by Ian McNulty
MVB had a short but glorious run as an Uptown pop-up, taking over Slim Goodies Diner (3322 Magazine St., 891-3447) on Sunday nights to serve burgers. Starting Thursday, Feb. 2, the star item from its menu, the Most Valuable Burger, will have a permanent home at Liberty’s Kitchen, a nonprofit café in Mid-City that doubles as a training program for teens and young adults who want to change the course of their lives.
MVB was a side project of Liberty’s Kitchen chef Hardie McDonald, local restaurateur and caterer Joel Dondis and Peter Thriffiley and Rene Louapre, two attorneys who run the food blog Blackened Out. They ended the project last year, and McDonald credits Louapre with the idea of using the MVB recipe as a way to help Liberty’s Kitchen.
“It makes a lot of sense,” McDonald says. “Our students will get experience making burgers from scratch and cooking them to order properly in the cafe.”
The way burger joints are proliferating around town these days, that looks to be pretty marketable experience. In fact, Liberty’s Kitchen has already placed one of its graduates at Tru Burger, the new burger joint from chef Aaron Burgau and partners, and McDonald says the nonprofit is also talking with the Company Burger, chef Adam Biderman’s burger shop, about a job there for another graduate.
MVB made a straightforward burger of the old school. It was a modest, six-ounce patty with a blend of chuck and brisket, cooked on a flat top griddle and served on a potato bun. The burger, and perhaps the insider’s cachet of the pop-up format, made MVB a huge hit, and it was typical to see a line stretching down the block on Sunday nights.
The MVB partners looked into starting a more conventional restaurant somewhere around town, but McDonald says they never found the right location and when more new burger specialists began emerging they felt they’d missed their moment.
“It’s run its course at this point,” he says. “But maybe having the burger here will carry the torch for a while and keep it alive. Who knows what will happen.”
Liberty’s Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday.
422 S. Broad St., 822-4011