Best Of 2011

BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT: Burger 21

It’s still early days at this nascent chain concept created by the Melting Pot crew in concert with local star chef Chris Ponte — with a second location opening in Carrollwood in October — but early returns are extremely promising. Largely, that’s due to simple things, like perfectly cooked patties and thoughtful burger construction. We’ll see if more outlets means less influence by Ponte, but in the meantime this is a chain we don’t feel guilty supporting. 9664 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa, 813-475-5921, burger21.com.