METRO/Jeff Harper Josh Nordin of Ace Burger shows off the Deluxe Burger on Monday. Gourmet burger joints like Ace Burger have boomed in Halifax over the last 18 months, with more still to come. (Jeff Harper/Metro)

Halifax is flipping for gourmet burgers, and one expert says it’s the urge to splurge that keeps people coming back for more.

The burger trend continues this year with Crispy Cristy and The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro expected to open in the next few weeks, adding to a menu that already includes Relish, Darrell’s, Flipburger, Cheese Curds and Ace Burger Co.

Ed McHugh, a business faculty member with NSCC, said premium burgers offer an enticing decadent, “counter-revolutionary” feel.

“Everyone talks the talk about how we all like to eat healthy and stay active, but here’s something flying totally in the face of that trend,” he said.

Although these dishes are pricier than fast-food offerings, McHugh said that’s part of the attraction.

“We all like to splurge. We’re a consumer-based society, we like to spend and when we spend it makes us feel good,” McHugh said.

George Christakos, co-owner of Ace Burger in Gus’ Pub, said consumers who spend a little more for the gourmet burger are making a choice to invest in the local economy.

“You decide on what places stay in business, what food chain you’re supporting. When you buy an Ace burger, you’re supporting Stone Hearth Bakery… or Getaway Farm,” he said.

“Whether you’re buying a burger from us or… other competition, it’s like where is this dollar going? How many positive cash registers are you ringing?”

But McHugh said the gourmet burger trend might end in a couple years.

“There will be winners and losers,” McHugh said. “There’s only so much room at a higher price point… but for now consumers are winning with choice and variety.”

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