Perth's burger market appears to be reaching saturation point. Short Order, Meet & Bun, RoyAl’s and now Hoodburger lead the charge, and the – admittedly disappointing – entry of Huxtaburger and imminent arrival of Betty's and Royal Stacks threatens pressure from the east. But bar supremo Andy Freeman shows no fear, entering the fray with Big Bopper, a 122-seat venue in the shell of fine diner 1907.
Big Bopper has a simple premise: burgers and shakes. When establishing the brand, the team sampled the top burgers in town, and considered collaborating with existing players.
“When we bought the bar downstairs and changed it into Caballitos the restaurant came with it,” explains Lachlan Howarth, general manager of Freeman’s parent group Sneakers & Jeans. “We talked to a few guys around town who were in the burger game because we’re just bartenders by trade. It got to the stage where the people that we spoke to weren’t ready, so we thought, ‘Bugger it, we’ll just do it ourselves’.”
Big Bopper’s menu keeps things simple with grass-fed Dandaragan beef the star of the show. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, with chicken likely to make an appearance in the future.
“The menu is tight and compact. For us, produce is king and we want the beef to shine through,” says Howarth. “The Big Bopper is our most popular burger. Two patties, pickles, salads, all the bits and pieces. But it’s not overloaded where you lose the flavour of the beef.”
Executive chef Danny Sanchez has created a “Fire in the Hole” hot sauce for those who like their burgers with a chilli kick. Ask for the black-label version if you’re feeling brave.
The drinks menu features a range of boozy shakes and classic cocktails.
“We spent a bit of time making them, tasting them, testing them,” says Howarth. “Things like a Grasshopper and a Jam Doughnut might be a little bit cheesy, but they’re classic cocktails, so we’ve just turned them into a milkshake version.”
Beer is available on tap, but those who need to go back to work can order with the rest of afternoon in mind.
“We can do the shakes with no booze and we’re doing pony sizes of beer,” says Howarth. “We’re conscious that people don’t always want a super-boozy lunch. They just want a burger, a beer, to listen to some rock’n’roll and go back to the office.”
Corporates and groups can take advantage of Big Bopper’s "Meating Room", a 22-seat private dining space featuring a 75-inch TV and Foxtel.
“You can watch any sport, you can watch The Bachelor finale if that’s your thing,” says Howarth. “We’ll bring in platters of burgers and fries, milkshakes, jugs of beer and cocktails. That’s definitely a point of difference behind our burger game.”
Ground floor, 26 Queen Street, Perth
Mon to Thu 12pm–3pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on August 22, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.