Greg Pappas has been flipping burgers so long, he does it in his sleep. “I started when I was 12, and I’ve been flipping burgers since then,” he says. “After a smashing busy night, you go to sleep, and there are people ordering in your dreams.”
But the grill at Andrew’s Burgers has been firing even longer than Pappas has, opening way back in 1939. And now, there’s finally a second outlet for the Albert Park institution, with a new store opening around the corner from the Queen Victoria Market. “We just woke up one day and thought we’ll give it a go,” says Pappas.
With a larger space and a new kitchen, Pappas has room for booths, new neon and a custom-made cast-iron grill. “It’s a three-quarter-inch, cast-iron plate,” he explains. “Because it’s a pouring metal, it gets even better as time goes by. It keeps the heat very consistently.”
The menu, though, hasn’t changed a bit. The Andrew’s Burger, with egg, bacon, cheese, grilled tomato, cooked onions, lettuce and sauce, still forms the cornerstone. There’s still the Sanchez (with hot sauce and jalapeno), and the Five-O (pineapple and beetroot). And the buns are decidedly not brioche.
“Our butchers, we’ve been with for many, many years. Our rolls, we’ve been with that baker for over 50 years. It’s just an old-fashioned, white, toasted bun, which is needed because it holds the ingredients together,” says Pappas. “When brioche was big a couple of years ago, people would always ask whether we’re going to change our buns. I said I didn’t think so; that’s why we’ve been around for 77 years.”
Pappas is committed to serving what’s become an unfashionable burger – big, savoury and with enough ingredients to drop all over your shirt. “The biggest difference is the size of the patties – ours seem to be a lot bigger, they’re about 170 grams.”
After the liquor license comes through, there’ll be D.O.C wines on tap and canned beer. And, if all goes well, there’ll be more Andrew’s outlets opening in neighbouring suburbs soon.
“The funny thing is that 50 years ago, burger stores like ours were the norm – that Greek-family, fish-and-chip-style burger,” Andrews says. “But now, we’re a rarity.”
155 Franklin Street, Melbourne
(03) 9328 2825