Save the planet, eat a burger

Create puts a premium on recycling—and puts out some tasty food, too

Medieval burger
Photo: Beverly Poppe

A strange thing happened during my recent visit to Create, a locally owned, northwest Las Vegas burger and frozen custard joint: After finishing my meal, I grabbed my chocolate custard, which I was too full to finish, and looked for a trash can.

Restaurant Guide

Three and a half stars
7290 W. Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 2, 586-0430.
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Suggested dishes: Medieval burger and Renaissance burger (quarter pound), $7.14 each; Cezanne Caesar salad, $5.49; Van Gogh Bananas, $5.49.

Problem is, there wasn’t one. Within a few seconds, owner Lance Graulich noticed my confusion and came over to relieve me of the container. He’s seen a look like mine many times since opening his establishment in March 2008—Create is an almost-zero-waste facility, recycling its cardboard, paper and plastics, and will soon begin diverting leftover food to a composting facility. Graulich, who picked up extensive restaurant experience as a franchisee for Wingstop, says, “What I learned is that restaurants contribute more to landfills than anything.”

The result is that Create has the atmosphere of a fast-food restaurant, but nearly everything you use goes into the dishwasher afterward. If you really want plastic silverware, you can have it ... made from corn.

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Create enjoys sizeable lunch crowds in its spot at the Whole Foods Market Place. Its décor is relatively simple—white tables, wooden chairs and hanging lamps, with a green-and-brown motif. Famous quotations are written on the walls, along with eco-friendly messages. (Frankly, it all reminded me a bit of a Starbucks.) Graulich plans to open another location in Henderson soon, with a five-year plan of 18 stores across Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

Whether the economy can support such growth is a big question mark, but if the food tastes as good as it did the day I ate there, Graulich should be fine. Create uses Angus beef, and organic fruits and vegetables for its salads and burger toppings. As the name implies, you can create quite the custom burger—just be prepared to get a tad overwhelmed choosing from the more than 60 available options.

If you’re in a hurry, you can just pick one of the signature burgers chosen by the staff. I tried the Renaissance (grilled pineapple, lettuce, tomato, red onion, provolone, mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce) on a Hawaiian bun and the Medieval (bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato and barbecue sauce) on a wheat bun, and both were packed with flavor and freshness. Both the classic fries and onion rings are what you would expect, although I didn’t try the sweet potato fries. I will have to go back to correct that tragic oversight.

Create's custard comes with a head-spinning 30 toppings from which to choose.

Elsewhere, the Cezanne Caesar salad was adequate, but its size is ridiculous—you could feed three people with this. My dining partner and I barely put a dent in it.

The head-spinning options don’t stop with the burgers. For dessert, you’ve got more than 30 custard toppings to choose from, or you can select a signature sundae. We tried both the Van Gogh Bananas (vanilla custard, bananas, hot fudge, strawberries, hot caramel, peanuts and whipped cream) and Picasso’s Masterpieces (chocolate custard, hot fudge, Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter topping and whipped cream). Every time I thought I was done, I took one more bite. This frozen custard may not beat Luv-It, but it comes damn close.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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