A restaurant serving gourmet hamburgers, craft beers and cocktails featuring artisanal spirits is on its way to Grand Boulevard in Brookfield.
Dan and Brenna Velcich, who live in Lyons, announced last week on Facebook that they’ve signed a lease and will open Burger Antics at 3740 Grand Blvd., which most recently housed Giron’s Restaurant.
“It’ll be a Chicago-style burger bar in the suburbs with quality cuisine,” Dan Velcich told the Landmark during an interview Monday in the future dining room of the as-yet-unfinished space. “Everything will be made in house, down to the ketchup and mustard.”
Dan says the hope is to open by March 1, though they recognize it’s a tight timeline.
“The biggest hurdle is getting the bar up and running,” said Brenna. The couple wants to open up the bar area, which looks more like an oversized service window, to make it more inviting to customers.
“Everything else is pretty much cosmetic,” Dan said.
When Burger Antics does open, it’ll be the second incarnation of the business. They formerly subleased the kitchen of a tavern on Joliet Road in Countryside. There for about 15 months, they built a following. But in August 2014, they moved out, citing a difference in philosophy with the owners of the bar.
“It was time for us to break away,” said Brenna.
When Burger Antics opened again, they wanted the business to be a singular place, one where they could put their stamp on all aspects. After a four-month search in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, they landed on Grand Boulevard.
The building, which formerly housed Giron’s, was outfitted in 2007-08 to be an Italian deli/grocery/catering operation. The business was short-lived. Giron’s relocated to the space from Broadway Avenue in 2011 and closed in 2013.
“One of the main things is that the [cooking] hood already existed,” said Dan. “And the front of the house is the perfect size for us.”
In all, the plan is to have table seating for 44 with six seats at the bar.
“We want to be that small, neighborhood place that people like going to,” said Dan.
As far as the food goes — and as the name suggests — hamburgers are the star of the show at Burger Antics. The 9-ounce patties are formed by hand and cooked to order. The business’ website lists seven regular burger choices, though customers can create their own combinations or choose from monthly and weekly specials.
Among the most memorable weekly specials — and destined to be Burger Antics’ first weekly special when they reopen — was the Cherry Bomb, a burger topped with goat cheese, a fire roasted habanero pepper, and cherry compote.
The customer favorite during their run on Joliet Road was Montezuma’s Revenge, a burger topped with chorizo, pepper jack cheese, grilled habanero peppers and a fried egg.
According to Dan, the restaurant tries to source as much food as possible locally. As for the bar, it will focus on craft beer (with a dozen or more on tap) and “hand-crafted cocktails using artisanal spirits.”
Brenna, a Brookfield native and 2004 graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, began honing her burger-making skills in 2009-10 at Brixie’s on Ogden Avenue.
After that she landed at Owen and Engine, a Michelin Bib Gourmand selection in 2012 and 2013, where she started as a line cook and worked her way up to sous chef.
Dan and Brenna have lived in Lyons for the past eight or nine years, however, and wanted to open a restaurant closer to home.
“We had been talking about a burger place for years,” said Dan.
The goal, he said, was to create an informal, family-friendly spot where people could get a sophisticated take on a simple food item.
“I’m more interested in giving customers a good experience and being a responsible business,” Dan said. “We’re interested in spreading the wealth we get through our employees and the community.”