A bright-green sign has adorned the windows at 918 Massachusetts St. for at least six months now, promising us a new hamburger joint called BurgerFi in the space formerly occupied by Chutney’s Indian Diner and Bar. Today, it appears, is the day BurgerFi makes good on that promise.
Franchise owner Josh Kurzban confirmed the news this morning. The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. today, he says, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is planned for tomorrow afternoon at 4:30.
The Florida-based chain has about 40 locations nationwide, clustered mostly on the East Coast and in Texas. The Massachusetts Street store will be only its second foray into Kansas after a Leawood location opened in May.
Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn first reported the arrival of BurgerFi in his Town Talk blog back in March. At the time, Kurzban and his wife, Michelle, also a co-owner, said they expected to open the Lawrence location by mid-spring of this year. Now, several months later, Josh cites construction issues as the cause of the delay.
“The building, or parts of it, are 100 years old,” he says. “We definitely wanted to preserve some of its architectural elements.”
The restaurant boasts an original tin ceiling and an exposed brick facade along a passageway to its back end. Much of the furniture is made from upcycled materials, Josh says.
As for the food, BurgerFi makes its patties from free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Customers can also choose from five different types of hotdogs, hand-cut fries (ordered regular, well-done or limp), and frozen custard made with pure cane sugar. There’s also a quinoa-and-lentil-based veggie burger that’s made fresh daily.
Josh says the restaurant plans to source as much produce as possible from local providers in season. Free State Brewing Company, 23rd Street Brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company beers will be on tap; selections from Paola-based Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery are also on the menu.
“Basically the message is, we’re a gourmet kitchen hiding in a fast-casual environment,” Josh says. “We’re very excited to be in a college town like Lawrence.”
BurgerFi’s hours are 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.
My colleague Chad, our city reporter whose Town Talk blog brings us the scoop on all kinds of businesses before they even open, today reports that an "all-natural" hamburger chain is coming to the space formerly occupied by Chutney's Indian Diner and Bar, 918 Massachusetts St.
According to Chad's latest post:
Franchise owners Josh and Michelle Kurzban plan to open their restaurant, called BurgerFi, by mid-spring. The Florida-based chain has 36 restaurants nationwide but expects to have 75 by the end of 2014.
The restaurant says all its hamburgers are made of free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Also on the menu: a brisket burger made from dry-aged ground brisket; five different styles of hot dogs; hand-cut fries that can be ordered regular, well-done or limp; beer and wine; and frozen custard desserts made with sugar cane. One especially unique item to watch for, Chad notes, is the Breakfast All Day Burger, with hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a fried egg and hashbrowns.
The BurgerFi website is splashed with phrases like "locally grown" and "farm to tray." Since it's a national brand, I'm interested to see whether they'll serve food that's actually local to us (Remember Local Burger? All their various meats came from named farms within a few hours drive.) or "local" to some other place. One last notable I spotted on their menu: bottles of Mexican Coke.
Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at email@example.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.
The lead story in today's new Going Out section — Rise and shine: Lunch and dinner spots give breakfast a shot — focused on some of the more unexpected places you can now have a morning meal. While I didn't include it in this article, talking about downtown breakfast spots made me wonder, "What's the latest on the Roost?"
The Roost is the new breakfast and lunch restaurant planning to open in the former Milton's location, 920 Massachusetts St. I checked with the owners this week, who said their current target opening date is May.
They're working on renovations, getting all the proper permits, kicking off a Kickstarter project to raise money for a new hood system and testing and tweaking recipes for the menu. Once they do open, the plan is to serve from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. When they have a firm opening date, I'm sure they'll share it on their Facebook page, where, in the meantime you can get a glimpse of those aforementioned recipe tests — morning-appropriate cocktails included!