Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Sanford (near the Seminole Town Center Mall) opens on March 3rd, 2014. I was fortunate to be a part of a test run for them a few days prior to their opening. It was a good experience, and I'm sure I'll return during regular business hours.
We were part of a "reserved/invite-only" pre-opening event, and as such we were able to order limited free food from their menu (entrees, burgers, etc., but no appetizers). We did have to pay for our wine, but other drinks, including a milkshake, were also gratis. We had a great experience here, beginning with our waitress. We later learned that she had worked for another Red Robin in the past and it showed, she sure knew here stuff.
I ordered a signature burger, the Smoke & Pepper. It was a 1/2-pound Angus Beef patty with black-pepper bacon, and extra sharp cheddar cheese on a toasted ciabatta bun. It was served with a smoke and pepper ketchup on the side. When I asked for medium-rare I was informed that they only cook them to a medium-well, just a bit of pink in the center. Though a bit disappointed at that, I agreed. And it arrived at a medium-well, though I must admit that it was plenty juicy and tasty and so I was satisfied with that. The burger itself was very good. I only used a bit of the smoke/pepper ketchup on the burger itself, preferring to dip a few fries in it--they were great. The burger was good, a nice bit of pepper taste from the pepper bacon. Underneath the burger itself there were some planks of nice and crispy pickles. They added a nice tang and a nice crunch to the burger and that's what really made it a good burger. The extra-sharp cheddar was a bit lost in it all, but still, it was one of the better burgers I've had. My side was the mac n cheese, and it was all it should be, nice cavatappi that was just a bit al dente--as it should be--and very rich and cheesy. It was a very good burger and I'd order it again.
My friend Tommy had the Guacamole Burger. Besides the obvious guacamole, it had bacon, swiss cheese, mayo, onions, and tomato. It too was a very good burger, nice and juicy. The red onion and lettuce gave it a bit of crunch, and the guac made it very smooth and creamy. It was a very good burger. For a side he had the bottomless fries. They were good, especially when dipped in my smoke/pepper ketchup. I think they could have been cooked just a bit more, ore maybe it was just the new oil as they were not very browned. But still they were a decent fry with a nice potato flavor.
Tommy also had a Salted Caramel Milkshake which was very good as well.
We had a great experience here. The place was packed yet our waitress (Maria) was prompt and attentive, very friendly, and definitely knew the food. We managed to speak to a manager on the way out and again, were impressed. A good burger is hard to find and we both had good burgers here. I'm sure we'll be back again!