Joshua DeLuca, Timothy Rosenstrauss and Richard Borg opened the newest Burger Head restaurants in Blacktown and Casula within 10 weeks of each other. Unsurprisingly, the co-founders of the cult-favourite Western Sydney burger group are exhausted.
“It wasn’t our intention to open so close together, but there were delays and it had to be that way,” DeLuca tells Broadsheet. “Normally we take the food truck off the road and open with a team of half existing and half new staff, but with staff shortages, we had to go with a completely new team. It was very stressful, but we got through and we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The new venues offer the same exceptional burgers served at the original Penrith restaurant, a newer Botany eatery and Burger Head’s food truck. The quality is in part thanks to the founders’ origins as fine-dining chefs. Between them they have experience at Momofuku Seiobo, Master, Ormeggio, Quay and Michelin-starred Mathias Dahlgren in Sweden.
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Other than the milk buns, everything is made in-house. Minced brisket with an 80/20 ratio of meat to fat is spiced and formed into generous patties that are flattened onto the grill to allow for maximum surface area caramelisation. They’re cooked to pink in the centre and topped with melted American cheese, a tart secret sauce and house-made pickles.
The menu is succinct, with three beef burgers, two fried-chicken burgers, and one vegetarian burger, the Mike Tyson. For the latter, rather than the whole-mushroom patties you might find elsewhere, enoki mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms are combined and shredded to a pulled-pork consistency and topped with crisp kale and cabbage slaw.
“The specials sell really well. We take inspiration from pop culture, and it’s always cool to take something from the fine-dining world and translate it to something that works in a burger. For one special we added pickled watermelon, in another we paired crab butter with fried chicken,” says DeLuca.
The current special is inspired by rapper Jack Harlow’s collaboration with KFC in America – a spicy chicken sandwich, mac’n’cheese and “secret recipe” fries. Burger Head’s version of the burger has extra cayenne added to its 16-spice fried chicken, which is topped with sriracha mayonnaise and served with two sides: seasoned chips and mac’n’cheese.
Since 2020, whether the pandemic hurt business or made it boom, (Burger Head fell into the latter category) the stress got to everyone – lockdowns, no customers or too many customers, staffing issues that persist even now, and over the summer, rain and floods. It’s remarkable that DeLuca, Rosenstrauss and Borg have stuck to their plan for rolling out new locations.
“It’s stupidity,” DeLuca says, laughing. “It goes back to our original plan. We really believe in our burgers and we want to get them into more people’s mouths. Our goal is to get to 100 stores eventually.”
Burger Head Blacktown
Shop /1 Muru Way, Blacktown
Wed to Thu, Sun 12pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–8pm
Fri & Sat 12pm-2.30pm, 5.30pm–8.30pm
Mon to Thu, Sun 12pm–8pm
Fri to Sat 12pm–8.30pm