new opening

Sputnik: Burgers for America! (or at least the East Side)

Sputnik: Burgers for America! (or at least the East Side)

A few months ago marked the three year anniversary of one of East Austin’s favorite eateries, The Good Knight. Unfortunately, the anniversary also marked its closing. But time has come to wipe your tears away and embrace the newest endeavor from our favorite East Side moguls—The Good Knight is now Sputnik.

Open this week, Sputnik is serving burgers, hot dogs and chili dowsed goodness. The dark, old-man bar has become a dimly lit burger joint, carefully decorated with sexy lady paintings and serving up booze and shakes to diners in expansive dark wood booths.

The closing of The Good Knight was not an easy decision for the Stocktons, however. Donya bemoans, “It was never the concept that we wanted and was always kind of a problem child in a lot of ways. I thought, because of those things, that I'd be glad to see it go, but I really wasn't. It was really hard to lay off all those people and to have to admit failure, we were both a little stunned I think at how hard that was.”

Now, pushing through the pain of their loss, they have maintained a positive attitude towards the future and created the kind of place they wanted in the first place.

Donya explains, “Randall and I actually wanted that spot to be a burger place since the day we first walked in. It ended up getting steered in another direction, and we just went with that instead of following our first instinct.”

So now, after going with their gut, they have opened a down to earth bar and have intentions of expanding its menu to fried chicken and malts in the coming months.

As for the burgers—these aren't your typical frozen patties. The Stocktons are serious about their burgers, and chef Brandon Stratton collaborated with them to create a unique yet straightforward menu, using local ingredients and innovative flavor combinations. The Stocktons have "studied" for years, tasting one great burger after another, in an effort to formulate what would be their own approach the great American standard.

Donya insists, “Randall and I love burgers, and so you could say we've been doing research for years! We're very partial to the burger that Scotty Mescal makes at Austin Land and Cattle (he also designed the menu for Black Sheep Lodge). We did Casino and Jackalope, of course...we've also checked out the more ‘greasy spoon’ style places like Top Notch, Hillbert's and Sandy's. It's been fun.”

Sputnik opened its doors to the public this Monday and is already winning fans. Their menu is not yet finalized, but stop on by anytime between 3 p.m. and midnight, and you may be able to be a part of their process to find perfection.

It’s the same dark little hideaway, but this time they've brought a space to the East Side that isn’t just for the American Apparel elite. Reasonably priced with counter service and booths large enough for big eaters, Sputnik offers respite from the hyper-hipsterdom that has taken over the neighborhood. Who doesn’t like a good burger and strong drink?

Austin Photo Set: News_Leah Moss_Sputnik_September 2011_exterior
The Good Knight transformed into the new East Side favorite Sputnik! Photo by Leah Moss
Austin Photo Set: News_Leah Moss_Sputnik_September 2011_cooks
The owners and chef. Donya and Randall Stockton with Chef Brandon are ready to serve some hungry Americans and east siders.
Photo by Leah Moss
Austin Photo Set: News_Leah Moss_Sputnik_September 2011_seats
Big booths for big eaters. Photo by Leah Moss