A new pop-up burger "club" housed in one of the West End's best restaurant locations is an homage to a classic American staple.
Pigot's Burger Club—which opened for takeout only (pick-up or delivery) on May 5 in a "borrowed storefront" at the former Boathouse location at English Bay—sells just one thing: cheeseburgers.
It shares the premises at 1795 Beach Avenue with Vancouver's second Craft Beer Market location, which opened there in late March after renovations and is the principal tenant.
Calgary chef Mike Pigot—named best chef in that city's 2020 Best of Calgary awards, according to a news release, and a past winner of the Food Network's Guy's Grocery Games—experimented in his apartment with burger recipes (incorporating "Pigot's Secret Sauce"and his custom spice blend) before borrowing commercial kitchen space from a friend and launching a pop-up.
“The burger is a culmination of my travels to the U.S. and my love for a classic American cheeseburger,” Pigot said in that release. “I played around with recipe for months, if not years, to get the right balance of flavours.”
Speaking by phone to the Straight on May 14, Pigot's enthusiasm for his latest venture comes through all the way from Cowtown. "We launched it in Calgary early this year [in February]," Pigot enthused. "It was amazing."
After selling hundreds of burgers every day, Pigot launched a second Pigot's Burger Club in Toronto in mid-April with well-known local chef Jerome Robinson.
Another success in Hogtown led Pigot to expand once more, this time to the West Coast. The Lotusland model is run "in collaboration" with local chef Alex Chen, the executive chef for Signature Restaurants and an Iron Chef Canada winner. And Pigot could not be happier with how Vancouver has greeted his specialty cheeseburgers.
"We sold out two of the days we've been open, and we prep 500 to 700 burgers a day," he told the Straight.
Customers can order ahead for delivery (UberEats, DoorDash, or Skip the Dishes) or arrange pick-up through the website. Hungry West Enders or anyone else can drive or stroll on down to English Bay to scoop up their 'Merican-cheese-covered patties with brown-sugar onions on butter-toasted potato rolls, along with a handful of specialty sides.
(It is worth noting that Pigot's " 'Merican" cheese isn't the bright-orange processed cheese food synonymous with U.S. greasy-spoon cheeseburgers and grilled-cheese sandwiches of legend but a "curated American cheddar".)
Pigot said he especially likes looking outside the pop-up and seeing "35 or 40 people lined up or waiting" for their orders. "It's an astounding response from the city," he said.
Those who love their burgers messily loaded will be right at home with Pigot's creations, which he had no problem being referred to as "sloppy" by a hungry interviewer. "There's lots of cheese—it's a messy, delicious guilty pleasure, for sure!"
The pop-up's specialty patties—certified organic, medication-free, and grass-fed, from Beretta Farms—are featured in three beasts: a cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger, and a mushroom cheeseburger (with that classic simple version available in single-, double-, or triple-patty sizes).
There is also a "Non Meat a Tarian" plant-based version made with Impossible Burger patties, for those so inclined (except for the bacon version), and they can be stacked as well.
Partner chef Chen will also be formulating a special burger of his own, Pigot said, a double-patty design that utilizes "bacon aioli and white cheddar".
Asked which burger is the most popular with Vancouverites, Pigot gave the nod to the basic model: "We do quite a few cheeseburgers," he said, adding, "My go-to is the double cheeseburger."
Sides include a kale Caesar, fries, "Tots", and "Dirty Tots", which come with Pigot's secret sauce, jalapenos, tomato, that ubiquitous 'Merican cheese sauce, and brown-sugar onions.
To order, or to just check out photos and a menu, go here.
And maybe wear a bib, regardless.More