The Burger Bar View

The History Of The Burger Bar


Hubert Keller is known best for his world-renowned restaurants, Fleur de Lys (San Francisco), Fleur (Las Vegas,) and Burger Bar (San Francisco, Las Vegas, and St. Louis). Having delighted the palates of his peers, food writers, and restaurant critics alike, he has received numerous awards and is regarded as one of America’s most imaginative and talented chefs. His influence extends beyond his restaurant kitchen to the millions of people he reaches through his cookbooks The Cuisine of Hubert Keller (Ten Speed Press) and Burger Bar, Build Your Own Ultimate Burger (Wiley); and media appearances including his own Secrets of a Chef cooking show (PBS), Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and Top Chef Just Desserts (Bravo).

Growing up in Ribeauville, Alsace, France, Chef Keller’s passion for the culinary arts ignited early. The family lived over Patisserie Keller and the children frequently helped their father with the baking. By 16, Chef Keller knew he wanted to become a professional. Some of the greatest French chefs—Paul Haeberlin, Gaston Lenôtre, Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé—recognized his exceptional talent, trained him in their kitchens, and promoted his career. For nearly ten years, Keller far exceeded his mentors’ expectations while working throughout France and South America. In 1982, Vergé sent him to San Francisco to open Sutter 500. He and his wife Chantal were immediately enchanted by San Francisco and the city was equally captivated with them.


In 2004 Chef Keller was invited by Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort to open two distinctive restaurants in Las Vegas: the elegant, signature Fleur de Lys, this time tented in shimmering fabric; and the hip, casual Burger Bar where burgers are given haute cuisine treatment. In 2007 Chef Keller opened a second Burger Bar in St. Louis. A third Burger Bar with a spectacular view over Union Square opened on the sixth floor of Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco in 2009.

Chef Keller has won numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: California and has been elected to the Foundation’s prestigious Who’s Who in Food and Beverage. Food and Wine magazine tapped him as one of the Ten Best Chefs in America, and Restaurants & Institutions gave him its Ivy Award. Chef Keller has cooked for several United States presidents and was the first guest chef invited to the White House to personally prepare his sophisticated and healthy menu for President Clinton and his family. Chef Keller is also known for his performance as a judge on Top Chef as well as for his grace-under-pressure performance as a contestant in the first season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo. He appears frequently in the media including appearances on “Regis & Kelly” on NBC, “Rachel Ray”, “The Desperate House Wife’s from Orange County” on Bravo, “Extra Extra”, the Travel Channel, the Food Channel Network, and Fox TV. Chef Keller‘s Secrets of a Chef, produced by Marjorie Poore Productions and sponsored by Cuisinart, is now entering its third season, on PBS

A truly original cuisine featuring contemporary French cooking with Mediterranean accents has emerged from Keller’s rich and varied career. He observes classic French principles and maintains a California-style commitment to health while incorporating the culinary traditions of Alsace, Brazil, and San Francisco. Accordingly, he pioneered a six-course vegetarian menu for Fleur de Lys making it the first fine-dining American restaurant to offer this option. Keller’s cooking maximizes the intrinsic goodness of pure flavors and high quality ingredients while using minimal butter and cream. His healthful cuisine led Dr. Dean Ornish, the noted cardiologist, to ask Keller to contribute recipes to Dr. Ornish’s best selling cookbook, Eat More, Weigh Less.

Keller is internationally known for his innovation and creativity and has long been considered a “chef’s chef.” His restaurants are frequent gathering spots for local chefs and for chefs from around the globe. Keller is also known for his generosity and support for a wide range of educational, charitable, and community events around the country including PBS, Make a Wish Foundation, Taste of the Nation, and Share Our Strength.