When Wallyburger opens tomorrow at 1719 N 45th St., owner and Wallingford resident Gary Reynolds hopes it’ll fill a neighborhood niche: a sit-down restaurant with gourmet-style hamburgers for less than $10, alcohol, and a country-western vibe.
“We saw an opportunity and needed something” other than classic burger joints Dick’s Drive-In or Kidd Valley, Reynolds said. “I felt like burger places are either ‘50s-style diners, slick and space age artsy spots, or rustic. I liked the down-home country feel.” Reynolds, who also runs Electrokitty Recording Studio, has experience nailing a retro vibe, as his vinyl-centric Revolver bar on Capitol Hill nods convincingly to the 1960s.
There are no batwing doors, but otherwise Wallyburger captures the look of a Texas saloon. It’s kitschy, but not over the top, with John Wayne posters on the wall and Johnny Cash tunes warbling. Reynolds is still nailing down the music selection, and groaned when “Convoy” came on — that one has to go, he said. About 30 diners can sit at tables and booths in the counter-service restaurant.
As far as burgers, Reynolds is determined not to let his get too tall or unwieldy, since he hates the kind that are too big to bite. “My tagline is kind of ‘Burgers that fit in your mouth,’” he said. Quarter-pound patties made with grass-fed Gebbers beef from Brewster, Washington, are topped with chili and cheese (the Chili Nelson) or pickled jalapenos, pepper jack, avocado, and Helldorado sauce (the Wabash Cannonball), which Reynolds hopes walks the line between simple and outrageous. “We’re using super high-quality ingredients for an affordable price, but even the specialty burgers are just burgers, not trying to reinvent the wheel.”
The hamburgers are joined by fried cod, fried chicken, and vegan-patty sandwiches, fries with toppings available, and onion rings. Shakes or floats are made with Full Tilt ice cream, and three draft beers (currently Georgetown’s Lucille IPA and Roger’s Pilsner plus Fremont’s pale ale), a few bottles and cans, and red or white wine are also available. See the full menu below.
Wallyburger opens Saturday, June 24 and its hours are Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.