There's one more place in downtown Athens to grab a burger and some fries.
Burgerim, a national burger chain, is finally open for service on East Broad Street. Although renovations started in June of 2018, opening was delayed because of issues with permits and loans. Construction resumed around October of last year, and now Athens joins Atlanta and Stockbridge as cities with Burgerim locations.
The restaurant had a soft opening on Feb. 27 with a few hours of service to accommodate the staff as they practice with real customers. The next day it held a full day of service from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Burgerim will continue to operate at those hours until it holds its grand opening, which has not yet been announced.
Operating owner Brian Locklear anticipates waiting about three to four weeks to hold an official grand opening. Although the restaurant has not advertised much, customers are trailing in to get a taste of the food.
The name Burgerim stands for “many burgers”, according to the Burgerim Burger News. What makes it different is its combinations and choices of burgers. The eatery offers a combination of two to three burgers that can be made with different meats, such as chicken or wagyu beef, and different style toppings.
Brian Locklear’s favorite combination is Spanish beef and lamb, both "caliente" style. The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options such as falafels.
“It hasn’t been super busy … but it’s actually going really smooth,” Brian Locklear said. “I’m excited now that I see for a full day how smooth it’s been.”
Brian Locklear and his wife, Yazmin Locklear, partnered with Sonic Drive-In for about 24 years until they wanted to start something on their own. Burgerim caught his eye.
“I love the concept of it, it’s a lot different from going to your Burger King or McDonald's and getting your one type of flavor patty,” Brian Locklear said. “It's real good food. I stand behind the food.”
Despite living in Grovetown in the Augusta metropolitan area, Locklear brought the unique burger chain to Athens. Downtown is prospective with its food scene and college students.
“So compared to a lot of our other locations, it’s fantastic. Just the amount of foot traffic, amount of parking around here … It’s got all the ingredients to be successful,” Daniel Erde, the corporate franchise business consultant, said.
Besides the food, the Locklears offer an interactive space which caters to the locals. The space has a bar and social media board for customers to see recent hashtags or pictures posted on social media.
“What I like about what we did, [is that this] is a bigger place, new place [while the] majority of [other restaurants], they have like a small location and really old location,” Yazmin Locklear said. “We tried to bring more new stuff for college kids.”