Beef burgers are back and better than ever. 

After months of exclusively offering the Blended Burger, a health-conscious alternative to the traditional all-beef burger, the Heilman Dining Center began offering its classic beef patty again in September.

Dining Services first offered the Blended Burger — composed of 60% beef and 40% mushrooms — last spring. After hearing positive feedback, the dining hall continued serving the patties throughout the summer and the start of this semester, phasing out all-beef patties altogether.

According to Phillips Gourmet Mushrooms, the manufacturer of Blended Burgers, its blended patty offers major health benefits. Less meat means less cholesterol and saturated fat and fewer calories than the all-beef competitor. 

Many Blended Burger fans choose the combination patty over the traditional beef patty for environmental benefits. Production of just one four-ounce patty uses 1,600% less land, 37% less energy and 200 fewer gallons of water than required for a beef patty of the same size, according to a pamphlet from Phillips Gourmet Mushrooms.

“The Blended Burger is a really huge trend in college dining, originating with some of the university programs that promote sustainability,” said Terry Baker, executive director of Dining Services. “It’s really a wonderful choice. The burgers are very moist and flavorful.” 

Although many students enjoyed the healthier burger option, others were eager to see the return of the all-beef burger in the dining hall, Baker said. 

Student feedback was a key component in the dining hall’s return to serving all-beef burgers, said Cindy Stearns, assistant director of marketing and special programs for Dining Services.

“We heard loud and clear, and that’s the important thing,” Stearns said. “Everybody has their ear to the students and we listen to them. Their feedback is taken to all of the meetings and is taken very seriously.” 

UR students missed the dining hall’s regular burgers and are excited about their addition back to the menu, Stearn said. 

Junior CJ Castronovo is one of the many students who craved the all-beef patties during their four-month hiatus from the grill.

“I’m pretty pumped the dining hall switched back to beef burgers,” Castronovo said. “The blended burgers were fine, but they definitely do not taste the same. In my opinion, they ruin the authentic meat flavor.”

Dining Services works hard to accommodate every student’s dietary wants and needs, while striving to deliver innovative and new culinary creations on campus, Baker said. 

“It’s important for us to provide choice and not to dictate,” Baker said.” When we heard there was word about bringing back the beef burgers, we thought, ‘no problem!’”

And, to keep that freedom of choice, students can still get their fix of Blended Burgers on Mondays and Thursdays in the dining hall, Baker said. 

“[Executive Chef Tyler Betzhold] does a great job reinventing and trying new things to make the dining experience fresh and invigorating,” Baker said. “He goes to different college programs that we visit to see what’s out there, plus what he hears back from focus groups too.” 

Contact contributor Jordan Daniel at jordan.daniel@richmond.edu.