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Old 08.10.2011, 16:55
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Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I have always loved this location, which is the one-time Tramstation Restaurant, though the food has rarely been of note. Now apparently the proprieters of Helvetia have taken over and turned this into Helvti Diner. Of course, the prices will make you cry: Sfr 12.50 for a milkshake. Zueritipp seemed lukewarm on it. Somehow, I don't think this is the replacement for my beloved Dog n Suds from home. Anyone tried out Helvti Diner yet?
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Old 09.10.2011, 16:11
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

Answering my own question, therealpickygourmet's review says wait until the kinks in service are ironed out and stick to a cheap burger and load up on toppings.

Still looking for other opinions in case anyone's been yet...
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Old 09.10.2011, 17:23
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I've not been (although I know someone who has) but I can confirm that they use "proper" Cheddar cheese on the burgers.
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Old 09.10.2011, 17:37
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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Answering my own question, therealpickygourmet's review says wait until the kinks in service are ironed out and stick to a cheap burger and load up on toppings.

Still looking for other opinions in case anyone's been yet...
Interesting that the picky gourmet described everything else in detail but the burger...particularly since he/she/they ordered the wagyu which would seem to indicate that, if not terrible, it wasn't worth mentioning. Cindy's diner does a decent burger, but that's up on the highway, not in the part of town where you make a reservation for a diner and spend 50chf for a burger (though Cindy's isn't all that cheap, either at 9 chf for a tiny kiddie burger).

Do they offer breakfast all day? That's one part of the diner culture Europe always leaves off and it's too bad as it's the best part of most diners. It's probably not profitable enough though.
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Old 09.10.2011, 17:54
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

Not interested. I can get the Goodmans burger plus a serious fois gras/carpaccio of beef starter for 36chfs for Business Lunch menu. Their price point is too high for a diner, however fancy. Goodmans is just too sharp and their service is absolutely best in class compared with a place which "needs to work out the kinks".
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:19
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I have only read newspaper reports about this place, but the 20minutes feature had a bottle of ketchup in the picture and that makes me think the place is doomed:
I don't need to spend big bucks on something that will taste equal to a McDonalds burger once I add the ketchup...

If people want to spend a lot of money going out, they won't buy a burger - however fancy it may look like (I'm not sure even I could taste the difference between a high-end burger and one made from PrixGarantie meat).

If they want quick and cheap, they go to NewPoint or McD. Or some Asian take-away place.
If they want to splash out cash, they go to a proper (ethnic or not) restaurant.

But a "Deluxe" burger? That's a curiosity you try out once, maybe.
Unfortunately, no place can make a living in the long run from "try it out once" customers.
That just does not work.
I'm happy being proved wrong when the place is still here same time next year.
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:25
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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I have only read newspaper reports about this place, but the 20minutes feature had a bottle of ketchup in the picture and that makes me think the place is doomed:
I don't need to spend big bucks on something that will taste equal to a McDonalds burger once I add the ketchup...

If people want to spend a lot of money going out, they won't buy a burger - however fancy it may look like (I'm not sure even I could taste the difference between a high-end burger and one made from PrixGarantie meat).

If they want quick and cheap, they go to NewPoint or McD. Or some Asian take-away place.
If they want to splash out cash, they go to a proper (ethnic or not) restaurant.

But a "Deluxe" burger? That's a curiosity you try out once, maybe.
Unfortunately, no place can make a living in the long run from "try it out once" customers.
That just does not work.
I'm happy being proved wrong when the place is still here same time next year.
My friend has a place in Lugano, an Irish pub that also serves food, specialising in specialty burgers. He's been around four years or so, and is doing quite well.

Tom
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:34
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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I have only read newspaper reports about this place, but the 20minutes feature had a bottle of ketchup in the picture and that makes me think the place is doomed:
I don't need to spend big bucks on something that will taste equal to a McDonalds burger once I add the ketchup...

If people want to spend a lot of money going out, they won't buy a burger - however fancy it may look like (I'm not sure even I could taste the difference between a high-end burger and one made from PrixGarantie meat).

If they want quick and cheap, they go to NewPoint or McD. Or some Asian take-away place.
If they want to splash out cash, they go to a proper (ethnic or not) restaurant.

But a "Deluxe" burger? That's a curiosity you try out once, maybe.
Unfortunately, no place can make a living in the long run from "try it out once" customers.
That just does not work.
I'm happy being proved wrong when the place is still here same time next year.
Wow. So much rubbish, so few words. Gourmet burgers are the West's most profitable restaurant industry. Go to London, there's one on every street corner.

Here's one. They've got almost 50 locations now. And the price range goes up from there. And in a city like Zurich where they all worship Americana and have the price sensitivity of a Russian Tsar, I'm shocked there aren't more of these places. But like you say, Heinz doesn't spell true gourmet (although there's nought wrong with it) and in my opinion they haven't quite hit home with the price point for the style of the restaurant.
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:35
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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My friend has a place in Lugano, an Irish pub that also serves food, specialising in specialty burgers. He's been around four years or so, and is doing quite well.

Tom
Yeah, but as you say: it's an Irish pub, first of all. It's not supposed to be "Ian's-Gourmet-Burgers-and-we-also-serve-beer Pub"
He could just serve beer and peanuts and still break even.
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:38
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

If they've really nailed the atmosphere (a big if) and the milkshakes are up to scratch, then I'd go. I don't fancy CHF30 or whatever it was for a burger - but CHF30 to close my eyes, sip on a milkshake and pretend I'm sitting in a diner back home? Yeah, I'd pay that. Especially this time of year.
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Old 09.10.2011, 18:38
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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Yeah, but as you say: it's an Irish pub, first of all. It's not supposed to be "Ian's-Gourmet-Burgers-and-we-also-serve-beer Pub"
He could just serve beer and peanuts and still break even.
Well, he makes a lot of his money from food (CHF 15 lunches during the week, always packed), every time I go there there are plenty of people eating burgers in the evening (and they cost more than the CHF 15 lunch of the day).

I'll ask him next time what percentage of his business is burgers.

Tom
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Old 10.10.2011, 14:22
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I don't think they will have nailed the atmosphere, but I grew up with an awesome Dog n Suds in my town (which is still operating!), so I may be pickier than most. Actually, milkshakes can be pretty pricey if done right: my Dog n Suds charges $3.49 for a chocolate shake, which is nearly twice what a hamburger costs. Worth every penny--and calorie--though. Made with hand-scooped ice cream, perfect consistency, etc.

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If they've really nailed the atmosphere (a big if) and the milkshakes are up to scratch, then I'd go. I don't fancy CHF30 or whatever it was for a burger - but CHF30 to close my eyes, sip on a milkshake and pretend I'm sitting in a diner back home? Yeah, I'd pay that. Especially this time of year.
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Old 10.10.2011, 15:22
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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Dog n Suds
http://montague.dog-n-suds.com/page.php?3
This is the best thing I have ever seen. $1.69 and a guy comes to your car and brings you a hot dog. Neeeeed.
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Old 10.10.2011, 22:40
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I had the pleasure of dining here one lunch time last week and it was perfectly acceptable in it did exactly as promised: burger with extra cheddar cheese and a Dr. Pepper (please note the old school use of the . even though Dr Pepper have removed it...)

Friendly service from er, a preddy lady amongst a team of er, preddy staff and a perfectly decent burger and fries. I didn't go for the fancy fancy burger as that's too easy. The setting is a bit upscale - as one would expect in Zurich: flower arrangements and nice furniture - and the bill came to about CHF30 including rounding up for the tip. I found the service friendly and considerate.

Never trust a food reviewer until you've had a bite there yourself, of course.

If you want fancy fancy go to a fancy fancy place; I was satisfied. Please, no food snobbery; it's a diner. If I'd wanted to stand outside or sit on a stool and eat a kebab I'd have gone towards the station. The HelvtiDiner does what it says on the tin.

Plus, did I mention the preddy waitress? "She's got freckles on her butt she's preddy..."
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Old 11.10.2011, 07:57
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

Dog n Suds is pure awesomeness. The food is so much better than other fast food available in that area like McDonalds or Mr. Quick's--proper burgers, local bread, fresh cole slaw sides, Lake Michigan fish for their perch baskets, etc. Also one of the few places around there serving Vienna beef hot dogs. I grew up with the family who owns and runs it and they opened a new, year-round one a few years back not ten minutes from where my mother now lives. It's a very dangerous thing.

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http://montague.dog-n-suds.com/page.php?3
This is the best thing I have ever seen. $1.69 and a guy comes to your car and brings you a hot dog. Neeeeed.
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Old 13.10.2011, 21:10
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

Just came back from the Helvti, where we had a quick dinner tonight. Here is a short summary of our experience:

1. Turned up without reservation. The hostess just shook her head and gave us a sorry smile. "Not tonight, you won't...". After leaving with our head down, she came after us and offered that we could sit at the high table next to the bar. Yay!

2. The place is furnished as a diner, but I didn't fully feel that I was in one. If it was my joint I would have gone the "full monty" and go out on dressing the staff, have the neon lights, playing the 60's music etc.

3. Our waitress was friendly, also spoke english. She took our order and brought out our drinks straight away. ... then she came back three times. Once to take our order, and twice more to confirm what we ordered.

4. My wife ordered the chicken skewer, which came with some grilled vegs and a spud. The chicken was salty and dry, the spud was cold inside and the veggies were way too thickly sliced to cook through properly. Not recommending this dish.

5. I had the burger, the Swiss prime beef one at 16.50 a pop, with extra cheddar. Decided not to risk the wagyu with double the price. If they can't make a decent burger with "ordinary" beef, then the wagyu won't make much difference...Side order of fries and spicy bbq sauce. After the second bite I realised that they forgot the cheese. After complaining, the waitress apologised and they made me a whole new burger. With cheddar this time . I have to say that the burger was really good! Juicy and tasty. The buns were proper with sesame seeds on top, very slightly toasted, not falling apart the first time you bite in them. (Yes, I eat my burgers with my hand, have not been completely Switzerlanded just yet...) The fries were nicely cut, not the shoestring french style, but more the chunky ones with crispy outside and soft and warm inside. With the spicy bbq sauce, yum!

6. We skipped on dessert...my wife was skeptic after her chicken and i was just full.

All up, I would definitely recommend and go back for the burger. It beats Lion's or JJ's bar far. Haven't been to Goodman's though, but I think that establishment is definitely a different cattle of fish.

The service needs some imrovements. Although they were friendly and attentive, not really a common trade in Zurich, they need to learn remembering orders. I hope they will improve on that, without losing the friendliness.
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Old 14.10.2011, 09:44
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

thanks bananafisch, nice that they managed to accomodate you even though they seemed to be booked out. I appreciate the thorough review. That, Uncle Max's and the fact that they have real (Grumpy-sourced?) cheddar on their burgers has made me decide to try it out sometime.

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Just came back from the Helvti, where we had a quick dinner tonight. Here is a short summary of our experience:
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Old 14.10.2011, 10:32
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

I've just seen this run-down of best burgers in Zurich by Zueritipp, which in my opinion is negligent in leaving off places like The Lion, Paddys, the Shamrock in Wollishofen, and ZicZac.
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Old 14.10.2011, 11:18
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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Plus, did I mention the preddy waitress? "She's got freckles on her butt she's preddy..."
Worth going just for that then. But is she preddier than the Honey at Eisenhof?? Who hasn't got freckles on her butt worth the trip anyway.....
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Old 20.10.2011, 17:50
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Re: Helvti Diner: new fancy Zurich diner-style burger joint

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I don't think they will have nailed the atmosphere, but I grew up with an awesome Dog n Suds in my town (which is still operating!), so I may be pickier than most. Actually, milkshakes can be pretty pricey if done right: my Dog n Suds charges $3.49 for a chocolate shake, which is nearly twice what a hamburger costs. Worth every penny--and calorie--though. Made with hand-scooped ice cream, perfect consistency, etc.
Texas Burger...oh man!
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