Small menu, big buzz building for downtown burger joint

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Two entrepreneurs behind London’s newest hamburger joint are taking burgers back to the basics.

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So don’t expect find trendy hamburger toppings like pineapple and peanut butter or avocado and blue cheese at Beach Boy Burger at 371 Wellington St., just south of Oxford Street near downtown. The eatery is the brainchild of Jesse Walker, who partnered with executive chef Josh Sawyer, the owner of Wich is Wich, to bring a California-style burger restaurant to the city’s core.

β€œI created this brand and wanted to create an atmosphere and a vibe. I didn’t feel like there were many places that did smash burgers that well in the city,” Walker said.

The simple menu serves up burgers – single, double and triple – with fries or mac and cheese for sides and a selection of homemade dipping sauces. Diners can wash it down with a milkshake or a bottle of Coca Cola.

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And for dessert, there’s only one option: a deep-friend peanut butter and banana sandwich.

β€œIt’s about taking those simple things and making them as good as we can,” Walker said of the small menu.

The restaurant, located in a single-storey building that previously housed Wich is Wich, offers customers three seating options: a sun-drenched front patio with picnic tables, a shaded back patio or the indoor dining room.

Pastel-coloured walls, plenty of palm trees – sourced from Heeman’s – and a surf-rock playlist makes stepping into the restaurant feel like you’ve entered a beach-side burger shack.

Walker, who grew up in Kawartha Lakes and studied marketing at Fanshawe College, is the creator of DineIn519, the social media brand that brought London Brunch Fest to the Covent Garden Market earlier this month.

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Sawyer previously worked in the restaurant industry out west before becoming an executive chef on a billionaire’s yacht, cooking meals for celebrities like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Wayne Gretzky. He returned to London to open Wich is Wich with his mother, former London radio host Elaine Sawyer, in 2015.

Walker and Sawyer are shunning traditional advertising in favor of slick branding on social media, where customers also post photos and videos of their meals.

Beach Boy Burger had its official grand opening on Aug. 13, a few weeks before nearly 50,000 Western University and Fanshawe College students flock back to London.

β€œI think that’s going to be a huge rush for us,” Walker said of the return of post-secondary school students. β€œBut we wanted to give. . . our crew some time to get acclimatized.”

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

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