Real Burger

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John Laou, his wife Jenny and her son, Alex Plamanov


Fast Food

Real Burger
132 Carroll Island Rd
Bowley's Quarters, MD

- Article & photo by Lena Sala -

Wouldn't it be nice to travel back to almost five decades ago where you could walk into a burger joint and sink your teeth into a freshly made burger, hand-cut fries and REAL hand-dipped milk shakes made to mouthwatering perfection? Only in your dreams, right? Well, think again, because this isn't a dream. The Real Burger is all about freshly prepared and healthy meals, and the best part is you don't need to take a time machine to get there! Just hop in your car and travel down to Carroll Island Road, and turn into the shopping center where the Wal-Mart is located. Once inside, your ears will be greeted with the sounds of classic rock and pop hits from the 50s and 60s genre coming straight from their juke box, conveniently located next to the seating area so that you can enjoy some oldies while indulging in a scrumptious meal. Most food chains these days are all about the two Fs: fast and frozen, but at The Real Burger, they are about high quality customer service and fresh foods. Here at this little hot spot, your burger isn't put on the grill until you order it! According to Managing Member John Laou, who has several years of experience in the fast food and full-service restaurant industries, The Real Burger was made to reflect the traditional 50s-style burger restaurant, with pictures of Elvis Presley and even a pay phone right out of the 60s hung up on the wall with a sign that says 10 cents to use. I grew up during that time period where everything was made fresh, because back in the 50s you couldn't find any fast food places that would prepare your burgers under a heat lamp, or use a machine to make your milk shakes, explained Laou. During my visit there, I decided to chicken-out and go with the Rookie cheeseburger that consists of four ounces of ground beef, half the size of their regular meat patties. But no matter which burger you order, you may choose from a list of 16 different trimmings and toppings that are all FREE! If you're a meat lover and up for a challenge, then check out their eight-ounce bacon burgers that will surely satisfy. My co-worker Pam was craving a hot dog, so her choice was the real beef Coney Island hot dog with a generous amount of hot chili poured over top and creamy cheese. She ate the whole dog and noted it hit just the right spot. Just goes to show you that you don't need to travel all the way to New York to enjoy a Coney Island hot dog. And who doesn't love a good all-beef burger or hot dog, right? Well, I cant speak for everyone, especially those of you who are vegetarians or count your calories after every bite. The Real Burger made sure they didn't leave out anyone, because if you scroll over their menu, you can find a Light and Healthy section that includes a steak-veggie burger, turkey burger and Greek and seafood pasta salads as a healthy side dish. Now where can you find that at your typical burger joint? Speaking of side dishes, I could not believe my eyes when a heaping helping of ginormous fresh cut fries were brought out to me. I couldn't even finish them, because I was far too full. What I really enjoyed about these delicious slices of potato was that they weren't drenched in salt like a lot of fast food fries. So they are not only healthy but absolutely delicious and even if you like to add a little more spice to your fries, they have Old Bay and vinegar, which make the perfect combination. Pam wanted to try something a little less traditional than fries, so she ordered the seafood pasta salad, homemade by Laous wife, Jenny. She said the salad was very flavorful, adding she particularly enjoyed the freshly-cut black olives spread throughout. Okay, so moving on to the desserts! You have a few different options to chose from, including a moist luxe brownie, tiramisu or their famous rich and creamy milk shakes that come in vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. I, of course, had to go with the chocolate. All I can say is that it was nothing like anything I have ever tasted before. No other milk shake I have tried comes close to what this tasty delight had in store for me. The milk shakes are so thick they come with their own jumbo straw! According to Laou, real milk shakes, are hand-dipped and made with ice cream and milk. Commercial milk shake machines, use ice milk, not ice cream, flavorings and inject air into the mixture as it is frozen! It is a less expensive way to make a shake, but it not even close to the real one, served at their restaurant, he revealed. Besides the amazing food, my favorite aspect of The Real Burger is that their kitchen is open so you can see everything from the preparation of the food to who is actually cooking your meal, so you are ensured what you're eating is everything you expected. Also, if you're a little hungry before your order number is called, you can scoop up a small tray of peanuts for you and the family and start crackn. They're free for you to enjoy, so make sure you dig in! Laou noted he chose this location to open the first Real Burger because he was very familiar to the area and liked its proximity to the National Guard and local marinas. He also revealed this was the first shopping center built by the Cordish Company. With plans to open more Real Burgers in the near future, he has very high hopes that business will continue to prosper. Be sure to check out page 3 of this issue for information on The Real Burgers Grand Opening that will take place on April 9. Were giving away free items and a lot of treats to the community, acknowledged Laou. Its going to be a great time! The Real Burger is located at 132 Carroll Island Road and is open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Sunday, noon - 9 p.m. For more information call, 410-335-2601 or visit their website at for the history of the burger and menu specials.


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