Meet Patty in West Melbourne is just opposite the Queen Victoria Market, facing the city. Everything about the new location is smaller than the Mentone original – except for the signage.
Bright-red neon letters spelling out “burgers” take up almost the entire second-floor facade. The sign is underlined by a comically oversized, downwards-pointing arrow.
“There’s thousands of people looking onto us, which is any retailer’s dream,” co-owner Darren Moncrieff says, gesturing towards Elizabeth Street’s residential towers. “You can see all these buildings here and how clear it is. I thought, ‘Hopefully they’ll see this big neon sign’.”
It seems they have. Since opening in September, the new location has quickly established itself in the local community. (A third location is also open in Toorak Village.) On busy days the shop shares its seating with next-door neighbour Hello Jose. It’s also arranged to run burgers to nearby pubs without kitchens.
Moncrieff grew up on a cattle farm and owns Berties Butchers. His partner at Meet Patty is chef Andy Gale, the former owner of Duchess of Spotswood cafe.
“Between my butcher shops and Andy’s knowledge of meat, we’ve got it covered,” Moncrieff says. “We use a combination of brisket, chuck and rib, add nothing to it – no seasoning – just let the meat speak for itself.”
In addition to the classic cheeseburger, there are options such as the spicy Mother of Dragons and the Patty’s Signature, which is slathered with signature sauce. There are also grilled- and fried-chicken burgers, and the vegetarian Black Magic, which has a mozzarella, black-bean and sweet-potato patty. Every burger comes on a brioche bun by Baked For Sofia.
Sides include loaded fries, onion rings and sidewinders (a beer-battered, spiralised potato). There are also beers and a sizable range of milkshakes.
Although the menu from Mentone is unchanged, inner-city eaters have different preferences, Moncrieff says. “Because there are a lot of burgers in the city people are more adventurous. They order more sides and the bigger, greasier burgers are more popular.”
Apparently, city folk also eat more quickly. “They just come in, eat it and go, they’re not sitting down for a big Sunday lunch,” Moncrieff says.
That high turnaround lends itself well to the smaller space. The shop seats roughly 30, concentrated outside, and there are spots at the bar inside. The design by The Colour Club sets orange branding and white tiles against vintage black-and-white photos.
But for Moncrieff it all comes back to that big neon sign. “I’d love to get up in those buildings and see how clear it is, whether it can actually be seen from up there,” he says.
Any Elizabeth Street residents want to help him out?
Meet Patty West Melbourne
87 Peel Street, West Melbourne
(03) 9077 0900
Mon to Thu 12pm–3pm, 6pm–9pm
Fri 12pm–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm