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Now serving – West Side’s pizza pop-up pivots to bang-on burgers

There’s something to be said for going out while at the top of your game. Less than half a year from its debut, increasingly popular pizza bar West Side Pizza has shaken things up considerably. Now operating as West Side Burger, the cosy West End eatery is looking to elevate burgers much like it did Roman and Neapolitan pizza delivered in the New Haven style. Here, saucy smash-patty cheeseburgers are available alongside a cleverly constructed vegan and gluten-free number that’ll impress picky plant-based eaters. Oh, and there are similarly smashable sides, too!

May 05, 2023, updated May 05, 2023
West Side Burger

West Side Burger

Just as West Side Pizza’s menu of New Haven-style apizza started really gaining traction with the wider community, the team behind the Vulture Street eatery and bar decided to switch gears. In a move that took fans of West Side by surprise, the slice-slinging crew announced a pivot in mid-April – West Side Pizza was closing, soon to be replaced by West Side Burgers.

When chefs Raffaele Persichetti and Harry Antoniak (who are also the brains behind Mama Taco) put plans in motion for West Side Pizza, they did so with the aim of serving the style of pizza they thought Brisbane was missing – a high-quality slice that could break into the upper crust of Brisbane’s best pizza rankings. In less than six months they achieved that goal, with West End locals cramming into the cosy corner space in the evenings, each eager for a taste of the eatery’s fist-sized arancini, onion and anchovy breads, and bubble-crusted hand-shaped pizzas.

So, why the shift? According to Raffaele, the plan to switch things up was secretly embedded into the West Side concept from the get-go, with an ephemeral approach purposefully hard-coded into the venue’s DNA. Under this operational model, the kitchen crew has creative freedom to explore other cuisines that they’ve long desired to dabble in. With pizza perfected, the West Side team elected to put its first iteration to rest and turn its attention towards a new challenge, that being the humble burger.

West Side Burger opened to the public on Friday April 28, lifting the cloche on a tight edit of eats that showcases a less-is-more approach to menu formulation. Much like how West Side Pizza’s offering was underpinned by the delectable dough recipe (which boasted a combination of organic Italian flours, Australian natural flours and a sprinkle of European mixes), the foundational ingredients that make up a West Side Burger have been refined and selected with similar care.

The signature namesake option is the crew’s interpretation of the classic smash-patty cheeseburger. A specially made, yellow-hued brioche bun is layered with a beef patty (your choice of single or double), lettuce, cabbage, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese and a solid squirt of West Sauce. The other mainstay, the Eden Burger, is a revolutionary vegan and gluten-free option that is the result of an extensive research-and-development process. The patty, made from a mix of shiitake mushrooms, beans and eggplant, is enveloped (alongside lettuce, cabbage, tomato, onion, pickles and sauce) in a sheet of rice paper – a riff that’ll strike our carb-cutting pals as an ingenious move.

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A hearty menu hero without the slumberous after effects that come with meaty morsels, the Eden Burger could be somewhat of a game-changer for those that have been underwhelmed by vegan-friendly burgers in the past. These two options are joined by a rotating special that is changed fortnightly. All burgers can be elevated and personalised with the addition of extras, including smoked pancetta, beetroot kimchi, creme fraiche and cheese sauce.

As for sides, classic shoestring fries with dill-tip salt, loaded fries (topped with cheese, beans, pickles, creme fraiche, onion and parmesan), salad (boasting charred cabbage, pickles, macadamia, cucumber, tomato, radicchio and sherry balsamic), and rolled pies (crispy pastry wrapped around rotating fillings) help fill gaps. Got a sweet tooth? West Side fans will be thrilled to hear that the imported Cattabriga gelato machine is still churning out sweet desserts, with out-of-the-box flavours like burnt sourdoughcampfire marshmallowmarmalade toast and golden peach on offer.

The beverage program has been tweaked to better suit the burger-led menu, with a clutch of interesting international soft drinks and new cocktail menu (featuring four spritzes) now available. Finally, in good news for fans of West Side Pizza’s menu, the team is in talks to serve its range at another local venue – keep your ears peeled for more info on that soon.

West Side Burger is now open to the public on Vulture Street. Head to The Weekend Edition’s Stumble Guide for operating hours and menu details.

This article was written by James Frostick from The Weekend Edition.

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