Thursday, January 7, 2010

crEATe - Restaurant or Cult?

UPDATE: The cult must have met their alien leader.  Now out of business.

VERDICT: Expensive and odd.

 Greg was all about going to this new restaurant called "crEATe", which was basically a burger bar.  I've noticed it before as it is painted bright lime green and looks rather sleek.  We walked in and immediately became disoriented.  Greg turned to me and said, "Do you want to leave?", but he always says that in restaurants.  I swear to god, he's got some sort of strange phobia of new restaurants.  I stood my ground, because who wants to drive around saying, "I don't know, where do you want to eat?"

The disorientation came from the unusual layout.  There was a counter, but there is no menu visible above the counter as expected.  Instead the menu was behind us, against the wall, in the form of free-standing, black, electronic light boards.  The menus pretty much consisted of a list of different size burgers and a long list of burger ingredients.  Just as when I was starting to wonder how I was going to get my order from the complex menu all the way over to the counter, a man came out the greet us.

The man, who appeared to be a manager because of his age, quizzed us on what brought us in, "Was it the green paint?  You have a friend that has been here before?"  I think we just looked bewildered.  I don't remember answering the question.  I was just thinking that I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he chose a good paint color and I, just like everyone else, was drawn like a moth to the flame.  I just wanted to say, "We're already sold.  We're fatties, insert food now!"  Why do I have to answer a stupid survey, no matter how informal, when I do anything?

He explained the menu.  There were burgers that were already "designed" that could be simply ordered or you could make your own burger from the burger toppings menu.  The pre-designed burger menu had burgers named after art periods, "The Modernist, The Classical, The Renaissance, The Impressionist".  But the names were somewhat misleading.  The Renaissance had pineapple on it.  The Impressionist was their spicy, jalapeno burger.  They had a burger called The Dali (not a period, but rather an artist), that was inexplicably their southwestern burger.

The manager then explained that their were clipboards over by the counter, so we could circle our choices.  Then he kind of just stood there and stared blankly at us.  It became a little awkward.  I almost wished I had succumbed to Greg's restaurant paranoia and left earlier.  I looked to Greg and said, "well, let's go get a clipboard."

There really were a lot of toppings to choose from.  Nothing horribly gourmet, but the standard gourmet like bleu cheese, pineapple and chiles.  While we were deciding what to put on our burgers, which was actually quite a daunting task, a strange girl came around the corner, got right in our face and loudly declared, "The people at Nabisco have done it again!  This new chocolate Chex Mix is amazing."  This set off my crazy meter to the limit.  It wasn't what she said, it was the familiarity with us that she displayed; well that, plus the fact that she had chocolate Chex mix smudged on her mouth as she was shoveling in the last pieces that led me to believe she was off her rocker.

I replied, "Oh my!"  What am I, British?  I tend to say, 'oh, my!' a lot.  Anyway, I continued, "Do you work for Chex mix?"

"No, I just really like it."  She then went up to some people ordering at the counter and extolled the virtues of the new Chex Mix.  She returned to us a short while later to inquire if we had been here before.  We stated that we hadn't.  She explained that she worked here and that she was just here last night painting.  She claimed to really have been excited about the painting.  At which point, someone behind the counter, agreed that she was indeed very excited about painting.   Greg and I looked around, yet no one pointed out what was painted.  The walls were nicely painted, but it didn't look fresh.  The back wall had a lot of writing on it  saying junk like peace, life, sand...I don't age junk.

The thing that got me was that she wasn't working.  She was just hanging out, eating Chex Mix and raving about it to the customers.  At no point, did she offer me any Chex Mix.  She did later get into a uniform, but it wasn't for another 15 minutes.

This is what led me to believe crEATe was a cult.  Everyone was too cheery and slightly off.  The atmosphere was disorienting.  They had their own vegetarian burger made with brown rice...if that doesn't scream cult, I don't know what does.  On their website, there is a news story that states, "Employees learn customers' names so they can personally greet them with a smile.  When Graulich gets a promising application, he said he will often observe the person at their current work site. It tells him whether that person is right for Create.  'You can't train personality,' Graulich says."

My burger was good, but Greg's burger was phenomenal.  He's the best chooser, that's why I make him make all of my sandwiches.  He then confessed that he had been there before and left because he didn't want to order food at a counter.  He rather be waited on.  Is that picky, or what?  I guess that's what makes him such a good sandwich maker.
7290 W Lake Mead Blvd.
Create: Gourmet Burgers & Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon


  1. We ate once at creATE and the attitude of the staff did not bother me as much as you since I tend to be like that myself. The burger was good even slightly better than good and the fries were the same. Given the decor of the restaurant I felt the prices were a little on the high side. I would go again if I were in the right mood and really hungry for a non fast food burger.

  2. I must admit that later visits did not meet with the "cult" feel.