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Though two weeks later than expected, BGR: The Burger Joint will open this week on Dupont Circle, giving that high-trafficked area another hamburger option in a neighborhood thick with them. Founder and co-owner Mark Bucher says the third location of his mini-chain should debut on Thursday, unless there are complications with the city zoning inspection, which would then push the opening to Friday.
The restaurant at 1514 Connecticut Ave. NW is about the same size as the Bethesda location, at least on the first level, but because the Dupont store has a basement for food prep, it can squeeze more seats into the space. There are 60 seats at the new spot, which is good, because interest is high in BGR Dupont, despite the fact that locals can already grab burgers at Fuddruckers, Five Guys, Johnny Rockets, and Darlington House.
“Man oh man,” says Bucher, “People are going crazy, and we haven’t even opened yet.” The founder said he put 1, 000 paper menus by the front door today. By this afternoon, they were gone.
Speaking of the menu, Bucher said BGR Dupont will offer the exact same items available at the other locations in Bethesda and Old Town. This somewhat surprised Y&H, given the demographics of the Dupont area, which one presumes are different from those in the ‘burbs. When I said this aloud to Bucher, he responded: “If they want something [different], we’ll give it to them.”
According to a forthcoming press release, BGR Dupont’s interior design will be patterned after the rock ‘n’ roll iconography of the original Bethesda location:
The atmosphere is edgy and vibrant with electric blue walls hung with images of rock and roll icons and a guitar that once belonged to Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters. Lit with industrial stage lights and hanging free-form light bulb sculptures, the space is colorful and lively, with rock/pop playlists entertaining diners. The table tops are all commissioned works of art signifying pop culture brands, like Live Aid, Bazooka gum and Nestle Quick, with which BGR customers have grown up.
Bucher said one thing will be different at Dupont: the music. He expects to have some sappy, old-school tunes playing on the iPod, including those by Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, and Barry Manilow. Disco tunes and songs from the original Brady Bunch sit-com may also make their way into the mix, presumably with the proper amount of irony.
Why the odd mix?
“Just because it’s Dupont Circle,” Bucher says.