With the proliferation of fast-casual takeout burger joints throughout the Boston dining scene over the past few years, you’d think that one would have to go to extreme lengths to find that edge needed to open a new spot and separate itself from the pack.
But for Euz Azevedo, principal and owner of Griddler’s Burgers and Dogs, that little something extra comes down to two things: Big fun, and using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
“We had to identify how to position ourselves in this hyper-competitive market of burgers. You have Shake Shack, Tasty Burger, tons of them,” he says. “The question became ‘How do we position ourselves with a little competitive advantage with these other places in town?’ and we did that by adopting a fun locavore culture, bringing everything in from Boston or greater New England.”
All of which is found at the brand new flagship Griddler’s, which just opened on Boylston Street along Boston Common in the heart of Emerson College territory. The size of this location meant keeping things simple and bright in terms of design was key, as was installing two custom-built tables with a massive built-in touchscreen tablets allowing diners to play and download games. And, of course, to pull up to while devouring OG Griddler burgers topped with local dill-masters Grillo’s pickles, some insane sweet potato tater tots, or the G-Dog, which uses Lynn-based Old Neighborhood all-beef franks loaded with chili or cheese or guacamole (or all three). Or, you could get into the build-your-own burger game, which includes creative toppings that go beyond the lettuce-pickles-onions humdrum trifecta—things like truffle aioli, kimchi, chipotle chili, and even Cajun ham.
While Griddler’s is still a relatively small operation, Azevedo says it’s been challenging to work with certain vendors due to costs, but as the brand grows the hope is vendors will start to approach him in order to be a part of the venture. And starting with this location’s focus on creating a jovial atmosphere, Azevedo says every Griddler’s, from this one on out, will have a different “fun” factor.
“In the future we may have a Griddler’s with a speakeasy in the back, or you walk in and there’s a bowling alley or pool hall attached,” he says. “But always fun, and always geared towards young adults. We’re launching our third location in Brookline, and our goal is to open three more in the next year.”
And they’re not stopping there. Griddler’s is part of Azevedo’s larger company, Boston Nightlife Ventures (behind spots like The Tap Trailhouse, Wink and Nod, and the recently closed Forum Restaurant), and his team already has three concepts in the pipeline with the design firm that helped his team develop Griddler’s. As of now, they’re setting their sights on Somerville after signing a lease in Davis Square. Whether or not that means an entirely fresh concept or a different Griddler’s isn’t locked yet, but that’s the next neighborhood they’re aiming for, with an eye to continue expanding.
“We want to be an institution,” he says. “Not just a chain.”
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.