By Richard Currey
Normally I am one to try a place multiple times before I am going to write something either good or bad about a restaurant. Such is the case with Pioneer Kitchen and to tell you the truth, I can’t write either because every time I have gone I have had a different experience with their food. The one constant is that they overcook their burgers.
On our first attempt, after finding their location tucked on the corner of Alafaya and Colonial, I ordered the Breckenridge Burger ($8.99). The burger consists of a half-pound Angus burger topped with battered onion rings, pepper jack cheese, and drizzled with a Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter glaze. The burger, although ordered medium, was served well done and I found the glaze to be cloyingly sweet. The fries that were served with the burger were well seasoned but were a frozen packaged product. My wife ordered the Pike’s Peak Burger ($7.99) which is topped with Pioneer chili and cheddar cheese. This was also ordered medium and served overdone and the chili was nothing to write home about. In fact, the best part about the meal was the fact that each of the burgers comes topped with a toasted s’mores marshmallow.
My wife was less of a fan than I was so I decided to venture out again without her. This time I ordered the Mojave Burger ($7.99), which is advertised as “HOT! HOT! HOT!” Although the burger did have some heat with its pepper jack cheese, fried jalapenos, and buffalo sauce it was nowhere close to the heat that I was expecting. This time I did shy away from the fries and had the Cast Iron Mac and Cheese as my side. The mac and cheese was a creamy blend of 5 cheeses and a cornbread crust. This was a much better choice than the fries and although the crust did not give me the crunch I was looking for it did add a bit of a nice sweet flavor.
After having a better experience the second time around I decided to drag my sister along with my wife. This time I decided to go with a sandwich instead of a burger and got the Roast Beef Mile High Sandwich ($8.99). The sandwich consisted of thin sliced roast beef, piled high and served with au jus. The au jus was flavorful and the roast beef was tender. The roasted garlic and jalapeno’s that are served on the side are a must to add to the sandwich as the increase in flavor was needed to enhance the experience. Overall the sandwich was good, but I was wishing it came with one of their s’mores marshmallows. My wife ordered the Mojave burger on my suggestion and as usual it came out over cooked. She was once again disappointed and I believe has given her final word on returning. My sister ordered the Texas Peacemaker ($8.99). This burger had a fried egg, chipotle agave sauce, bacon and cheddar cheese. The burger came out over cooked and lacked the flavor expected from a burger with so many flavorful ingredients.
My suggestion is that if you do go, go during the weekday lunch service. The place seems to be busier with all the local tech companies right around the corner. With it being busier it seems like they either have their top chef on or at least take a bit more pride in what is being served. It’s a decent place for the money but don’t expect the best burger in Orlando when you arrive. That search continues.
Richard Currey is a writer/editor that has lived in East Orlando for the last 14 years, moving here to become a student at UCF. You can follow him on twitter at @FatGuyFix to keep up to date with his food travels as well as his other personal thought.