Nolan Ramage and Eyal Talmor knew it. But when they spotted a derelict fish-and-chip shop in the back streets of Abbotsford, they couldn’t help themselves. “It just had burgers written all over it,” Ramage says.
Skipping Girl Take Away is a nice fit for the old-timey corner site. Its burgers, triple-cooked chips (not fries) and vibe have more in common with Andrew’s (established in 1939) than any of the city’s newer burger outlets.
“We wanted to offer a classic,” Ramage says. “We didn’t want to spend too much time on décor and marketing.”
That shows, but it’s no big deal. The place has a certain DIY charm and you won’t be here for long anyway. There are only a few small tables and a liquor licence is still several months off.
They put the effort in where it counts, sourcing Wagyu from Largo Butchers in Fitzroy and honest-to-God brioche from Phillippa’s. The buns are pillowy and sweet without that cloying, fall-apart character other brioche can have.
Besides the classic beef, there are fish, chicken and veggie patties. Current specials include smoked mac’n’cheese, gooey poutine and a pulled-pork burger. Where Skipping Girl innovates – if you can call it that – is with the finishes.
There’s a 60-strong wall of condiments to choose from, including Melbourne Hot Sauce’s full range; a good chunk of Beerenberg’s condiments; and house-made salts and infused oils. “Quite often people spend 10 minutes looking and then just go for the old tomato sauce, which is fine,” Ramage says.
The only concessions to 2016 are the Facebook and Instagram stickers on the front window, and a branding iron that keeps those feeds ticking over. You see, every one of Skipping Girl’s buns is seared with her caramelised likeness.
“We reckon when we sell a million burgers we’re all going to get one [a brand] on our arse cheek or our neck,” Ramage says.
You heard the man, Melbourne. Get eating.
Skipping Girl Take Away
70 William Street, Abbotsford
0474 837 612
Tue to Sat 10am to 9pm