No one’s going to find Jake Chalmers by accident. The new burger shop is hidden in a back alley, next to Blackwood Pantry. It doesn’t seem to matter, though; word has spread about its American fast-food-style burgers. “We love that American style, that comfort food,” says co-owner Anthony Gentile who’s joined in the business by ex-Nun’s Pool chef, Toby King. “It’s that soft, sloppier style of burger,” says King.

The duo lists Mary’s and Betty’s Burgers in Noosa as inspiration. The classic range uses Asian-bakery milk stuffed with American cheese and meat patties. “We came up with the recipe and got our butcher to make it. It’s 85 to 15 [meat-to-fat ratio], enough fat for moisture, otherwise you get a lot of shrinkage,” says Gentile.

For non-classic burgers there’s a fried-chicken patty with black-garlic aioli; pork belly with crackling and slaw; a Maine-style lobster roll; and a caramel-soft-serve burger that is a ridiculously messy experience. “We’re excited about the soft serve,” says Gentile. Jake Chalmers also sells a mini soft-serve cone for 50c. “Wrap it in tissue paper, give it to a kid. Beautiful."

To drink there’s Young Henrys tinnies and classic milkshakes. Nothing’s got more than a handful of ingredients and nothing’s particularly experimental, either. It’s all very honest, simple food. “We're not trying to do doughnuts in our milkshakes. It's just chocolate, caramel, strawberry and vanilla,” says Gentile. The restaurant is also simple. Gentile has done all of the largely white, sun-facing fit-out himself. “We just wanted clean lines, something simple. Not ageless, but it’s not a trend or fad that will look like every other cafe in a year’s time.”

Jake Chalmers
33 Surf Lane, Cronulla

Mon to Sun 11am–10.30pm

Jake Chalmers.