Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shorless Acres Serious Food: A Burger From My Past

Despite there being many great burgers in New York City (Burger Joint, J. G. Melon and Shake Shack just to name a few), you'll have to travel all the way to Livonia, New York to find my favorite. A converted rail car, Serious Food (formerly known as Hots to Trot), is located on the southeastern tip of Conesus Lake. Only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Serious Food is busy serving up burgers and hots to the many families who escape to the lake during the summer months, and while the restaurant's owners could most certainly capitalize on its popularity and stay open year round, they refuse, choosing instead to retire to their house in Jamaica each winter. So on a holiday weekend trip back home you can be sure I was bound to stop by for a burger...or two.

Having tasted it herself, MW and I don't quite see eye to eye about the burgers at Serious Food. She's correct in that nothing about the burger stands out. The beef is not an exclusive dry-aged LaFrieda blend nor is it wagyu or kobe. So why exactly does this burger stand out in my opinion? For me, its all about what western New Yorkers call "hot sauce." Not to be confused with Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot, this popular condiment is more akin to a beanless meat sauce, containing ground beef and spiked with chili powder. Order your burger with "everything," as I do, and you'll receive yours slathered with hot sauce, yellow mustard and chopped white onion. Hardly unique to Serious Food, this combination ubiquitously adorns Rochester's infamous garbage plates, a uniquely western New York culinary creation, worthy of its own post in the near future.

The beef blend itself is shrouded in mystery, not because the information is some well guarded secret, but rather, because I've never cared to ask and I figure that some things are better left unknown. The thin but slightly over-sized patty (tends to hang out of the bun) is cooked on a flat top grill then topped with a slice of White American Cheese before its placed between a hard roll. Doused in that saliva-inducing hot sauce that comes ladled out of a crock pot, squirted with a dab of yellow mustard and  onions, and you have what I consider, to be a true work of art. Definitely a sum being greater than its parts scenario, this combination of cheesy beef, spicy hot sauce, tangy mustard and sharp onions elevates this otherwise ordinary burger to new heights.

But I'd be remiss if I forgot to mention Serious Food's Fresh Cut Curly Fries. Served as a heaping pile resembling a brick, these tasty taters leak more oil than the Exxon Valdez but are among my favorite guilty pleasures, especially after being sprayed with malt vinegar and sprinkled with some salt.

Perhaps MW is right and I'm a bit sentimental towards the burgers at Serious Food. Objectively, this burger isn't the best I've had, that distinction currently going to Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger, but the one at Serious Food transcends simply being another "burger," and instead, symbolizes the summers of my past and represents a fond taste lifted from my childhood. It is this magical power of food, the ability to transport you to a different time and place that can turn even the humblest of all foods into something vastly superior than some "haute" or refined version of the same dish. Best burger ever? No, but its still my go to burger and will forever be my favorite.

Shoreless Acres Serious Food
5007 East Lake Road
Livonia, NY 14487
(585) 346-9184

To see all our pics click the flickr link.


  1. Great post. Takes me back. I actually worked at Shoreless Acres way back in '92. I'm in CA now, but I'm seriously considering a trip back to Livonia just for the burger. You ever try to recreate the hot sauce? I'd love to get a recipe...

  2. Great Place. Makes Conesus the Vacation Lake.

  3. a pillow before being served but I was quite surprised because the Angus Mushroom Burger looked edible.. Best Food Truck In LA

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