For Trapper O’Keeffe, a burger is as much about the cheese as it is the patty.
That explains his deep interest in raclette and why he named his new restaurant with a nod to cheese.
Burche, which opened Jan. 2, combines the words “burgers” and “cheese.”
That creamy raclette cheese from Switzerland gets double duty on Burche’s menu.
Raclette is a topping on a burger but also is in an appetizer dish called raclette, which is a popular dish served in Europe where melted raclette cheese is served over crusty bread, pickles and other ingredients.
Digging deeper into the menu, you’ll find more odes to cheese in the form of poutine, three kinds each of macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.
O’Keeffe’s casual new Bonney Lake gourmet burger spot took over his former Trapurito’s, a sushi burrito and poke bowl restaurant he opened in 2016 and closed in 2017.
O’Keeffe probably is better known for his sushi chain called Trapper’s Sushi, which he founded in Bonney Lake.
Burche is his foray into a restaurant that doesn’t have raw fish as a central theme.
Here’s a first-bite report. It’s this paper’s policy to avoid criticism of food and service in a restaurant’s first month.
Background: Before O’Keeffe turned it into a sushi-burrito restaurant, Burche’s location was the original Trapper’s Sushi. It opened as Sushi Town in 2004. O’Keeffe later changed the name to Trapper’s Sushi. He now owns eight locations.
The space: What used to be an ordering counter now is an open kitchen with chefs on view. The flashy industrial, well-lit decor of Trapurito’s has been replaced with warmer tones, muted lighting and window blinds to create a more cozy atmosphere.
Find cushy four-seat tables lining the outside wall and a gorgeous high-top wooden table with a natural edge — made by Tacoma company Wane + Flitch— with stool seating for 16.
In all, there’s seating for about 40. Table service is offered.
The concept: While the Tacoma area long has boasted terrific gourmet-burger destinations, Bonney Lake has been slow to catch up. Burche is one of few locally owned restaurants in Bonney Lake with a broad focus on gourmet burgers.
Menu: Eight burgers include raclette with potato and pickles ($13), a fried-egg burger with pork belly ($12), a double-patty burger ($16), portabella burger ($12), fried chicken-and-waffle burger ($13), a jalapeno burger ($12) and more. All include a choice of fries, tots, soup or a salad.
Three grilled cheese sandwiches include a pork belly version ($14), vegetarian friendly, spicy jalapeno ($12) and a classic four-cheese grilled cheese ($11). Roasted red-pepper soup comes on the side for dipping.
Macaroni and cheese includes Dungeness ($15), buffalo chicken ($12) and classic five-cheese ($10).
Appetizers list two versions of poutine ($7), raclette ($8), truffle parmesan fries ($6), spicy battered cauliflower ($6), chicken wings ($11) and more.
Salads include four versions, including a tasty sounding Louie with Dungeness crab ($15).
Not on the menu: Shakes or onion rings.
Gluten-free: Buns available.
Vegetarians: Plenty of options, from grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese to the portabella burger.
On a first visit: Get the homage to a drive-in burger. A juicy patty made from ground Angus chuck and short rib arrived with a little pink. It was dressed with a thick layer of gooey American on a toasted bun, a double layer of lettuce, tomatoes, onions sliced into thick rings and a creamy house sauce that was equal parts sweet, spicy and tangy ($12).
The belly blue burger was topped with a criss-cross of bacon (listed on the menu by its other name, pork belly) with an assertive layer of blue cheese ($13). They’re not stingy here with cheese and I like that. A smear of slow-cooked bacon-onion jam adorned the bottom bun ($13).
Fries were skins-on and medium width and arrived hot and crispy. Same goes for fried tater tots. Soup or salad also offered as a side.
Raclette was just as promised, a plate of potatoes topped with a creamy drape of that exquisite cheese, plus pickles ($8).
Plating: Another restaurant that’s resorted to using metal trays in lieu of plates. I miss plates.
For dipping: Bonus points for offering a zippy fry sauce and ketchup for tots and fries.
Booze menu: 11 wines with four whites ($8 to $9) and seven reds ($8 to $15) by the glass. Five beer taps included an IPA, pilsner, stout, wheat and porter ($5.50).
Where: 20649 state Route 410 E., Bonney Lake
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Contact: 253-750-3789; facebook.com/BurcheBurgersandCheese