Restaurant trends – some of them linger for years, while others fizzle out in a matter of weeks. We’re only six months into 2011, but already we’ve noticed some pretty strong dining trends running throughout many of our Buzz cities. Here’s a look at the five most prominent trends this year so far.
Here today, gone tomorrow seems to be the MO that fueled the massive popularity behind pop-ups in the last six months. From NYC’s What Happens When to DC's upcoming America Eats Tavern (from chef José André s) the idea of a temporary or concept-shifting restaurant is all the rage in 2011. Also, "perma pop-up" concepts were big as well, including Joseph Mahon's Burger Parlor in the LA area and NYC’s LTO, which rotates chefs every three months. Pop-ups were also a means for out-of-town chefs to workshop new concepts in new cities. NYC's JBF LTD in Chelsea Market showcased the talents of chefs like Laurent Grasand Michelle Bernstein, and LA chef Ludo Lefebvre announced plans for an upcoming LudoBites pop-up in NYC.
Former Bastide chef Joseph Mahon has taken his pop-up game to Orange County, opening a "permanent pop-up" dedicated to burgers in Fullerton's breakfast-and-lunch-only Rialto Café.
108 W. Wilshire Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
Rejoice good people of Fullerton, for there is a new restaurant in town…and it’s a Pop-Up!
If you consider yourself a “foodie”, then the term Pop-Up Restaurant is one that is already dearly familiar to you. For the rest of the population, it maybe conjures up images of a food fight with clowns in a bounce house. Pop-Ups are temporary restaurants: anywhere from a parking lot, a warehouse or an existing restaurant during hours of non-operation. Essentially, chefs erect Pop-Ups to exercise their passion and love of food without the hefty and often risky investment of a stand-alone restaurant.
Chef and owner, Joseph Mahon (of Bastide fame), has put Fullerton on the culinary map as a result of this dining phenomenon. Housed within Rialto Cafe (which is open only for breakfast and lunch), Burger Parlor takes over the burners right before the sun sets. While most restaurants stop serving food two hours prior, their 11pm closing time is ideal for the late night crowd who typically go bar-hopping downtown. (Rumor has it they might soon be open until 1am!)
Burger Parlor boasts of 10 juicy creations, lovingly referred to as hand burgers, which are hand-crafted with 100% Certified Angus Beef from Nebraska that is fresh ground daily. Within only a few days of opening, The Smokey has already become a fan favorite. With hickory smoked bacon, fried onions, cheddar cheese, Bibb lettuce, oven dried tomato and oozing with secret sauce, it will make you salivate just thinking about it. The beer battered onions are delicately crisp, golden rings of sweet addiction.
Burger Parlor’s menu also includes short rib chili cheese fries, Sloppy Joes, watermelon and fried chicken salad; old school dessert items such as shakes, Guinness floats, ice cream sandwiches and S’mores parfaits. From the chalkboard, you can choose from a selection of wine by the glass, Belgian ales or American IPAs to wash down all the super fresh goodness.
The setting at the cafe is casual with padded booths and a rustic communal table. There is additional seating at the bar counter and a few tables right outside the door. Adhering to their site’s Mission Statement, Mahon (trading his chef garb for t-shirt, jeans and an apron) treats everyone like a life- long friend, welcoming them like he would in his own parlor at home. Or salon or living room, depending on what state you hail from.
Unlike previous Pop-Ups under Chef Mahon’s toque, this new love is planning to stick around past the customary two weeks. More than a Summer fling, it’s a relationship he wants to build upon.
Three Questions with Chef Joseph Mahon
1. After your successful stint at Bastide, what drove you to open a burger joint?
Throughout my career I have always had a passion for interpreting classic flavor combinations.
‘Burger Parlor’ was a natural evolution from feedback from my Bastide guests. I started running Burger Mondays at Bastide and the response we had from our guests was overwhelming to me. We had 2-3 people every Monday saying it was one of the best burgers they have had. After running the Burger Mondays for about 4 weeks, I knew what I was going to do next and the ‘Burger Parlor’ was born.
2. Why did you choose Fullerton over other cities for your first solo venture?
Rialto Cafe: Leslie, Jerry and their team. Fullerton is a very transcending place because it has great neighborhood community, unlike anywhere else in OC. Everyone accepts your individuality here and that is always refreshing to see.
3. We know you have grand plans, so what can we expect at Burger Parlor in the months to come?
108 W. Wilshire Ave.
June 12th, 2011, 1:47 pm by Nancy Luna, Staff Writer
My family and I stopped at the pop-up restaurant, Burger Parlor, in downtown Fullerton on Saturday night after a body-aching day of Fantasy Baseball at Dodger Stadium.
I love the idea of dining at a “restaurant within a restaurant.” Like food trucks, pop-up restaurants make you feel like you’re eating from a secret roaming hidden gem that serves delish street food.
In the case of Burger Parlor, you don’t have to chase it down.
Chef-owner Joseph Mahon, for now, is calling the Rialto Cafe his permanent home Wednesday through Saturday nights. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch only, allowing Mahon to take over at night with his menu of gourmet Angus burgers, shakes, thick-cut wedge fries and a rare collection of bottled craft brew beers.
He debuted Burger Parlor earlier this month. The menu features about 10 gourmet burgers ranging in price from $8 to $11.
Learn more about the burger, and see photos: Is this Orange County’s next best burger?
June 9th, 2011, 6:15 am by Nancy Luna, Staff Writer
Burger Parlor by veteran Los Angeles and New York chef Joseph Mahon is a “restaurant within a restaurant” — something the industry calls a pop-up eatery. Though Burger Parlor is using existing restaurant space, it doesn’t plan to roam around the county like traditional pop-up restaurants in Los Angeles.
The restaurant lists its permanent address at 108 W. Wilshire Ave. — inside Rialto, a breakfast and lunch only cafe in downtown Fullerton. It is open Wednesday through Saturday only from 6-11 p.m.
“Check for the neon signs in Rialto Cafe,” Burger Parlor states on its website about its “hidden” location, which opened earlier this month.
Mahon, who has worked with Daniel Boulud, Andrew Carmellini and David Myers, is best known for his time spent at the now shuttered French bistroBastide in West Hollywood.
At the Burger Parlor, he will use hormone-free products, fresh-ground Angus beef and freshly baked buns.
“The Burger Parlor is keen on preserving the tradition of this American treasure through a chef’s perspective. Come in and taste what people are talking about,” the parlor states as its mission.
His chef-driven menu features about 10 gourmet burgers ranging in price from $8 to $11. A few notable burger creations: The Staten Island meatball burger, The Mahon pastrami and Angus beef burger and The Lasorda pork sausage burger.
So far, Mahon said following three burgers are the most popular: The Chip Shot (Fontina/ Potato Chip/ Tomato Confit/ Mushrooms/ Arugula/ Chipotle Aioli); The Old School (American cheese/lettuce/tomato/caramelized onions/secret sauce); and The Smokey (Hickory Smoked Bacon/ Fried Onions/ Cheddar Cheese/ Bibb Lettuce/ Oven Dried Tomato/ Secret Sauce).
The menu also includes Belgian fries, three salads, craft beer, shakes and other desserts.
Tell us: If you’re going to open a trendy “pop-up” restaurant in Orange County, going with a gourmet burger menu is not a bad way to go. What do you think? Have you tried Burger Parlor yet? Do you know of any other “pop-up” restaurants in Orange County? If so, write and let us know.
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|Joseph Mahon in the Bastide kitchen|
Mahon's new concept, The Burger Parlor, will go into an existing restaurant space, taking over the Rialto Café in downtown Fullerton at night after that restaurant finishes its customary breakfast and lunch service. What to expect? Well, burgers.
|exterior of Rialto Café|
"We actually had great feedback when I did burger Monday's [at Bastide]. It really put the wheels in motion for this next project," Mahon emailed yesterday. The chef says he has had this business plan for the last 6 years, but had not had the funding before. "I also believed fine dining here in L.A. was in better shape."
As for the burger concept, Mahon says that he wanted to "redefine a common staple of American culture," and that "burgers are the most American thing I can think of."