Stop the Madness! They’re Called TOPPINGS for a Reason!

(Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images) /

Chefs and restaurateurs have long challenged convention in an attempt to innovate. Some industry evolution has been met with the warm embrace of diners, while others have left people split in their convictions.

When it comes to the topic at-hand, toppings, we are so firmly on one side of the debate that even the jaws of life couldn’t budge us. At no point in any of our lives has anyone within eyeshot of this piece ever pondered what BOTTOMINGS they want on their sandwich. They’re called TOPPINGS for a reason, an obvious one, and that’s because until some bored chef with ADD decided to start stacking toppings on the bottom bun, society as a whole functioned perfectly fine.

The natural resistance to change aside, let’s talk about practicality. Almost without exception, the bottom half of any bun is thinner than it’s better, more substantive half. It’s a just adequate enough base upon which to build one’s sandwich, regardless of the protein of choice, so piling it with anything from cheese to sauteed onions to tomatoes does nothing more than quickly break it down, thus eroding the fundamental foundation from the get-go.

Hey chefs, yeah, you of the generation that decided that painting a plate before setting food down upon it could be a thing, stop trying to impose your will upon us. For 125 years, since the hamburger became an accidental institution at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, diners have been content, happy or even downright giddy to dig into a properly-constructed burger (insert your protein of choice here). The bun’s bottom, or heel, then the burger, followed by the toppings before adding the top of the bun, or crown.

Call us crazy-have at that low-hanging fruit-but at no time in our life have we been compelled to disassemble our burger or chicken sandwich and rebuild it with our toppings and condiments taking up residence on the bottom. We realize that deconstructing dishes has been de rigueur in the culinary world for some time now, but one of our institutions, the burger, moved into the 21st century totally unscathed and was in no way screaming out to be updated.

We’ll cede the cauliflower rice, kale smoothies, and even meatless burgers to the food industry’s quest for newness and even healthy eating, but leave our toppings alone! Heel, protein, toppings, crown, period. Rinse, repeat, preferably ad infinitum.

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Where do you stand on the TOPPINGS vs. BOTTOMINGS debate?