Remembering El Corral Hamburgers in Miami

El Corral was founded in Colombia in January of 1983. The popular burger chain finally made its way to the U.S. via Miami in early 2013. El Corral had well over 100 locations spread across South and Central America at the time.

At the time, it was considered the best burger in Colombia. They were for their quality ingredients, such as aged cheeses, hummus, Argentinian sausage, stir-fried vegetables, foie gras, and bread options.

I had never seen before that their smaller burgers were cooked on a griddle while the larger ones were grilled.

The 1st Hamburgers El Corral in the U.S. would open in Doral right off the Palmetto Expressway at 7800 Northwest 25th Street. Over the following year and a half, El Corral would expand to three restaurants with new Brickell and Kendall locations.

I know there were plans to open in Hollywood, Florida, but I’m unsure if that ever happened. By late 2014, all three locations had shuttered.

El Corral Hamburgers in Doral

El Corral Dining Area in Doral, Florida
El Corral Dining Area in Doral, Florida

January 21st, 2013 – Let’s get something out of the way right from the start: El Corral is a fast food joint. There is a little twist here: you can choose the Corral Burger (4.4oz) cooked on a griddle or the Grand Corral (8oz), which is grilled on an open flame.

Hamburgers El Corral Menu Boards
Menu Boards

The staff member who took my order insisted I get the chargrilled burger because it would be the most flavorful. After some consideration, I decided to try one of each burger with cheese & bacon for comparison.

I never specified which cheese I wanted, but mozzarella is the default. An order of fries and onion rings rounded out my order.

Hamburgers El Corral Tabletop
Newspaper Print Tabletop

The table I sat at was decorated with old newspaper ads, reminiscent of Wendy’s tables in the ’70s through the ’90s.

The fries were of the frozen variety but were appropriately salted. It was nothing a little ketchup couldn’t cure. The onion rings were crispy and reminded me of the o-rings from Burger King before they started tinkering with them.

Fries from Hamburgers El Corral

I ditched the lettuce, tomato, and onion on both burgers. As I mentioned earlier, the cheese was mozzarella, and it was nicely melted. It stretched when I was taking bites from the burger; in other words, it did its job.

The bacon was diced up and not ultra-crispy. I would go sans bacon if I had it to do all over again.

Corral Burger with Bacon & Cheese
Corral Burger with Bacon & Cheese
Grand Corral Half Pound Special with Bacon & Cheese
Grand Corral Half Pound Special with Bacon & Cheese

Which was the best of the two? I’d say the griddled won over the grilled in this case. They also had fast-food burger sauces (ketchup, mustard & mayo) all over them (ketchup & mayo on the top bun and mustard on the patty). 

Both were better than what you’ll find at the Big 3. Also, considering its price point, Shake Shack it’s not.

2 thoughts on “Remembering El Corral Hamburgers in Miami”

  1. if they can maintain the Colombia model here there is little competition All fresh, super fresh buns and great burgers.When I’m in Cartagena,Boca Grande, my go to place at least 2 times each trip.Shake Shack sucks In and Outs quality has suffered with expansion,this one really has legs if they can keep it close to the Colombian model


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