You're driving home. It's late. You're tired. Your mind is numbly going over what's left in the fridge from the weekend and you've just turned onto the highway: a no-man's land of food options. Even McDonald's is starting to look appealing. If only there were some delicious, patty-filled recourse for your grumbling stomach.
It might seem like a no-brainer to set up a burger bar next to a drive-through bottle shop, but when Rabih Yanni of the Grosvenor Hotel glanced over to his shed one day, which was piled high with unused chairs, tables and dust, the thought passed through his head as genius. And it is. Fast-forward a couple months and the St Kilda Burger Bar (STKBB) has opened its doors — or rather, its garage doors.
You aren't looking for frills with this kind of food, and Yanni makes a clean cut. Fryers bubble in the background as you step (or drive) up to the front garage, which pokes its face out just off Brighton Road in the shadow of its neighbouring brother, The Grosvenor Hotel.
The simple menu design — a shout-out to 1980s New York — immediately sets the tone with two categories: 'Burgers' and 'Not Burgers'. On the whole, the offering is simple, almost restrained. Amongst the usual suspects is the Gatwick Roadhouse, which is an immediate winner: hand-pressed, grass-fed Angus beef, pineapple, beetroot and red onion jam, cheese, ketchup and mayo. Room for further experimentation is also on the horizon, with a rotating special to feature in the coming months. "It's amazing what you can fit between two pieces of bread," says Paul Tyas, head chef of The Grosvenor and chief burger creator at STKBB.
For hungry travellers of the non-burger variety, fear not — you haven't been forgotten. Alternative choices include a cheese kransky dripping in mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut and sweet potato cakes that go by the dollar. STKBB also offer some great old-school meal deal combos, like the Family, which comes with two burgers, two kids meals, two salads, two chips and two desserts for a pittance: $45.
When it comes to the sweet stuff, Tyas' approach shines through with his homemade ice cream sandwich: peanut butter ice cream coated with jelly and everything good in life. And if that doesn't set your sugar senses off, there's always gelato from 7 Apples. Mountain Goat beer and Kelly Brothers cider are the menu selections, but when you're five steps from a fully-stocked bottle shop, one needn't worry too much with the fine print.
While it may not be a contender for Melbourne's burger crown, where STKBB stands tall is sticking true to what it does: easy-to-grab burgers with the usual entourage.
NATIONAL BURGER DAY, MAY 28: When it comes to celebrating the day dedicated to their favourite meal, St Kilda Burger Bar aren't holding back. Created by Daniel James Patisserie, they're adding the Big Mac-aron dessert burger to their menu just for May 28 to mark the occasion. Expect coconut chantilly 'lettuce', grilled banana marshmallow 'cheese', raspberry pate de fruit 'ketchup', mango gel 'mustard' and a 70% Sao Thome single-origin aerated chocolate ganache patty.