This unorthodox burger chain was named the hottest in America

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Shake Shack may have a new contender in the burger arena.

New York City based casual burger chain Bareburger was named one of five winners of the 2015 Hot Concept Awards by Nation's Restaurant News.

The full-service chain caters to the health-conscious crowd, using organic ingredients and offering more healthy and exotic alternatives — elk, duck, and wild-boar burgers are all options, as well as a myriad of vegan choices.

Bareburger's first location opened in 2009 in Queens, and they've now grown to 27 locations nationwide, with another nine US locations planned to open this fall, including a massive 5,000-square-foot multilevel restaurant in midtown New York City.

The chain also has locations in Canada and Japan, and it plans to open in the United Arab Emirates soon.

I headed to their Chelsea location to see if Bareburger has what it takes to tackle the ever crowded burger industry and bring something new with its elevated ingredients.

Bareburger has over 20 locations in New York state alone — I set my sights on their Chelsea restaurant on 8th Avenue and 18th Street.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

It's a full-table-service chain, so you have to wait to be seated. Luckily, I got a little table right away.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

There are booths, tables, and counters — all with a hip, rustic feel.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Even the kitchen area keeps in line with the trendy homespun vibe, with hammered metal accents, lots of bare wood, and quirky illustrations.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The menu is one page, double-sided, with a separate beer and wine menu. But don't let that fool you — there are many choices to be made. You can order a burger off the menu, or build your own custom masterpiece. You can choose everything from the meat down to the special sauces.

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Fresh and humane meat is a hallmark of Bareburger's approach to a great burger.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

They also make use of local produce and food products, including ice cream, cheeses, breads, veggies, and sodas.

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Even the condiments are locally sourced!

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

They really embrace the bear-themed decor — there are tons of these guys on the walls, all decorated differently.

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It was pretty busy when I visited — it certainly seems to be a popular lunch spot for all ages.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

I had my meal within 12 minutes of ordering, which didn't seem that bad for a busy time of day. I ordered the "Blue Elk" burger with a side of onion rings with some iced tea.

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The burger seems pretty beefy to me — pun intended, despite it being elk meat. It's a big burger.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

I like to consider myself something of an onion-ring connoisseur, and these ones, priced at $5, do not disappoint. They're piping hot — clearly just fried.

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The batter is crispy and well seasoned, and the ring holds together. Plus, there's actual onion in every bite. I just can't stand onion-less onion rings.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The iced tea comes in three flavors — I chose white peach. It's incredibly refreshing and tastes like real tea! Also, it's barely sweetened, which is a welcome respite from most sugar-water flavors.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Back to the important stuff: the burger. It's loaded. At $12.65, it's not cheap, but you get what you pay for in both quantity and quality.

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The Blue Elk burger is a huge elk patty slathered in Amish blue cheese, caramelized onions, and a sweet-tomato-fig jam. On top of that are slices of thick country bacon, which add a perfect salty compliment to the fig spread. All of this is sandwiched in what seemed to be a hearty whole-wheat bun.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The burgers are cooked to order, and I prefer mine medium-rare. And they delivered: almost a little more rare than I like, but delicious nonetheless. And the patty is just so huge!

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

My meal was gone fast. After this meal, it's no surprise that Bareburger has nine US locations slated to open this fall, and that overseas franchises popping up like wildfire. Bareburger may just be the next franchise to corner the "better burger" market.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

See Also:

SEE ALSO: This is Shake Shack's biggest dilemma

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