So what does umami mean exactly? Just ask Adam Fleischman, the founder of Umami Burger and the man who turned this word into a culinary phenomenon. “Umami”, a word borrowed from the Japanese language, directly translates into a “pleasant savory taste”, one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. More simply put, use the word umami to describe anything amazingly delicious and you won’t go wrong. It all started in 1998, when Adam Fleischman contemplated on this word at a Los Angeles In-N-Out Burger. At the time, Fleischman was an aspiring screenwriter who had a dream to expand the basic burger and use its natural umami flavors to create something extraordinary, and what a success of an idea that turned out to be. After spending a month of rushing in and out of the Mitsuwa Marketplace in L.A. and mixing miso, fish sauces, and cheeses in a blender, Fleischman finally opened the very first Umami Burger in Los Angeles. Eventually Americans throughout the U.S. started getting Umami-fied, with locations spreading from to L.A. to Las Vegas to New York City, and now a location planted in the Windy City of Chicago.

To this day, Umami stands firm on their belief, that every burger has a unique and special flavor of its own, just like how every person has their own acquired taste. Who says that a burger can only be salty, sour, sweet, or bitter? Umami believes in making their own extraordinary burger creations, proving that there’s no such thing as an ordinary burger.

Boy, they really weren’t kidding. First of all, one thing that sets this burger joint apart from the rest, is that every restaurant comes with an actual full on bar. So forget about bringing your own booze, Umami doesn’t only provide the perfect burger but also the drinks to go along with it. Besides the bar, the colorfully animated walls and hipster vibe of the place was definitely another eye-catcher.


Of course, the Umami burger comic strip on the table was another creative way to entertain yourselves while waiting for your meal.


The fact that pop music was blasting while the waiters were happily dancing around to the beat, was another tidbit that I absolutely loved, their laid-back and happy-go-lucky vibe was exactly what a burger joint should feel like.


If you’re having a hard time choosing the perfect burger, let’s break it down. According to our friendly waiter, Umami is known for their high quality steak, their Portuguese sweet bread (absolute delicious!), and their selection of homemade sauces. With 4 flavors, Aioli, ketchup, Sriracha, and jalapeno, their sauces are a science in itself, my personal favorite being the Aioli.


Their special of the day was the Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger, proving once again that there’s really no such thing as an ordinary burger. Although we were a little surprised at first, I was excited to have my favorite caeffine fix turned into a burger, so we went for it. I officially fell in love, which is saying a lot since I’m not a huge burger fan.


The creation consists of a piece of Kabochi tempura (Japanese pumpkin) laid over a thick and juicy meat patty, and stuffed with mascarpone and roasted garlic Aioli.


Who says that strange can’t be delicious? This burger definitely fit my tastes with its strong flavor of pumpkin spice and slight hint of sweet teriyaki sauce.


Even Umami’s original is not simple, consisting of Parmesean frico, a thick and juicy grilled meat patty, and a piece of extremely tender shiitake mushroom. Filled with the savory taste of freshly grilled Barbequed meat, their tasty original burger was once again anything but ordinary.

 Through their unique creations, Umami shows us the importance of thinking outside the box, innovation, and that strange isn’t always a bad thing, I couldn’t agree more. What’s there not to love about crazy burgers and dancing waiters? So savor life, eat something strange, and get Umami-fied.


Umami Burger

 738 East 3rd Street

Los Angeles, CA


225 Liberty Street


2535 S. Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV


1280 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL.







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A writer and photographer who's in love with new experiences, visual art, and the written word. Born and raised in Chicago, I've also spent time living in New York City, Hong Kong, and traveled throughout various places. A travel enthusiast by heart, I love roaming new places and exploring the people & food that comes with it. As an avid story teller, I love sharing my discoveries, whether it be my latest travel experience or newest food adventure. I truly believe that food is the universal factor that connects all of us, no matter how different we may be in other ways, we cannot deny that there’s at least one thing that we love to eat and that one favorite food magically and unconditionally gives us comfort and pleasure. That feeling is one of the purest forms of happiness and I’d love to share that feeling through my work

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