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Umami Burger plots global expansion

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Eunice Tan has lunch with friends on Friday, Oct. 18 at Umami Burger's flagship location at the Grove. The restaurant first opened in Los Angeles in 2009 and now has 22 locations including Miami Beach and New York City.

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Umami Burger Founder and CEO Adam Fleischman stands outside the restaurant's location at The Grove. In addition to Umami, CEO Adam Fleishman also helped create restaurants 800 Degrees and Red Medicine, and owns a stake in L.A. Creamery Artisan Ice Cream.

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Umami's flagship location at the Grove opened in August 2012. Since its founding four years ago, 16 Umami Burger locations have opened in Southern California.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Friends eat lunch together on Friday, Oct. 18 at Umami Burger at the Grove.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Anthony Duong of Los Angeles, right, takes his father to lunch on Friday, Oct. 18 at Umami Burger during a visit to California from Vietnam.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Grove Truffle Burger, with parmesan fondue and truffle sauce, is exclusive to their flagship restaurant. Every Umami burger has a "U" on the top bun.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Grill supervisor William Cruz finishes a Slash Burger inside the kitchen at Umami Burger on Oct. 18.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

James Duong of Vietnam eats lunch at Umami Burger at the Grove.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Umami's ahi tuna burger with crushed avocado, daikon sprouts, pickled ginger and wasabi flakes. The restaurant name, Umami, is a Japanese word for savory, one of the five basic types of taste.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kitchen manager Jose Luis Toledo takes out Slash Burgers and sweet potato fries for an order.


Think of burgers and California - and many people think of In-N-Out. There's another restaurant chain, though, with an upscale version of this classic fast food.

KPCC's Ben Bergman says while In-N-Out has resisted expansion, Umami Burger is fixated on it.
 


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