The foodie revolution over the past few decades may have brought us a few unfortunate bleached blond personalities, but at least one good thing has come from it: restaurants all over the cost spectrum are having to up their game to appeal to a new generation of diners who know their gochugaru from their gochujang.
The effect has arguably been most sharply felt in the casual sector. Foot traffic in Austin is down for the kinds of eateries that traditionally anchor shopping centers, and big names like Chili’s Applebee’s, and Ruby Tuesday are struggling to fill seats. Meanwhile, chain restaurants that borrow the careful sourcing and contemporary design of locally owned upscale eateries have been rushing to take their place.
The trend has now trickled down to Austin’s fast-casual sector. And it is especially prevalent in the burger biz where national chains like BurgerFi, Shake Shack, and hometown hero Hopdoddy Burger Bar have been able to take hold where older concepts like Red Robin have not. That market is now even attracting international attention with the February 1 announcement that Burgerim, an Israeli slider franchise, will be setting up shop in Rainey Street’s SkyHouse building by the end of the year.
The restaurant specializes in sliders with a Middle Eastern twist. The name translates to “many burgers” in Hebrew, an apt description for the offerings that come in packs of one, two, three, or 16. The sliders are fully customizable with classic, whole wheat, and gluten-free buns; patties made from Wagyu beef, merguez, lamb, salmon, falafel, and more; and toppings like several varieties of cheese, bacon, avocado, and fried egg.
The chain also has chicken and ribeye sandwiches, fresh salads, an assortment of fries, and simple desserts like New York cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake, and a Rice Krispies Treats-style Marshmallow Dream bar. The Austin location will also carry beer, Coca-Cola soft drinks, iced tea, and shakes.
Located in the same building as local favorites Royal Blue Grocery, Salvation Pizza, and Emmer & Rye, both takeout and delivery will be available at the 51 Rainey St. shop.