Restaurant Notes extra: Owners of Catablu, Dairy Queen combine skills into BurgerFi
Gavin Hart has seen the social media comments: Fort Wayne doesn’t need another $12 burger place.
The co-owner of the new BurgerFi, which stands for Burgerfication of America, says customers will find the BurgerFi Cheeseburger – two natural Angus beef patties with American cheese, lettuce tomato and BurgerFi sauce – for $7.17 has enough value to justify the trip. Add an order of regular hand-cut fries, made in-house daily just like the onion rings, for $3.57 and a Coke product for $2.77, which comes with a variety of add-in flavors, and you’ve got a meal.
“The better burger concept is around,” he admits, but at BurgerFi “this is more a fast-food family option.”
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant at 7777 Coldwater Road also serves craft beers, including Chapman’s Brewing Co.’s Englishman Brown Ale. While the adults enjoy their beverages and meals, children can choose a meal that comes with a hot dog or cheeseburger, fries and a juice for $6.97. Vegetarians and vegans will also have options.
“We’ll be the first national franchise to have the Beyond Meat plant-based burger,” Hart said. It’s made with 14 ingredients.
The $7.17 VegeFi Burger is made with a quinoa-and-veggie-blend burger, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and BurgerFi sauce and comes on a multigrain bun.
However, after visiting numerous BurgerFi restaurants he realized customers could get a variety of toppings to burgers, including a fried egg.
General manager Steve Manos said, “If we got the ingredients, we’ll make it.”
It might cost a little extra, but bacon, an onion ring or a fried egg are options.
The restaurant, which seats 72 inside and has patio seating for 36, also serves hot dogs and a chicken sandwich. It has custard shakes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee mocha, and for the season, red velvet.
The restaurant, which was set to officially open Monday, is part of a relatively small, young chain. Begun in 2011 in Florida, BurgerFi now has over 100 restaurants.
Hart fell in the love with the restaurant during trips to Florida and joined business partner Mike Catalogna in the venture after visiting about a dozen BurgerFi restaurants and taking part in 2 years of planning.
Hart comes from a background of owning Dairy Queen restaurants. Catalogna owns Catablu Grille in Covington Plaza.
Catalogna “brings in the fine dining and I bring in the quick service,” Hart said.
Don’t want to stand in line if there’s a crowd at the opening? You can choose either the app to place your order by phone for pickup or use the kiosk at the front of the restaurant and your order will be sent to the kitchen while you find a table.
The tables at BurgerFi show its emphasis on recycling. Inside tables are made from compressed wood pallets. Industrial-style chairs each are fashioned from 111 Coca-Cola bottles. The wood panel walls come from No. 2 southern pine lumber, the 10-foot ceiling fan consumers 88 percent less energy than comparable models, all the lighting is energy-efficient LED, and the patio furniture is made from recycled milk jugs, according to the company.
BurgerFi is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 260-461-8354, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a fax to 260-461-8817 or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.