The Examiner recently interviewed Jason Schmid, owner of JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery in Anaheim and Tustin. The subject was was their signature hamburger at JT Schmid’s, the BBA Burger. The BBA Burger, or as it is also known, the Bigger Badder Asser Burger, is perfect for a group night out, a Superbowl party, or any other time when you want a fun and delicious burger with some great beer. Jason described the burger as, “That’s our BBA Burger, Bigger Badder Asser Burger, a six-pound cheeseburger. There are some places that I know that do a big burger but they do one patty. Its like mom’s meatloaf that you remember as a kid”. Mom’s meatloaf tended to be dry and tasteless, depending on how much ketchup you put on it to add moisture and flavor.
The development of the burger took awhile. “About 15 years ago we had a 12 ounce chophouse burger and then probably about 10 years ago we created an expensive burger, a twenty dollar burger, which was basically a 10 ounce patty, topped with eight ounces of prime rib and then onions……..and then that evolved into a ‘what else could we do’, then the burger craze kind of took off, so we wanted to come up with a fun novelty item that tasted good, so we literally spent three months on it, trying to tweak the recipe. I think we’ve got it, it’s a good burger”. Jason’s secret to making the burger remain juicy and flavorful was simple, to use two grilled 3 pound burger patties instead of one 6 pounder. That way, the patties stay juicy and can be cooked to a perfect medium-rare. Topping it are 20 slices of cheese, 10 tomato slices, pickles, onions, lettuce and sauce. Not only did it taste good, with well balanced condiments and a good beefy flavor, but it certainly attracted attention. Anyone who walked by either commented on the burger or wanted to take a picture of it. There was even someone who wanted his picture taken with the burger. Now that’s popular!
Along with the BBA Burger, the beer flowed freely. The IPA was smooth, a nice example of what India Pale ales are all about. The beer of course plays a big part in how JT Schmid’s was founded. Jason said, “JT Schmid’s was originally a real estate plan and it pretty much turned into a five-year ordeal due to lack of parking and once I overcame that obstacle, I decided that I could do it on my own and not place a tenant in the original JT Schmid’s location. The brewery idea came from the fact that seven or eight years earlier, some laws had changed, and brought breweries back into Orange County. Due to the fact that the original restaurant is across the street from the Honda Center, it needed a sports theme and what better theme is there than making your own beer? And that’s essentially how it happened”.
Jason went on to explain about the beers and what he makes in his brewery. “We do six beers total, we do one seasonal which now is the Winterfest”, he explained. “We do our Blond, which is a medium-bodied blond, we do our Hefeweizen, which has a lot of banana to it, our IPA—and IPA’s are all the rage now, we do our Amber, which is a very smooth, medium-bodied Amber, and we do our Imperial Stout, that’s obviously a heavier and more distinctive flavor. That’s probably our lowest volume beer and it’s one of my favorites. In summer we did an Apricot Wheat Beer, that was one of our most popular”. Jason continued, “We did 2500 barrels of beer last year, our own beer, which is equivalent to 5,000 kegs. We need to keep the fermentation process shorter rather than longer, so we can’t get into pilsners or porters which require a longer fermentation process. We’d be down to no beers in no time! We actually have plans to expand our brewhouse from 15 barrels to 30 barrels and then we can do a lot more and put in a couple more fermenters”.
There are other, less enormous items on the menu also besides the Bigger Badder Asser Burger. The Chicken and Avocado Egg Rolls are full of chicken breast, fresh avocado and sun-dried tomato. They are so creamy and tasty that they don’t need a sauce, but if you want to dip them, the sweet chili sauce adds subtle heat and excellent flavor to the egg rolls. A Southwest Ranch dressing also comes with the egg rolls for those who prefer dipping the rolls in the popular sauce. Another good item, excellent as both an appetizer or a side dish, are the Sweet Potato Fries. Jason emphasized that they have been doing to fries for 10 years now, well before sweet potatoes became a popular dish. What sets his apart are two things. First, they are only made from fresh sweet potatoes, never frozen; second, they are topped with spices including cinnamon which gives them a unique and delicious flavor.
For those who prefer fish over meat, JT Schmid’s makes a wonderful Halibut and Chips. Jason mentioned that the halibut, for obvious reasons, is one of only two frozen items they buy, the other being the calamari. Everything else is purchased fresh and everything is made in-house. The halibut was very tasty, with a perfectly crunchy batter made with their own in-house brewed Blonde Beer. Accompanying the tender filets of fish were cole slaw and french fries. In place of the standard tartar sauce was an excellent sweet corn mayo.
JT Schmid’s two locations offer lots of possibilities for their guests. With the Anaheim location across the street from the Honda Center, it makes a great place to visit before or after a show or game. The Tustin location, located in the District, offers easy parking and a great place to walk around and enjoy a pleasnat day or evening. JT Schmid’s certainly has a wide variety of delectable items on the menu. For sheer fun though, the BBA is great for livening up a visit. Indeed, whether going with a small group or a large group, the attention alone from other guests at the restaurant will certainly liven up the visit and possibly even make some new friends in the process. And with all the other items that JT Schmid’s has, plus their excellent beers, it seems like a great place to hang out for any occasion.
JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery
2415 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
2610 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806