‘We won’t be participating’: Not all burger joints sizzle with Indy Burger Week excitement

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INDIANAPOLIS — Monday marked the start of Indy Burger Week with several burger joints, bars and restaurants putting their best bun forward for only $6. 

Some busy restaurants are eager for the opportunity to showcase their sesames, while others say they’re still too pickled by the pandemic to present their best for such a low price. That’s exactly why some burger bars say they’re still too busy playing ketchup to partake. 

“We won’t be participating,” said Maddy Dickerson, marketing director of Patachou Inc. “The entire lifecycle and chain of how a restaurant operates is being disrespected by the willingness to capitalize on an industry that has been through dire straits as of late.”

17 area restaurants are participating in Indy Burger Week, which runs until June 27. The world of burger week promotions and deals ends however at Apocalypse Burger near the corner of E. 49th Street and N. Meridian Street in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood.

“The idea, I guess, in protest of participating in Indy Burger Week is that we need to stop devaluing food and the people who grow it, produce it, serve it,” Dickerson said. “Our prices in our food reflect a dedication to sourcing and paying for high quality products and our commitment to paying our people a livable wage.”

After being hit especially hard by the pandemic, several restaurants, like Apocalypse Burger, will not participate. They argue the cost of entry and expectations simply aren’t worth the exposure.

“I think it’s a difficult ask for restaurant owners and operators to participate with a $5 or $6 burger or menu item and then on top of that asking for a fee,” Dickerson said. “I don’t want to speak to the intentions of the organizers of this event. I know that they probably want to not only drive revenue but drive exposure for people that want to participate, and if this is something that they’re interested in participating in, by all means.

“Like I said, I don’t think that the operators of Indy Burger Week are malicious and predatory, it’s just not something that works for our business model.”

But for 317 Burger near the intersection of E. Westfield Boulevard and Winthrop Avenue in Broad Ripple, the expense was worth it. 

“Based on how the six hours we’ve been open already today have gone, it’s gonna be more than worth it,” said 317 Burger manager Miranda Terhune. “The $6 selling point hurts a little bit, but in the end, we’re hoping, as always, that it’ll benefit us more in the future.”

They’re offering their “All American Burger” at 317. It’s a toasted bun topped with a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and anything else you’d like with a side of house cut fries — all for $6.

“It’s an amazing deal when you think about it,” Terhune said. “We just ask that you please remember to tip your servers. They depend on that money, even if we are running promotions or having deals. Just be kind but know we are so happy to have you here.”

For a full list of restaurants participating and each burger they’re featuring, check out Indy Burger Week’s website

Be prepared for longer than usual wait times due to short staffing from the pandemic and for certain items to eventually run out due to high demand and short supply. 

“Already today I’ve had so many tables that have been here for the first time, and I was like day one, Monday of Burger Week! Okay, cool, keep em coming,” Terhune said. “We like to think of ourselves as the neighborhood burger place, so this was one of those opportunities that have come up during COVID that we didn’t want to shy away from.

“You always want the opportunity to get your name out there more and more. Yes we are short staffed, but it’s getting better.”

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