There is no single food on earth more quintessentially American than the hamburger. It serves as a visual symbol of the culinary landscape of our country. And unlike po boys, lobster rolls or cheesesteaks, there are no special cities that you have to travel to in order to find a “true” version of this meaty icon. From backyard grills to fast food joints to high end steakhouses, if you know where to look, you can find a great hamburger just about anywhere in America. One such place is Tony Beef, a new burger joint that just opened a few months ago in Galloway.

Tony Beef is a family Business, owned by a pair of brothers, Anthony and Nick DellaVecchia. The DellaVecchia brothers — along with their sister Lindsey, who is also on the Tony Beef team — were born and raised in Galloway and had dreamed of being business partners since childhood.

“When my brother and I were younger, one day after eating at the Old Country Buffet, we looked at each other and made the decision that one day we would open a restaurant together,” says Anthony who was manning the grill on the day we stopped in.

This may be his first time owning a restaurant, but Anthony is no newbie in the culinary world. He began learning the business hands on when he was a college student at Indiana State University. “In college I worked as a bus boy at an Italian restaurant called Pino’s. Through time and dedication I worked my way up to head chef and general manager of the restaurant. After that I knew I wanted to make this my career,” he says.

Teaming up with his brother Nick who managed to snag himself degrees in both accounting and finance, the pair decided to launch a restaurant concept with the hopes of one day franchising. Thus Tony Beef was born.

The experience at Tony Beef falls somewhere between fast food and a sit down restaurant, in that relatively new category known as fast-casual. The space has gotten a complete transformation from its former self (Galloway residents and visitors may remember it as the original location of legendary breakfast spot Shea’s), but while Shea’s atmosphere left much to be desired, Tony Beef has dressed the spot with a modern industrial-sheik look, combined with some whimsical touches of old Americana, such as rusted Coke signs and yellowing, old-school menu boards that showcase an amusing list of banned customers, including “Ronald” “Wendy” The King” and our personal favorite, “All exes of owners.”

The ordering system forgoes the traditional face-to-face deal and instead utilizes Wawa-style kiosks which let you customize your burger till your heart’s content. As you might expect, there are many options as far as toppings go, but that’s just the beginning. Your meat itself is an option, as you can select from choices that range from locally-sourced beef to chicken, bison, black bean or the “beast of the day” which can be anything from turkey, elk or venison to really exotic options like alligator and ostrich.

Even the buns are customizable and made in house, with gluten free and lettuce options joining the list, along with a house bun that is similar to a brioche. And for the truly brave carbo-gluttons, your burger can be served between a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches. And yes, of course you can (and should) add bacon to that. And ham. And pastrami. And a fried egg. All are options — these guys are not playing around.

In addition to burgers, Tony Beef offers sides like hand-breaded chicken nuggets, mac and cheese bites and even roasted hummus. But by far the most exciting non-burger options here are the milkshakes.

They are made right at the front counter and utilize a highly uncommon method that includes liquid nitrogen. Watching one be made is part of the experience, as the entire counter area begins to fill with smoke. It’s like someone is filming an ’80s glam rock video right before your eyes, only this one will result in a delicious treat and less hairspray.

“We make all our ice cream from scratch,” says Anthony. “We use liquid nitrogen because it freezes the ice cream the fastest way possible, which makes the ice crystals smaller making for a more creamy milkshake.”

In case you are wondering, the shake lived up to the hype. One of the best we have tried anywhere. What the DellaVecchia brothers have done at Tony Beef is remarkable. They have made one of the simplest most traditional American concepts seem fresh, new and exotic. How? By using ingredients that are fresh, new and exotic. A move so simple, it’s genius. Can the franchise be far away?