboration with chef Tu David Phu). Photo: Aubrie Pick.

SF has yet another robotically made food item for you, and this time it’s actually a burger that looks pretty damn good! Meet the burger from ~CREATOR~, the first restaurant to automate the preparation of a composed dish, from start to finish. We’re talking 600 unique parts. Humans, you are extraneous on this one (well, except for turning the machine on and off). Here’s a video showing some of it in action.

Founder and CEO Alex Vardakostas and co-founder Steve Frehn assembled a team of engineers, roboticists, designers, chefs, and restaurateurs representing companies like Tesla, NASA, Apple, Walt Disney Imagineering R and D, Chez Panisse, Momofuku R and D, and Fat Duck R and D. Montaag Design worked on the industrial design (founder Per Selvaag was a renowned Peugeot designer), while Pilot R and D (Ali Bouzari) was behind the culinary theory informing the machine.

Whole brisket and chuck (from pastured beef), tomatoes, onions, bread-and-butter pickles, and two kinds of cheese are all fed whole into the machine. Ingredients are then ground vertically (à la Heston Blumenthal and Head of R and D chef Kyle Connaughton’s technique) to order (this is a big bonus since most burger patties are made in advance each day), seasoned to order (with options like alder wood-smoked sea salt, jalapeño sea salt, and chipotle sea salt), grilled to order, and brioche buns are sliced and buttered to order. Sauces include ketchup and mustard, plus new, savory, and sweet-and-sour sauces they make in-house fresh every day, like oyster aioli, shiitake mushroom sauce, sunflower seed tahini, and garlic aioli.

While it’s thought-provoking to lose the human touch in preparing your food, one benefit here is that there’s more money to spend on the cost of ingredients—and they really want to make an awesome to-order burger harnessing the best technique and innovation. A perfectly seasoned burger. A freshy-fresh burger. For just $6. It takes less than five minutes, and one machine can make approximately 120 burgers an hour. When the restaurant in SoMa opens fully, there will be two machines in operation. They are also collaborating with local chefs like Nick Balla (Duna, Bar Tartine) and Tu David Phu on burger combinations.

The soft opening will last for a month, and Creator will only be open for two days a week (Wed-Thu, 11:30am-2pm) to advance ticket holders so the engineers and chefs can continue to fine-tune the experience. Obviously demand is furious on this one, so you’ll have to join the wait list for August. Visit the site for the ticket link (top right corner). If you want to dive deeper on this, check out this article on TechCrunch. 680 Folsom St. at 2nd St.