The Burger Place in Downtown Melbourne

Gourmet American classics in the heart of Downtown Melbourne

The idea of a French couple opening a throwback American burger joint may seem a bit out of step. But that’s just the path that Jean-Philippe Reis and Karine Paturel-Reis have decided to venture down — and it’s a path that suits Downtown Melbourne diners just fine.

Across the Atlantic, Jean-Philippe spent 20 years in France’s fish industry. His company was responsible for delivering fresh fish to 150 restaurants in Paris daily, and operating eight fish markets around the city.

When Jean-Philippe and his wife came to the U.S., they sought to open a restaurant that serves up “favorite American foods.” All fingers pointed to burgers and fries, of course, and thus The Burger Place was born in January 2010.

The Burger Place is not your run-of-the-mill burger joint, however. Because of Jean-Philippe’s longtime daily dealings with fresh fish, the idea of serving processed or frozen foods was simply not an option.

“The idea was to keep it simple, but fresh,” says Karine. “(We use) fresh beef, real potatoes peeled and cut fresh daily, fresh produce and fresh bread made from scratch and baked fresh every day.”

That said, each meal at The Burger Place is prepared to order. Diners can even ask for a specific temperature on their 100 percent ground-beef burger. Thin, crispy fries spend no time under a heat lamp and milkshakes are made with real ice cream.

All the freshness not only makes for a mighty tasty meal, but also makes it hard to categorize The Burger Place as a fast-food establishment. It’s more “gourmet fast-food,” if you will. Diners can design their own burger by selecting among three sizes, five cheeses and lots of toppings. “If you like bleu cheese, a 4-ounce or 8-ounce burger topped with bleu cheese, sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions is a good selection,” says Karine.

Other menu options include a chicken sandwich, BLT, Caesar salad and a vegetarian sandwich.

“Our milkshakes are made the old-fashioned way with a milkshake machine, not a mixer,” she adds. “They are usually thick as we don’t use a lot of milk, but we do use a lot of ice cream. We can make them thinner upon request — although that doesn’t happen very often.”

When diners step into The Burger Place, they step back in time. Guests are greeted with the sounds of oldies radio, retro-style dining tables and a collection of 1950’s-era black-and-white photographs. The restaurant itself is bright, clean and family friendly.

Recently, Karine and Jean-Philippe relocated The Burger Place from Municipal Lane, a lesser traveled side street in Downtown Melbourne, to E. New Haven Avenue, the main strip, to be “in the heart of the action.” While the new location is a bit smaller inside, it more than makes up for it with its new 24-seat outdoor patio. Says Karine, “This is Florida — and it’s time for our customers to enjoy a good burger outside in perfect weather.”

Address: E. New Haven Avenue, Downtown Melbourne

Phone: (321) 676-8914

website: Facebook.com/JPKtheBurgerPlace

hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays

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