Houston’s bigger, better The Burger Joint is ready to make its debut. Three-and-a-half years after announcing plans to add a second location of the popular restaurant, the new establishment will open on Friday, February 21.
Opened in 2015, The Burger Joint focuses on a classic mix of burgers, sides, and shakes. Developed by owner Shawn Bermudez (Present Company, Pistolero’s) and chef Matt Pak, the restaurant has been highly successful, drawing celebrity fans and consistent lines. Late night hours — midnight during the week, 4 am on Friday on Saturday — enable the restaurant to satisfy burger cravings at almost any hour.
“It’s my most successful place,” Bermudez tells CultureMap. “There’s things that come and go that pass it up for awhile, but consistently it’s done really well for us. I’m happy to open number two.”
Located in a former gas station at 2002 N. Shepherd Dr., the new location features both a larger interior and a massive, L-shaped patio that sits along both 20th St. and N. Shepherd. Even better, this locations features over 100 parking spots, which certainly makes visiting it easier than the original.
“When we saw this was available, we jumped on it,” Bermudez says. “We bought this property, the middle one, the corner, and a couple of houses.”
From a design perspective, fans of the original location in Montrose will find much that feels familiar. The look is mostly the same, just bigger. Bermudez brought a little of his Present Company flair to the decor, courtesy of three Instagrammable neon signs. Most of the patio is covered, giving it more utility on hot or rainy days.
Pak’s menu remains mostly the same from when the restaurant opened, a testament to the success of his formula. Over the years, The Burger Joint has an added an Impossible Burger patty to its meun and a mahi mahi filet for pescetarians. French fries are made in-house.
New to the menu is a dry-aged beef patty sourced from local purveyor Black Hill Meats. Pak pairs it with beef bacon, pepper jack cheese, fried onion strings, and spicy barbecue sauce to create a Cowboy burger. If customers demonstrate their willingness to pay a slight premium, the dry-aged patty could go on the permanent menu.
The new location has a significantly larger kitchen, which means Pak will be able to add more specials and bring back his popular Joint Venture guest chefs. From a logistical perspective, the kitchen’s increased room allows Pak to prepare some ingredients for both locations and the restaurant’s companion food truck.
On the beverage side, The Heights location features a full bar with boozy shakes and cocktails designed by Present Company beverage director Rex Nielsen. In keeping with the restaurant’s overall theme, the drinks are riffs on familiar classics like the mule, margarita, and mojito. Of course, a full selection of craft beer carries over from the original.
Opening The Burger Joint kicks off a busy 2020 for Bermudez. He’s also a partner in 9th Street Ramen, a new restaurant that just opened in Los Angeles this week. Details with what he plans to do with the former Stones Throw space are TBA, as are his plans for a building he purchased that’s just north of The Burger Joint on Shepherd.
Pak mentions the kitchen has enough capacity to support a third location. Is one in the works, CultureMap inquires?
“We’re pretty much there. We’ll announce in a couple months where number three will be,” Bermudez says. “Hopefully, it gets done quicker. We built this one to be a prototype for everything going forward.”