Fork in the Road: Exotic burgers find their way to Onaga
Buffalo's Grill and Pizzaria in Onaga offers more than just your typical cheeseburger and fries.
On one side of the menu, Owner Dustin VanDonge serves handmade pizzas with locally sourced toppings.
On the other page, he likes to make changes every year or so.
"This year, the big thing on changing the menu on the first of January was adding the exotic meat menu,” VanDonge said. “There’s a lot of competition in town where you can cheeseburgers, fries (and) that type of stuff. We just wanted to add something different to the menu that you can’t find in a lot of places."
The exotic meat menu consists of lamb, bison, and elk that they make into burgers and alligator bites.
"When I go out to eat,” VanDonge said. “I look for something different that’s on the menu all the time besides just the basic cheeseburger.”
The elk comes from a distributor in California. The other exotic meats come from Kansas City.
VanDonge says cooking some of the leaner burgers, like elk and bison, are a bit trickier than the classic beef burger.
“You can cook the outside of it and the outside looks like it might be burnt (and) the inside would still be raw,” VanDonge said. “Just because there ain’t so much fat in it to cook all the way through."
The lack of fat in the bison and elk makes it a healthier alternative as well.
“I would consider it probably a little bit more of a healthier meat,” VanDonge said. “I think if somebody was on a diet that would probably be a burger they would be interested in getting instead of a greasy cheeseburger."
Buying these meats are a little more expensive, but VanDonge says it’s worth the extra money to offer the people of Onaga something different.
"Really, they’ve taken over at least 80 percent of our orders that come in now,” VanDonge said. “I think it was well worth paying a little bit of extra money to have something different on the menu."
Buffalo's Grill and Pizzaria is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can find it at 324 Leonard St. in Onaga.