Consistent dedication to COVID compliance has paved the way to another opening day for Burger Antics, 3740 Grand Blvd. in Brookfield. After closing in response to a second statewide mandate in October 2020, the well-loved restaurant focused on chef-driven burgers, craft cocktails and heavy metal music welcomed guests back into their dining room on April 1.
As many restaurants clamored to reopen as soon as possible and some openly defied orders to shutter dining rooms, Dan Velcich and his wife, co-owner and executive chef Brenna, opted to hold themselves to the highest possible safety standards.
Their desire to be among the most conscientious restaurants in terms of addressing COVID safety concerns forced constant re-evaluation to keep their staff and customers safe.
Despite ever changing circumstances, the Burger Antics team remained committed to keeping transparency at the forefront of their pandemic related decisions.
“We have seen firsthand what COVID can do to people,” said Dan Velcich. “That really affirmed our choices to take this as seriously as we could. Each time our operations were impacted by COVID we were transparent about it.”
Now staff and owners are enthusiastically open to 50-percent capacity as allowed by CDC guidelines, but are holding themselves to a stricter standard of allowing no more than six people per table.
Burger Antics’ dining room is open Thursday through Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. and tables are filled on a first come, first serve basis. The streamlined schedule lowers overhead costs and ensures employees are busy while keeping the restaurant as full as possible during peak business hours.
“Business was huge this week,” said Dan Velcich. “Basically, we’ve seen every regular customer who supported us through the pandemic.”
Since re-opening, the team has greeted familiar faces and top-notch burgers, house-made fries, hand-spun milk shakes and creative cocktails have started flying out of the kitchen once again.
Though the menu was streamlined during the pandemic to highlight Burger Antics’ most popular offerings, weekly burger specials like the Cajun Dane, featuring smoked Gouda, mushroom remoulade and house-pickled spinach, keep things fresh and interesting.
“Burger Antics is about much more than food,” said Velcich. “It is amazing how the staff bounced right back. I am not sure we realized how much we all missed serving customers.”
Before increasing business hours, Burger Antics looks forward to increasing capacity with sidewalk tables. If permits are approved, Burger Antics will gain 18 seats putting the restaurant at pre-pandemic capacity without overcrowding the dining room.
With outdoor dining on the horizon, Velcich intends to be careful about balancing his robust carryout business with the dine-in experience his customers crave. Patrons placing carryout orders will be given pickup time estimates based on how busy the restaurant is as at any given time.
“We have many customers who want to support us, but don’t feel ready to patronize as dine-in customers, so we want to continue to offer carryout,” said Velcich. “It is a tightrope walk, but we want to make sure we give dine in customers the full Burger Antics experience.”