Burger Bach, a small chain with two locations in Richmond, VA, has opened its third on Ninth Street in Durham. The restaurant joins a rapidly expanding lineup of burger joints in the Triangle, but there’s little chance of this one getting lost in the crowd.
There’s that quirky name, for starters, which has nothing to do with classical music. Turns out a bach (pronounced “batch”) is a New Zealander term for a seaside holiday home. “It could be a tiny shack or a million dollar mansion,” according to managing director James Foley, as long as it’s a place where you can escape the routine and relax. At Burger Bach, the laid-back mood sets the stage for what the owners describe as a New Zealand-inspired gastropub.
The kitchen backs up the “gastro” part with a strong emphasis on freshness and scratch cooking. There’s no freezer on the premises, and even the mayo is house-made.
Burgers are made with grass-fed beef that’s humanely raised and slaughtered (certified Halal) in New Zealand. The meat, which is never frozen, is delivered to the restaurant’s kitchen, where it’s ground and hand-patted daily and served on locally baked buns with a variety of topping options ranging from Basic (organic ketchup, dill pickle, diced onions, organic yellow mustard) to Wellington (New Zealand blue cheese, HP sauce, brown gravy, caramelized onions, sautéed wild mushrooms, garlic aioli). The menu also offers a selection of lamb burgers (New Zealand lamb, naturally) and free range chicken burgers.
Starting at 4 p.m., the offering expands to include seafood. In addition to sautéed shrimp (with your choice of four sauces), steamed mussels and roasted oysters, a raw bar selection includes at least three and as many as eight oyster varieties.
As for the “pub” part: 30 beers on tap (including 20 local brews), a “Southern Hemisphere” selection of 56 wines from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, and a cocktail offering that covers the spectrum from pre-Prohibition classics to seasonal specialties such as the Kiwi (Tito’s vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh kiwi, lemon juice and simple syrup).