I recently wrote about Bareburger’s expansion to new neighborhoods throughout the city. Today, I’m happy to share a Q&A with the chain’s CEO and founder, Euripides Pelekanos, who talks about the importance of cooking with chemical-free meat, plans to take Bareburger nationwide and more.
Q: Why do you and Bareburger hold free-range, grass-fed, pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat near and dear to your hearts?
A: What the animals eat, how they’re treated, the fact that they don’t receive chemicals…these are all critical to our approach to food at Barebuger. At the end of the day, we believe that food that isn’t raised this way is not as flavorful nor as nutritious. We love meat, [but] we don’t want to eat meat from animals that have been raised in commercial feed lots, inhumanely treated and pumped full of hormones or antibiotics; it’s as simple as that—we don’t want to eat meat like that, and so we don’t want serve meat like that.
Q: People usually think better-for-you food that is organic, grass-fed, etc., is more expensive—does growing your restaurant make it easier to scale costs?
A: It is more expensive, and by its nature, organic food will never be as cost-effective as conventional food. The expenses involved in maintaining an organic farm and raising livestock in a humane manner, as well as rising fuel costs and other economic challenges… all these factor in to the cost of our product. But you’re right, as we grow as a franchise and our relationships with our vendors strengthen—and as other restaurants continue down the same path as ours in choosing local and organic foods—it will eventually drive the costs down.
That said, our guests understand this, and are willing to pay a bit more to guarantee that they are receiving the highest quality food.
Q: What’s your favorite item on the Bareburger menu?
A: I love the bison sliders and French fries.
Q: Which burgers are in the running for most popular?
A: Our avocado California burger and our maple bacon cheeseburger are neck-and-neck for that title these days.
Q: What three dishes you love to eat at home?
A: There is nothing better than stuffed pork chops, stuffed with apples, cranberries and croutons. I also enjoy a good rare steak and rabbit stew, [made with] an old family recipe.
Q: What makes a good burger?
A: The grind and texture of the meat is very important, as well as the temperature or done-ness of the burger. A lot of our meats are very lean, so we prefer them cooked to medium rare, to avoid losing too much of the juice.
Q: Last but not least, what’s next? Will Bareburger continue to expand as swiftly as it already has?
A: We’re looking for the right people to partner up with, to slowly spread our product and approach across the country. We’d love to keep expanding, but just like preparing our burgers, we want to take our time and do it right!