Six years ago, when Atlanta real estate attorney and developer Alex Brounstein first opened his retro burger bar concept inside the historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market , it was a surprise that quickly became a sensation.
Now, Grindhouse Killer Burgers is a fixture on the Atlanta dining scene, with a location on Piedmont Avenue, two franchise locations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and another location in Athens.
There’s also a location in the works in the former Bar One space on Memorial Drive that’s set to open in summer 2017. But the recent opening of the newest Grindhouse in Decatur has been both the biggest dream and the biggest challenge for Brounstein, so far.
Housed in a newly constructed building on North McDonough Street, the two-story restaurant took two years to complete. It includes a walk-up order counter and a 100 seat dining room downstairs, with a full bar, and family and dog-friendly patio seating.
The rooftop patio, for customers 21 and up, features a wraparound bar, seating areas for 150, and seven TV’s screening sports and cult movies. And there are twenty-five parking spaces on-site, a real rarity for Decatur.
“I looked for a good space in Decatur for years, but I just couldn’t find anything,” Brounstein said in a recent interview. “Everything was too small or just not configured right. We finally gave up and went to Athens a couple of years ago, but then this space suddenly appeared.
“It was a bit of a challenge because it was just a parking lot and we had to do all the site development and we had to put in all the utilities. It was a year of planning and permitting and a year of construction. But in the end, it was worth it. Decatur is a perfect market for us, especially with the patios and the rooftop bar.”
Making the rooftop bar 21-and-up was perhaps an audacious move in family-friendly Decatur. But Brounstein said that so far the idea has been greeted with near universal approval.
“I would say that people have been thrilled with it, including parents,” he said. “Every restaurant in Decatur is full of kids. But it’s been funny to see how it’s played out. Parents want to have a night out without kids. And we even get groups of families with teenagers who leave them downstairs and say, ‘See you in an hour or two.’ The kids love that.”
One thing that’s exactly the same at all Grindhouse locations is the burger. It’s available with fresh ground beef or turkey or veggie, in a single quarter-pound or a double half-pound size that can be loaded with an assortment of toppings, some free and some that cost extra.
And if you can’t decide, there are eight “style” combos, including the signature Grindhouse Style with lettuce, grilled onions, pickles, American cheese and special Grindhouse sauce.
“We have a lot more beer in Decatur,” Brounstein said. “That’s because it Decatur, so we have a cool beer list with 16 beers on tap and a lot of pretty unique stuff. But people are coming here for the burger. That’s what we do.”
433 North McDonough Street, Decatur. 404-400-0509, grindhouseburgers.com .
More images from a First Look at Grindhouse Killer Burgers Decatur.