Taking their first bite into the patty-flipping business, SliCE pizzeria owners and alumni Marlo Dilks and her husband, Jason, will soon open an all-natural burger restaurant on Passyunk Avenue near Moore Street on Feb. 13.
Playfully named for the foodie neighborhood it occupies, P’unk Burger will feature an assortment of club sodas and milkshakes in addition to its veggie, gluten-free and gourmet, grass-fed beef burgers.
Aiming for an atmosphere far from the typical burger hub, P’unk will take a more health-conscious approach to its menu. All ingredients – even the milkshakes – will be organic and locally sourced. Grass-fed beef for the patties will be brought in courtesy of 1732 Meats, while an unconventional selection of cane sugar-based fountain sodas will be available thanks to the Portland, Maine based company Maine Root.
Nineteen years into the restaurant business, Dilks plans to carry over the same single-food specialization that has allowed SliCE to flourish in its three different locations.
“I live by, ‘Do one thing and do it well,’” Dilks said. “When it comes to the quality of the products that you use, you have to give it your all, and I feel like people can tell the difference.”
For Dilks, the layout and design of the restaurant plays just as important a role in the dining experience as the food itself.
“You’re buying a burger, but it’s the whole entire experience,” she said. “You want to sit in a place that represents the burger that’s coming out of the kitchen. If the burger’s going to be fresher, cleaner, better, the place has to be fresher, cleaner, better.”
Formerly home to the Chhaya Cafe, the quaint interior of the eatery reflects its organic theme. Working to avoid the dark or greasy feel that is often associated with fast food locations, lime green and white striped walls give the space a feeling of upbeat freshness. A vintage BurgerTime arcade machine beckons customers young and old to enjoy some light entertainment while waiting for their order.
The stools, tables and other home-feeling furniture at P’unk are the finely polished woodwork of local artisan Joe Konrad. Sharing an organic lifestyle similar to Dilks, Konrad was also responsible for building the community table that offers a close-knit feeling to the venue.
For the project, Konrad brought together his natural lifestyle and woodcraft expertise to create décor that matches the green theme of the restaurant.
“We started with some ideas and general concepts based on our materials, and as the project evolved and the whole thing started appearing in the space, we modified from our original designs and really customized it in an organic sense,” Konrad said.
Keeping in line with the venue’s all-inclusive nature, the pricing at P’unk will fall between the boundaries of fast food and gourmet dining, as well as BYOB. Customers can expect to pay around $7-11 for a burger.
In an attempt to satisfy customers as often as possible, P’unk Burger will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday nights until 3 a.m.
The venue will offer daily lunch promotions as well as a rewards program for regulars. Although the details are currently under tight wraps until the grand opening, P’unk will also be running a promotional event where customers can win free burgers for a year. Service options include pick up, take out, delivery and sit-ins.
When the grills are lit and the doors are finally open, Dilks is hopeful that P’unk can offer a burger that appeals to all types of crowds.
“My goal with this burger place is to have a burger that anybody would eat – the vegetarian, the vegan, the gluten-free, the person that doesn’t like meat – a burger for everybody,” Dilks said.
Eamon Dreisbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org