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Burger & Beer Joint opens Sarasota restaurant in The Mall at University Town Center

Chillin’ and grillin’ Burger & Beer Joint joins craft brews, beef at Mall at University Town Center location

jodea@bradenton.comApril 7, 2015

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2015/04/07/5732946_burger-beer-joint-opens-sarasota.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

UNIVERSITY PARK — Players from Florida’s famous craft beer industry will pair with craft burger chain Burger & Beer Joint at The Mall at University Town Center.

The new restaurant is the fourth Burger & Beer location in Florida, with a fifth location in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A soft opening of the Sarasota restaurant will happen sometime this week.

“We always try to try to open quietly to work out the kinks,” said Bill Herman, director of brand development for Burger & Beer Joint.

The restaurant, located on the mall’s east side, will serve customers with a menu including two dozen draft beer and hard cider selections and more than 75 bottled beers.

The beer menu features several local breweries, including Big Top Brewing out of Sarasota, Darwin Brewing Company in Bradenton and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.

Motorworks Brewing, a Bradenton-based company, has its Cruiser Kolsch featured on the Burger & Beer Sarasota menu.

“It’s a pretty hot concept, putting craft beer with craft burgers, so it just seemed like a natural pairing,” said Barry Elwonger, Motorworks Brewing marketing director. Burger & Beer and Motorworks have worked together in some of the restaurant’s other locations, as well.

Burger & Beer offers unique burgers like the Paradise City, complete with Cajun-spiced shrimp and a tarragon remoulade. In addition to traditional beef burgers, the menu also includes turkey burgers, chicken burgers, Bison burgers and an exotic Ahi tuna burger.

The new Burger & Beer location brought 60 jobs to the area and almost all positions are filled, but Herman said they’re still looking for a few line cooks.

Burger & Beer Joint will host its grand opening at The Mall at UTC from 11:30 a.m. to midnight April 22.

Part of the opening includes a VIP event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., but it will close only a part of the restaurant. The general public is welcome to enjoy the grand opening all day, Herman said.

Local band Kettle of Fish will play from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Herman said they may extend the band’s playing time by an hour if the crowd is large enough. Radio station 107.9 WSRZ will broadcast live from the event.

Attendees will also be able to participate in a silent auction benefiting All Faiths Food Bank. Items for auction will be provided by other retailers in The Mall at University Town Center, with 100 percent of the auction proceeds going to the food bank.

After the restaurant finishes getting through the first few weeks of opening, it plans to have live music every week, probably on Friday or Saturday, Herman said.

The location hopes to book mostly duos and trios instead of full bands like Kettle of Fish.

“A duo or trio is not quite as invasive; you can still talk, but you can feel the vibe and energy of the music without it being intrusive for people,” Herman said.

The newest addition to The Mall at University Town Center’s restaurant spread will offer outdoor seating as well as options for private parties.

“There’s an upper-level area, so we can do large private parties there,” Herman said. “We can do private indoor parties as well as outdoor parties. Depending on the situation, we could book the entire restaurant.”

Burger & Beer Joint is also seeking franchisees in “key Florida cities” such as Orlando and Tampa. In the first quarter of next year, they’re planning to open locations in Texas, California and Washington D.C.

The lively Sarasota market and the “impressive” Mall at University Town Center attracted the chain to open here.

“We’re excited to be a part of Sarasota,” Herman said.

Burger & Beer Joint will be open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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