Meet the SLUG Picnic Food Truck: Haute Burgers & Fries

Food: Interviews & Features

For the fourth summer in a row, SLUG is delighted to bring you SLUG Picnic—our outdoor concert series featuring Utah musicians. For our first edition of 2023, we have an electrifying musician lineup featuring HXSTAGEtvlen and foxparkk. We’re also ecstatic to host Haute Burgers & Fries as our featured food truck of the night. Get to know Haute through the interview with owner and manager Chef Tony below.

SLUG: Can you please outline the history of Haute Burger & Fries? How did the food truck go from concept to reality? How has the business changed/grown since its early days?

Chef Tony: The origins of Haute Burgers & Fries can be traced back to the success of Suzy Thai Food, a food truck operated by Chef Suzy, who hails from Thailand, and her American husband, Mark. Seeking to expand their culinary venture with an American twist, the couple recognized the universal appeal of burgers as a beloved classic. Driven by their commitment to delivering exceptional quality, they aimed to extend their culinary prowess to the realm of American cuisine. Mark, an ardent enthusiast of food truck design, firmly believed that an aesthetically pleasing truck would attract customers, and once they experienced the food, they would become loyal patrons. Central to their vision was the creation of a burger that would leave a lasting impression, fostering a desire for repeated enjoyment.

To transform their vision into reality, they embarked on a journey that encompassed various, crucial elements: the initial idea, the search for a skilled chef, the development of a meticulously crafted menu and the procurement of suitable equipment to operate within the confines of a food truck. This process, which spanned approximately a year, led them to encounter Chef Brandon from Kitchen88, an exceptionally talented and promising chef in Utah. A pivotal moment occurred when Brandon was presented with a can of Mangosteen juice, which he ingeniously transformed into a delicious sauce within a mere 15 minutes. This demonstrated his culinary mastery and innovative spirit, affirming his suitability for the project. With the chef secured, the focus shifted to collaborating with him to create the best burgers imaginable.

After persistent experimentation, the distinctive burgers were finally perfected, but a name was still needed to encapsulate their elevated essence. Inspired by their aspiration to offer top-tier cuisine, they settled on the name “Haute,” a play on words that could be pronounced as “Oat” (resembling the French pronunciation of “haute”) or “Hot” (in an Americanized manner). This duality aimed to evoke intrigue and entice curiosity, allowing those familiar with haute cuisine to grasp its deeper meaning. In 2019, the concept flourished, boasting impressive sales and affirming its potential for success.
However, the unforeseen arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 inflicted profound challenges on the restaurant industry, disrupting supply chains and creating labor shortages. Consequently, the Haute Burgers truck remained idle in the couple’s garage for several years. As the pandemic receded and the food industry gradually regained stability, the opportunity to resurrect Haute Burgers finally arose in 2023. “Chef Tony”, with his background in fine dining, was enlisted as the head chef and general manager, bringing his expertise to elevate the culinary experience of Haute Burgers. Supported by a skilled team of cooks, Tony’s addition represented a perfect alignment of Haute‘s vision to provide a refined burger experience.

SLUG: What is Haute’s approach to food/culinary mission? What influences do you take into your cooking, and how do you outline your own unique food persona from there?

CT: Here at Haute Burgers & Fries, we can dish up a burger like you have never tasted! With 15 years of experience in fine dining, Chef Tony brings a level of culinary expertise to the food truck industry that is unparalleled. His passion for creating the perfect burger is unmatched. From the moment he steps into Utah’s best mobile kitchen, “Chef Tony” is dedicated to delivering the best possible dining experience to his customers. His culinary training and attention to detail ensure that every burger that comes out of his kitchen is a masterpiece. Let Chef Tony’s culinary expertise take your taste buds on a journey they’ll never forget.

SLUG: What makes Haute unique in the larger Utah food truck landscape? What do you offer that sets you apart from other, similar trucks?

CT: [We provide] gourmet, chef-driven, handcrafted burgers made from scratch with love, care and time. Each of our burgers is created with different ingredients to bring you a new burger experience, cooked to perfection for the discerning foodie. Locally sourced, highest-quality ingredients combine to bring healthy, amazing flavors for your enjoyment. Hand-cut elements are prepared fresh each day. Not your usual fast-food burger.

Follow Haute Burgers & Fries on Instagram @hauteburgers and on Facebook, and don’t miss them at our first SLUG Picnic of the summer on Saturday, June 24. Purchase tickets here.

Read more about some of SLC’s finest food trucks:
Makaya Caters: A Taste of Haiti in Salt Lake City
Food Trucks, Safety and Utah Beer: Way Cooler Than Corona