Welcome Burger Bodega
Founded by Houston food influencer Abbas Dhanani, whose @houstoneatz account has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram and more than 110,000 on TikTok, Burger Bodega serves a double-patty cheeseburger that’s smashed on a griddle, topped with grilled onions, pickles, and “bodega sauce,” and served on a Martin’s potato bun. Dhanani has developed a following with a series of sold out pop-ups, and Burger Bodega served sliders to attendees at last weekend’s Southern Smoke Festival.
Diners will be able to get a first taste of the restaurant this week. It will operate from its to-go window only from Tuesday, October 25 through Friday, October 28 from 11 am until sold out. After the grand opening, it will open daily for lunch and dinner service with late night weekend hours to follow in the coming weeks.
Opening a permanent location will allow Dhanani to expand his menu. Diners will be able to get their smash burgers with one, two, or three patties. In addition, the chopped cheese, a staple of the New York bodegas that helped inspire the concept, will have a permanent place on the menu. It consists of two chopped patties with American cheese, onions, bell peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and bodega sauce on a hero roll As an alternative to the smash burger, the restaurant will serve a classic cheeseburger topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and bodega sauce on a sesame bun.
The restaurant will offer fries available plain, “Screwed” (topped with cheese sauce, onions, and bodega sauce, or “Chopped” (topped with chopped beef, cheese sauce, onions, bell peppers, and bodega sauce).
Dhanani partnered with Craft Creamery owner Steve Marques to develop his milkshakes. Veteran Houston burger lovers will recall that Marques created the milkshakes for The Burger Guys, a short-lived, critically acclaimed burger joint in the early 2010s. Burger Bodega will serve vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mango lassi, and the Burger Guys’ signature Vietnamese coffee milkshake.
Prior to launching Burger Bodega last year, Dhanani worked for the family business, the Sugar Land-based Dhanani Group, which operates hundreds of franchised restaurants such as Burger King and Popeyes, as well as Cyclone Anaya’s and La Madeline. That experience combined with his pop-ups has prepared him to open this restaurant.
“With years of working in the fast food industry for my family's business, I’ve always had the dream of opening up my own restaurant,” Dhanani said in a statement. “All the overwhelming support from the city over the last year at each pop-up truly has been amazing, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring my passion project to Washington Avenue.”
As its name implies, Burger Bodega will carry a limited selection of grab-and-go products. Look for products from restaurants and bakeries such as Bludorn, Craft Pita, Pudgy’s Cookies, Blood Bros BBQ, Seaside Poke, Kin, Feges BBQ, Greenway Coffee, and others. Adding to the New York atmosphere will be a mural created by local artist Donkeeboy, students from Young Art Pros, and graffiti artist Noke 713. Vy Truong and Han Dang of local design firm Very Handsome Studio created the restaurant's overall look.
A graffiti wall contributes to the New York atmosphere.Photo by Michael Ma
“I started my food Instagram @houstoneatz with the goal to promote other local restaurants and chefs in Houston, and Burger Bodega will be able to bring that goal full circle by showcasing products from local restaurants in the city,” Dhanani said. “I can’t wait to serve the city, and bring a little bit of New York with a Houston flair to Washington Avenue.”