It was an idea "sparked by a few Tweets," says Lucrece Borrego, owner of Kitchen Incubator and its storefront bistro, Cafe Luz. Tomorrow at lunch, her commercial kitchen space located on Franklin at Travis will welcome new tenants The Burger Guys in what will be more of a satellite location than a secondary location for the burger joint.
"After noting a few Tweets about the 'ghost town' in their shopping center and the need to feed the inner loop, I sent [Burger Guys owner] Jake [Mazzu] a message asking if he'd like to get together and explore doing the occasional burger Friday out of our downtown kitchens," said Borrego of the brand-new partnership.
That idea for a "burger Friday" quickly transformed into a weekly pop-up burger joint of sorts, as The Burger Guys now plan to operate out of Kitchen Incubator every Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And although the two operations -- Cafe Luz and The Burger Guys -- evolved independently, the two couldn't be more evenly matched. Borrego agrees.
"We got to talking and figured out pretty quickly that it was a natural fit," she says. "The Burger Guys, also known for their Dublin soda fountain and shakes, were a perfect culinary element to the Luz soda fountain and original milkshake bar."
Those sodas and shakes will be available along with a host of The Burger Guys' best-selling sandwiches: The Saigon (with carrot, daikon, jalapeño, pate, cucumber, cilantro and Sri Racha aioli), the Sonoma (with bacon, cheddar, arugula, aioli and avocado), the Texan (with jalapeño, garlic, Provolone, aioli and bacon), the Houston (with jalapeño, Cheddar, onion-bacon jam and Shiner Bock mustard), the All-American and a weekly special.
This week, the special will be the Puebla, topped with a pasilla/adobo mix, mushrooms, lime juice, queso blanco and aioli. And from the fountain at Cafe Luz, the specials will be a muddled strawberry lemonade and The Ocean, a milkshake made with cinnamon- coffee porter dulce de leche and Himalayan pink salt.
All of the burgers will run $10, with The Burger Guys' signature duck fat fries running an extra $3. On hand to serve them up from Kitchen Incubator's teaching kitchen will be owner Jake Mazzu and his old sous chef, Brandon Fisch, who has returned to his roots after stints with Yelapa and Xuco Xicana.
Borrego notes that while The Burger Guys Downtown/Cafe Luz is not set up to take reservations, "we'll be paying extra close attention to Twitter and Facebook to let everyone know of wait times and respond to requests for large party accommodations."
"Picnics in Market Square Park are also encouraged," she adds. Cafe Luz even has picnic basket set-ups available for rent if you want to enjoy the nearby park on a sunny afternoon.
But these few weekday afternoons aren't all that Borrego and Mazzu have planned for their new joint venture. "If all goes well," Borrego says, "we'll have a semi-permanent home for The Burger Guys Downtown on select days and possibly evenings, particularly once that ever elusive brewpub license comes together and the perfect marriage of burger goodness and craft beer is created."
For now, Borrego says, it's time for them to focus on the excitement ahead: "Duck fat fries will be flowing, and we'll have our full soda fountain and shake menu along with the regular Café Luz espresso bar, bakery and chef items."
"Look out for special ice cream collaborations," and, she adds, "a few more surprises, too."