Published on December 29th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard0
Hot and Easy Like Our Coast Style
You’d think Andrew and Cheryl Powell had enough on their plate running the busy Fratellini Italian Restaurant, in Duke St, Sunshine Beach, what with their ‘open every day of the week until very late’ policy.
But this entrepreneurial couple couldn’t go past the opportunity for another venture when the space down the road, that was once Squid Ink, became available.
Upstairs on the deck in Duke St, they knew the spot would be perfect for an unpretentious eatery – like a hamburger joint. So began Dukes Burgers.
Opened last month, it follows a philosophy of ‘we’re not fast food, we’re fine food, fast.’
“Sunshine Beach has good dining but we believe it needed a more affordable place where young people or families could hang out,” Andrew Powell said.
“We thought we’d offer a cheaper but good alternative, with an emphasis on quality food at a reasonable price.”
Dukes Burgers’ menu is succinct and simple: five burgers, fried chicken, two salads, fries. That’s it.
The approach is simple too. Order your burgers at the counter, take a seat on a hessian covered milk crate at one of the low pallet tables and when your food is brought to you, help yourself to condiments – ketchup, mustard, chicken salt, barbecue sauce, chilli flakes.
The main attraction is, of course, the beef burger. Wagyu, it comes with cherry tomato relish, caramelised onion and old English cheese.
It’s not the prettiest of food, and a big one to tackle.
You might need to deconstruct it, unless you don’t mind bits of burger in your eyebrows.
We liked the pulled pork shoulder burger, lots of juicy meat with a Louisiana style barbecue sauce, and an apple slaw and pickled cucumber for crunch.
There’s a battered snapper burger with smashed peas and cornichons, and a falafel veggie burger with tabouleh, hummus, roast potato and tomato.
None of the burgers would win a foodpresentation competition, but they are big and hearty and know their place in the order of things.
The fries are decidedly American style and all the buns are gluten free.
The fried chicken (also not glam) is Mr Powell’s favourite. He obviously developed a love for this American fast-food speciality during his travels.
It’s marinated in garlic, chilli and toasted spices and you can have half a bird or, if you are up to it, a whole chicken.
The salads keep things simple with a roast pumpkin and quinoa version, backed by a shredded chicken and roast potato salad, and a simple green salad.
Everything comes to you in no nonsense biodegradable cartons and cups, continuing the theme of simplicity right across the board.
Dukes Burgers comes to life only in the evenings once the surrounding day time traders have closed shop.
Staff wheel out the pallet tables and sofas creating a pop-up Sunshine Beach version of an unassuming US-style burger bar.
“We had the pallet tables and planter boxes made by Pallet Life in Maleny,” Mr Powell said. “Everything is on industrial wheels to be brought out to transform the deck space.
The Powells have inveigled their Fratellini chef Jared Jannides to oversee both eating places.
Raised on a farm in the Mary Valley, Mr Jannides is used to pulling vegetables and herbs from the ground, but he also has some heavy experience working at Stokehouse in Melbourne and the George Colambaris’ Press Club.
A BYO licence and a bottle shop downstairs that offers Duke’s customers a 10% discount, adds to the inexpensive nature of it all.
Craft beers and soft drinks are on the menu.
Open 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday,
Shop 4/46 Duke St, Sunshine Beach.