Local Bigger Burger, a brand name that screams concept and aspirations for major growth, is anything but a bland franchise, food and drink veteran and entrepreneur Nate Rey tells CHS.
The Green Lake-born burger joint has expanded onto Capitol Hill with a quiet takeover of the former Blue Moon Burgers location on Broadway. The change happened quickly enough that Rey says you can still order from the Blue Moon menu for a little while. But, soon enough, the kitchen will be switched over to the flame broiled style of LBB.
“We’re not just any fast-casual restaurant,” Local Bigger Burger boasts. “We’re giving our neighborhood a first-rate dining experience the same way that fine ingredients give food first-rate taste!”
Rey said the opportunity to so quickly expand into a neighborhood like Capitol Hill has been humbling and grew out of a quick decision on an opportunity that emerged to buy out the Blue Moon location in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Rey said he and his business partner don’t have the creation of a franchise concept as a goal but, instead, want Local Bigger Burger to be dedicated to providing the best burgers and hot dogs at a small scale around Seattle.
Though the new owners have already taken over, the Blue Moon signs and look and feel of the joint will remain in place on Broadway for the time being due to slowdowns with city permitting during the ongoing restrictions.
The first Green Lake location opened only months ago with franchise roots that provided a similar model for the Broadway opening. The East Green Lake Way burger joint was originally part of a franchise with locations in Washington, Hawaii, Japan… and Iowa before the partners took it over.
Blue Moon, meanwhile, arrived on Capitol Hill in 2011 joining a wave of “fast casual” concepts Mod Pizza, Qdoba and Saizen Sushi as food neighbors in the Joule mixed-use development. By 2013, CHS reported on the Qdoba’s closure and the challenges “limited service” restaurant chains faced on Capitol HIll. The building’s commercial tenants have mostly settled in a decade later with a mix that sounds like a pretty good description of Broadway circa 2021 — an Umpqua Bank, an Eat Local prepared meals market, a yoga and fitness businesses, a Menchie’s frozen treat franchise, medical and health services in the form of a Zoom Care and a Gentle Dental, and the Capitol Hill Than Brothers keeping it real. There’s also a vacant commercial berth or two for good measure.
Seattle-based Blue Moon, meanwhile, managed to remain part of Broadway though owner Charlie Olson faced controversy in 2017 over a racist text message exchange.
Rey says Olson’s decision to finally exit Capitol Hill was an opportunity Local Bigger Burger couldn’t pass up.
Local Bigger Burger is located at offering takeout and delivery at 523 Broadway E. You can learn more at localbiggerburger.com.
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