South University to get burger joint

By Max Radwin, For the Daily
Published September 23, 2013

Ann Arbor, prepare to be Burgerfied.

BurgerFi plans to open at 1235 South University Avenue

BurgerFi — short for “Burgerfication” — will open on South University Avenue near South Forest Avenue on Oct. 1.

The restaurant’s belief in a 'green' business model and food-preparation habits has garnered rapid success. But they say their participation in the “better burger movement” isn't just an attempt to serve good, healthy food: It’s also an attempt to set an example for an entire industry.

“The food service industry in general is a very wasteful industry,” Heather Stein, the store’s manager, said. “It leaves a pretty big carbon footprint. It’s important that we keep that in mind because … we can change that. If more people were more conscientious of sustainability, the results would be immeasurable.”

Stein said that everything on BurgerFi’s menu will be made from scratch. All of the store’s beef is a proprietary blend of Montana, free-range Black Angus cattle, and the resulting patties will be formed in-house and never frozen, she said. Hand-cut fries and onion rings will also be made fresh throughout the day.

“We even tilt our grills so a lot of that grease runs down, so you're not just getting a burger that’s sitting in its own fat,” Stein said.

Even the restaurant’s interior — which evokes the fast-casual concept of hamburger stands from the 1950s and 60s — will be made from recycled materials: the Coke-themed chairs are made out of 111 Coke bottles and the restaurant’s picnic tables are made out of 960 milk cartons.

LSA junior Elaine Han, who admitted she isn’t a huge fan of burgers, said she plans to try the new restaurant for its green-consciousness, fresh food and its proximity to campus.

Stein believes that the restaurant will be a strong fit with Ann Arbor not only because the city is very “green-conscious,” but also because BurgerFi’s menu provides a lot of food options suitable for student budgets.

BurgerFi will join a number of other popular burger establishments in Ann Arbor, including Quickie Burger, Frita Batidos and Five Guys. Before it closed, Blimpy Burger was a go-to spot near campus.

Stein added that because they’re open until 3 a.m., the restaurant will likely compete with late-night joints like Pancheros.

The Ann Arbor BurgerFi will be the chain’s 30th location nationwide. The company, which originated in Florida in 2011, hopes to open 100 locations nationwide by the end of 2014, and plans to open chains in Vancouver, Canada and the Middle East.