Katsu Burger, unique fusion of an American classic

Photo by Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

Hidden away on SE 38th Street in Factoria, an American-Japanese fusion restaurant has been serving katsu-fried burgers, where meat is pounded, breaded and fried, for the last two years. The second restaurant in the chain, the Factoria Katsu Burger is just across the street from KFC in a little nook near a second-hand Lego shop.

Baja burger and katsu curry burger with nori fries. Photo by Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog
Baja burger and katsu curry burger with nori fries.
Photo by Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

The first impression of the establishment is the distinctive anime decor. There are drawings from local artists – many of which are available for purchase – as well as some anime posters. In addition to the artwork, there is a screen displaying various aspects of making burgers in slow motion. The burger choices include beef, pork and chicken as well as a tofu option for the vegetarians.

Photo by Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog
Photo by Alyssa Brown / The Watchdog

The most daring patrons might try the Godzilla Attack, a beef burger loaded with jalapenos and drenched in spicy mayonnaise. The adventurous ones may instead choose to take a hike up Mt. Fuji, a burger stacked high with a trio of beef, pork and chicken katsu with a fried egg to top it off. Never plan to visit Katsu Burger without expecting to walk away full, as the television will tempt sufficiently.

However, if a little snack is all, there are some options of side dishes that Katsu Burger offers. Fries come in four forms, sea salt, nori, curry or 12 spice. The house wasabi-coleslaw is made with red and green cabbage, carrots and edamame. The most filling choice on the side menu are the Bonzai Bites, smaller cutlets of chicken and pork katsu. If one is really starving or training for glorious victory, diners can sumo size their meal, adding fries, slaw and Bonzai Bites to an already massive burger.

One of the downsides to dining at Katsu Burger is the low availability of seating. This is particularly troublesome during rush hour when the line is out the door, making the already-seated customers feel claustrophobic as people hover over them.

Despite the density of customers at any given time, such an accessible fusion restaurant of course attracts the kind of customers one might expect. In a previous visit we could not help but overhear a group of diners discussing their favorite reverse-harem anime over their delicious burgers. Hearing about some recently starved-to-beautiful basement dwelling girl going out and buying body pillows while basking in the lust of everyone near her isn’t exactly appetizing.

It is all too easy to fault their patron’s choice of media, but the tonkatsu-anointed, cabbage-haired burgers are tasty enough that drowning out such drivel only requires shifting a bit more focus to joyful tastebuds.

All in all, Katsu Burger is by far one of my absolute favorite burger places in town. I especially appreciate the giant portions as it ensures that I will have leftovers to enjoy the next day. From the always pleasant employees to the beautiful artwork on the wall I know the second I walk in that I will definitely enjoy my meal.