Sunderland’s first dedicated gourmet burger restaurant will be encouraging diners to get stuck in from this weekend.
Some of the dishes served at Saucy Burger are so supersize the venue’s providing bibs for people brave enough to tackle them.
After a short series of VIP nights, the restaurant opens its doors to the public on Saturday.
There’s been much hype around the £50,000 renovation of the former Dr Feelgood, in Hylton Riverside, with opening night fully booked.
New features include retro graphic walls, flashing neon signs, a photo booth and cowshed-style booths which people can book for large groups.
The venue is the newest addition to the successful Apartment Group’s portfolio, set up by Sunderland businessman Duncan Fisher, which also includes Saucy Burger’s sister venue Liberty Brown; As You Like It and Mr Lynch in Jesmond; Florita’s in Newcastle city centre and wedding venue Newton Hall in Northumberland.
Donna Cope, operations manager at Apartment Group, said: “There are still some people who have a massive affection for Dr Feelgood, but people were using it more as a special occasion place. It was doing well, but after a couple of years we felt the tapas thing was tired, and we wanted to try something new.
“We have kept a couple of people’s favourite dishes, like the popcorn chicken and spiced harissa skewers, but our primary focus will be burgers. We have ones you can pick up and eat, but we also have more sloppy, towering versions, topped with things like Monster Munch, Cheerios or peanut butter. For those versions we’ll be providing bibs.
“We’ve also got a couple of other dishes on there like a chilli with big chunks of steak, tacos, and a Memphis pulled pork, which we’ll be serving with claws so people can shred it themselves.”
Dr Feelgood served its last dish under that name at the weekend, with renovations taking place all this week to make Saucy Burger ready in time for opening night.
Donna say the Feelgood drinks menu, which saw it named as Cocktail Maker of the Year at our Wow 24/7 awards, will also remain with some new additions.
“There will still be a big emphasis on cocktails,” she said. “But we’ve added things like milkshake cocktails, which we’re calling Freakshakes, which use some unusual ingredients such as Nutella and sherbert.”
Liberty Brown and the subsequent Dr Feelgood upstairs were the Apartment Group’s first foray into Sunderland and plans are in the pipeline for more.
“Duncan is from Sunderland so he always wanted to open here, it was just a case of finding the right site,” explained Donna. “Liberty Brown is very popular and we’re really excited about Saucy Burger. We also have plans to open an additional three venues on this site as we have room to extend the building. They will be upmarket, food-led venues, but their theme has not been decided yet.”