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As a preamble to their August 24 grand opening, Stacked restaurant in Fashion Valley has been hosting complimentary meals for select guests, including the staff of the nearby Apple store where my roommate Leif works.

Leif, our roommate Marcus, my girlfriend Corrie, and I checked the place out last night. What follows may be hard to digest, but I assure you it is all true.

Stacked’s interior has the exact aesthetic that Aquarius Roller Rink (y'all remember that gem?) would exhibit, should it be rebuilt in 2021 -- brimming with new age, whimsical, surreal blobs such as these:


Touting the slogan “Food Well Built,” Stacked revolves around the theme of “stacking” almost anything you can imagine on top of your burger, pizza, salad, or sausage via an iPad at each table with a custom, image-based app.

We giddily perused the menu, exclaiming aloud all of the ingredients to be stacked upon our entrées.

“Pulled pork!” “Brie!” “Pickled onions!” “Cranberry mayo!”


Our imaginations took to flight in a near-pornographic embellishment of the American Dream that suddenly made all other dining experiences feel like something out of Soviet Russia. We were the new Rothschilds.

“I’ve been staring at the menu all day, and I’m still nowhere close to deciding what I want,” said Leif, who ultimately ordered first, stacking his burger so fiercely that he was compelled to preemptively unbutton his jeans.


Marcus went next, tossing inhibition to the wayside while saying, “I can’t help but think about the third world right now.”

“It’s like taking my tummy to Disneyland,” Corrie added, heedlessly stacking a burger to her fancy.

If our fourth roommate, Eli, were there, he undoubtedly would have likened it all to a Babylonian ritual before stacking the shit out of a vegetarian pizza.

The chili-cheese nachos arrived first with a side of butternut squash aioli, Sriracha mayo (!), and curry ketchup.


I could hardly taste anything due to a lingering face cold, but it hardly detracted from the central thrill of the venue: Having It All.

Pile it on! Give me the world! Stack it up!

Next was the vanilla shake blended with Almond Joy, strawberry, double whipped cream, and extra sliced almonds and coconut.


Minutes later, Marcus made this big oh-my-god face, and I was certain that Mary Anne Hobbs had just walked in the door, but it was our pizzas arriving on post-modern serving trays followed by burgers that towered nearly six inches high.


As you can see, we exercised zero self-restraint whilst stacking our entrées.

Leif had the Wake Up Call: a pretzel-bun burger with Angus beef, Swiss cheese, homemade potato chips, a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, and roasted red pepper aioli. On top of that, he stacked avocado, sautéed mushrooms, onion strings, jalapeños, sharp cheddar, and lettuce.


Corrie modified the Pepper Stack burger: a whole-wheat bun, angus beef, pepper jack, roasted poblano pepper, avocado, roma tomato, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, garlic aioli, and Stacked sauce.


Marcus went for a pesto pizza with feta, fresh parmesan, smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar, blackened shrimp, blackened chicken, applewood smoked bacon, Italian bread crumbs, macaroni and cheese, roasted garlic, mushrooms.

I stacked a pesto pizza with mozzarella, fresh parmesan, and smoked Gouda. Half Italian sausage, pork achouille, roasted garlic, and sundried tomatoes/half onion strings, applewood smoked bacon, green onion, and jalapeños.

We were on Pleasure Island, and we knew it. We’d be turning into donkeys at any moment. The decadence felt wrong, somehow, like eating a gallon of goose liver pâté or the poached eggs of an endangered sea creature.

At the end, we saw that we could create a Stacked account on the iPad in order to save custom stackings for next time.

Envisioning the future, Marcus forecasted, “Remember that burger we made that tasted like sex?”

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