Heard on the Hill

Eastern Market can haz ‘Eat Brgz’

Concept burger shop stretches boundaries with custom menu

Eat Brgz owner Brandon Gaynor discusses with Heard on the Hill his take on burgers and milkshakes. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Brandon Gaynor didn’t completely know the “how” behind opening a restaurant, but he had a good feeling about the “when.”

The launch of his Eastern Market burger shop during August recess “allowed us a little bit of a ramp-up period,” the former investment analyst-turned-restaurateur told me as we sat down in his new joint at 250 7th Street SE.

From customizable burgers to a twist on milkshakes, the founder and CEO of Eat Brgz says his menu is considerate of his health-conscious clientele, whose choices include “Brgz” made of dry-aged beef, antibiotic-free chicken or plant-based “impossible” meats.

The “Super Shakes” come packed with more than 20 grams of protein, and cauliflower buns provide an alternative for the low-carber.

No-low-carbers can feast their eyes — and mouths — on the garlic parmesan fries.

A "brg" sandwiched between two cauliflower buns and accompanied by a protein-filled "Super Shake" (Photo: CQ Roll Call / Kathryn Lyons)
A “Brgz” sandwiched between two cauliflower buns and accompanied by a protein-filled “Super Shake” (Photo: CQ Roll Call / Kathryn Lyons)

Gaynor’s patties are nonpartisan, but he knows his burgers are a stone’s throw from the epicenter of politics. He likes to think his menu, comprising diverse flavors from all over the world and country, reflects “who Congress is.” As for the Capitol Hill staffers looking for lunch options outside the halls of Congress, Gaynor says Eat Brgz is a good spot for them “to get out and just chill out for a minute.”

Gaynor’s approach to blending ingredients into his patties and serving them sans toppings hasn’t come without its share of public opinion, however.

While one Yelp review reads, “this place just doesn’t make any sense,” another likens his blended burgers to “weird alien meat.”

Other Yelpers, unaccustomed to this “reimagined” take on an American classic, plead for the option of topping their brgz with lettuce and tomatoes.

Although Gaynor says “every bad review cuts to the core,″ he has little beef with the flock of feedback he’s received over the past few weeks. “When a lot of customers tell us something, we’re gonna listen,” he says. Lettuce lovers rejoice! “We’ll give people lettuce,” he says.

While Gaynor is willing to, ahem, “meat” customers in the middle, he’s sticking to his buns on one thing. “We make a pretty darn good burger,” he boasts. He says he won’t be able to please everyone, but if he can please most people, “we’ll do all right.”

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