(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A new Arlington-based ghost kitchen from a pair of prominent restaurateur siblings is now smashing and slinging patties.
Serving up smashed burger patties, crispy chicken sandwiches, and fries, ordering is currently available through the usual delivery apps: UberEats (50% off first order), Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates.
The delivery area includes Arlington and parts of D.C and Fairfax County, Ian Hilton tells ARLnow.
The idea for Gee Burger, Hilton says, came while “stranded” during the pandemic at Cafe Colline with his chef Brendan L’Etoile, who he’s worked with since 2007. They workshopped burgers that would deliver well, and focused on one similar to another they had previously served at the now-shuttered Gaslight Tavern in D.C.
“It is a very quick process of smashing two patties on a flat top grill, giving them a nice crispy edge,” Hilton says, “It’s a nice juicy burger that travels well and can be cooked very quickly so that you can get it to people in short order.”
In fact, he says the burger can be cooked so quickly that it only takes four minutes to fulfill an order, meaning “we can wait till that driver is basically at our doorstep before we even fire up the order.” Plus, with a relatively localized delivery area, burgers are able to arrive at home kitchen tables hot and looking as if they were just served by a waiter inside of the restaurant.
“The idea is… to make it so that once it gets to somebody’s house, we would be proud of of having our name on it,” says Hilton.
In October, Hilton was forced to close a number of his popular District bars and restaurants due to the pandemic. Even while adjusting to take-out, delivery, and ghost kitchens, Hilton makes a point to say that this is not going to change the brothers’ core focus of creating places where people can socialize and be together.
When the pandemic subsides, his hope is that he will be able to move back to providing those experiences.
“I know that people will return to restaurants,” Hilton says.
In the meantime, he understands that people have grown accustomed to getting pretty much any food delivered to their homes and knows that it’s on restaurateurs to adapt to that.
The hope is that Gee Burger outlasts the pandemic since it’s easy to make, portable, and, so far, popular.
As for his favorite order: “It’s definitely the Kickin [Gee burger]. I just love spicy foods,” says Hilton. “Chef Brendan has this house-made kimchi and housemade pickled jalapeños that goes on that burger that I just can’t get enough of.”
Then, he adds, “Unfortunately, I probably shouldn’t eat more than one week.”
Photo courtesy of Gee Burger