The rivers of XXXX Gold flowing down Caxton Street to Lang Park may finally be drying up.
Game days still come and go, but these days the B-grade clubs and pubs that once dominated the half-kilometre high street are caught in a pincer movement of the classy Barracks development at one end and the gentrifying suburbs of Paddington and Red Hill at the other. Over the past five years a bunch of niche new operators (see Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Ginger’s, Brewski, Statler & Waldorf) have been popping up as neighbours.
Even a granddaddy like Casablanca wasn’t immune to the change. The infamous nightclub, at which weekend sessions only stopped with the karaoke machine, finally closed its doors in early July.
It’s been replaced by Fritzenberger. Conceived by Steve Minon and Matthew Bailey (Harajuku Gyoza and Nitrogenie), the burgers and fries joint opened last weekend amid a Broncos-Wallabies double-header. Talk about a baptism of fire. Incredibly, the venue turned over 800 burgers in the first day.
“We were going at it hammer and tongs. It was really, really stressful – until we opened the doors,” Harajuku Group general manager Andrew Jeffreys says. “I don't think one customer waited more than 10 minutes on that first day.”
The fit-out has reinvigorated the site, with a minimal colour palette of green, wood and exposed brick. Large windows catch the breeze drifting down from Petrie Terrace and funnel it through a communal bar. Kerbside tables speak to the casual nature of the venue, drawing in passers-by off the street. Behind the central bar, the large silver tanks of the small-batch brewery system are a commanding feature.
Minon and Bailey have brought together a superstar team to develop the food and beverage. Matt Glanville (Bacchus) is in charge of in-house brewing, and is offering a core range of sessional beers (lager, pale ale, apple cider) as well as showing off his creativity with some more experimental drops (coffee IPA). Behind the grill Matt Fosker (The Story Bridge Hotel) has worked with Ryan Squires (Esquire) to create a menu of simple combinations and quality ingredients.
Burgers are priced below the $15 mark, and feature combinations such as a Classic Cheeseburger (cheddar, ketchup, mustard, onion and pickle) or the Pork Burger (smoked pulled pork, slaw, mint, coriander). Frites are available in plain or loaded (cheese sauce, onion, candied bacon, fritzensauce, twisties salt), with customers able to choose from a wide selection of fritzensalts for seasoning – offerings vary from roast chicken to Vegemite and beetroot.
For dessert, save room for an Ice Cream Burger (milk bun, chocolate ice-cream pattie, strawberries, raspberry “ketchup”, fondant “lettuce” and custard “mustard”).
The next few months will see a function space, late-night bar and a beer garden created in the adjoining tenancy on Petrie Terrace.
52 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
Mon to Tue 12pm–12am
Wed to Sun 12pm–3am