Things are changing out in Chaoyang. Take a Mobike east past the shiny CCTV headquarters and you’ll see the influx of new developments firsthand, stretching as far as the eye can see. Ever heard of the Vanke Times Center or the area around it? No? Well, give it a year and maybe you will.
At least that’s what Royal Stacks, Beijing’s latest and greatest burger joint, is banking on. Located in that complex, the Australian fast-food chain has premiered in the capital, following their grand China debut in Chongqing earlier this year.
From the first glance inside, any American will undoubtedly experience some level of deja vu. Whether it’s the images of old-school drive-in diners that cover the walls or the inevitable parallels to star-spangled favorites like Shake Shack or In-N-Out, Royal Stacks has the kind of familiar vibe that invites you in and makes you want to stay for a couple cola refills.
The menu hits all the essentials, plus a number of loaded extras that fulfill our greasiest dreams. We tried the mouthwatering Saint burger (RMB68), the classic Double Stack (RMB58) and the monstrous Bacon Bacon (RMB68). All three of the carnivorous options were stacked high with crisp veggies and Aussie beef between a pair of potato buns. Looking for something less glutinous and veg-friendly? Opt for the Queen Bee (RMB 32), substituted with a chickpea patty that more than satisfies, though could use an extra punch of spice.
If that’s not enough – we salute you – grab a hearty helping of fries (RMB 12 for small, RMB15 for large), which were fresh but unsalted, and the Chili Beef Gems (RMB37 for small, RMB45 for large), a heavenly heap of gooey cheese and hot chili over crispy tater tots. Go wild on your cheat day with the Oreo Concrete milkshake (RMB 24) to finish off your meal.
Though located a bit far from all the casual dining hotspots we typically frequent, Royal Stacks, well, stacks up nicely to the city’s burgeoning burger scene.
[Images via Andrew Braun]