Downtown Burger Guys Closes Down

DOWNTOWN BURGER GUYS CLOSES DOWN There’s one fewer restaurant along the light rail line: Culturemap reports that the Burger Guys spot at 706 Main St., on the ground floor of the Great Jones Building at the intersection of Main and Capitol, closed on Friday. Owner Jake Mazzu seems to believe that this particular address might be the victim of some bad karma: “[Mazzu] notes that the location . . . has housed ‘four restaurants in seven years.’ Asked if he believes in cursed locations, Mazzu says ‘completely, now. Never would have before.'” [Culturemap] Photo: H-Town in Pics

37 Comment

  • It’s not a curse, it’s basic restaurant business principles at work. If restaurants keep opening and closing in a particular location, don’t be stupid and open another one. It must be access, visibility, parking, customer base or some of the basics, just because you don’t see it on the first look, let history give you the clue.

  • Too bad, but they had terrible hours and minimal marketing.

  • I went there relatively frequently, but I was turned off by how much grease the burgers had—there would just be puddles and puddles on the tray by the time I was done, and it got the bun all soggy. Once when I ordered, I asked if after they finished cooking the burger they could let it sit and drip off the grease a little bit. The chef came out and told me no, that was impossible, but they gave me a second “backup” bun.

  • NOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!!!!!! Such good burgers!

  • I went twice for lunch and the food just didn’t taste like the way the food tastes out on Westheimer.

  • Downtown just doesn’t have enough non-nine-to-five density yet. Hopefully with more residential units being built, business can be sustainable.

  • But…But… Light rail is good for business! Signed, Hipster Idiot or Heights Liberal

  • But but but, I thought that business was supposed to be booming along the light rail line…

  • The rent is too damn high.
    If four restaurants have failed in seven years, then the owners should lower the rent if they want to keep a long-term tenant. If they are satisfied with the high turnover, they should keep the rent exactly where it is.

  • Vibrations from the train compromise the structural integrity of the burgers by shaking out the grease. That’s why the buns are soggy and the taste is different from the Westheimer location.

  • #5 has it right. For whatever reason, the downtown location simply wasn’t as good as the original. But, yeah, let’s blame it on the rail as if no other restaurant in Houston has ever failed before #neoconidiocy

  • How many burger places do we need?

  • We had a building in my hometown that housed several restaurants that all went belly up within a couple of years. A few of them were pretty good, too. Then the Los Cucos chain came in, invited a priest to pray over the joint and sprinkle some holy water on it, and then–according to gossip–they brought in an curandera to do some kind of magic on the place, and now it’s been open and busy for a good ten years and counting. I’m not saying I believe in all that stuff, but…does it hurt to cover all the bases? The landlord should at least do whatever the Flying Saucer is doing to stay in business.

  • I wasn’t that impressed by their burgers, but they were toward the pricier end of the spectrum. When I can spend less for similar quality (Eats Mesquite, ET) or about the same for far better (Hubcap), all within a few blocks of one another, it’s a difficult competition that won’t be won just on duck fat fries.

    Everybody’s price point in that building/location seems a bit high, so the etherist’s comment has some traction.

  • Went there for lunch a bunch of times — so sad to see it’s closed! After we relocated from Westchase, I was missing Burger Guys, so I was ecstatic to see one open downtown. Unfortunately, it seems to have only lasted about 10 months.

    A number of my coworkers wished it had been open for dinner; I wonder if expanding their hours would have been enough to keep them in business, if their problem was indeed high rent rather than labor costs. It usually seemed reasonably busy at lunch, after all.

  • @Anse – …”at least do whatever the Flying Saucer is doing to stay in business.”

    That would be selling copious amounts of beer and liquor to accountants, bankers, and attorneys every day from 4pm to midnight. If the Flying Saucer had to survive on its lunch crowd, I’m certain it would fail too.

  • meanwhile… brown bag next door has a line out the door every day during lunch.

    I went there a few times, it was pretty good, but the prices were way to high. A basic burger/fries/drink would set you back $15…

  • It is tough to make a go of it in the downtown lunch scene with something that is more expensive than what is in the tunnel, but not nice enough for client lunches. Plus, the gourmet burger thing in Houston may have jumped the shark.

    The Main St. location is obviously also an issue as it is too far from the theaters, stadiums, discovery green and Market square to get much spillover business to stay open for dinner without having a bar.

  • Closed at 3pm, closed on weekends, I mean all three times I went by there it was closed.. That’s no way to run a business; would have happily paid $10 for a quality burger.

  • Tried it once and thought it was so so…HubCap burgers not far away, on Prairie makes a much better burger…. they haven’t gone out of business…..good food at a decent price will bring them in…there are a lot of places making it on and near main…Bombay Pizza is not cheap, but the food is great… They are thriving on Main St…

  • I don’t go down there because of the rail line.

  • Maybe I need to try out the original location. When this opened I was excited because I had heard they were great. Gave them 3 tries and was thoroughly underwhelmed each time. I started going right back to Hubcap for the best downtown burger.

  • they were a little pricey, but i went mostly because of that adorable natalie portman lookalike they had working the register.

  • I work about a block from there and was excited when I heard it was opening. The burgers were fine, but Hubcap is far better and cheaper too, so on the pretty rare occasions when I splurge calorically on a burger for lunch I’d go to Hubcap instead.

    I also though the layout and decor (that awful purple paint) was very odd. It wasn’t a place that made me want to go back, or even less to invite people to go with me.

    With the new BG Group Place building right down the street, I don’t buy that the right restaurant can’t be successful in that location, even if it is only open for lunch.

  • Downtown needs more bars, with a broader distribution of said bars. Drunk people will buy any burger at any time no matter the cost.

  • Is there something about the economies of scale of cooking good burgers that pre-empts them from catering? I don’t know, that would have been the ideal location.

    The comparison to Chipotle just makes me think it was an operational challenge.

  • Anon22…totally agree

  • Closed at 3pm, closed on weekends, I mean all three times I went by there it was closed.. That’s no way to run a business; would have happily paid $10 for a quality burger.

    I have heard people say this a ton over the years but the fact is that most of these restaurants tried to stay open during normal restaurant hours but couldn’t justify keeping the kitchen and staff there evenings/weekends to serve a handful of people.

    There was a downtown partnership that offered to subsidize rents for restaurants that would attempt to keep night/weekend hours and it was a bust.

    It’s a problem that doesn’t have an easy solution.

  • Don’t you worry. There will be a new restaurant there soon.

    This “redevelopment” will be, of course, due to its proximity to the light rail, as were the previous restaurants here in the last seven years.

  • I’m often Downtown after work. Get off the train, catch the bus. Maybe get a snack or a drink or even shop a bit before going to the bus stop. Radio Shack, CVS & Phoenicia are among the few current shopping options, but there are lots of places for food & drink.

    Not Burger Guys. It was always closed….

  • Bombay pizza does just fine and they’re open until 10pm daily; so hard to buy the excuses about their lousy hours. Doesn’t take a fleet of people to make burgers and fries either. Bombay is pretty awesome; think I’ll order a slumdog for dinner tonight (notice key word tonight)..

  • I live near the Westchase location of Burger Guys and love them. The problem with the downtown location is they were targeting the wrong crowd (lunch). They should relocate to the Market Square area (which is, yes, right along the rail line) and become part of that booming dining scene. Goro & Gun, Batanga, Fusion Taco, and even Barnaby’s are all killing it right now. Not to mention all the hopping bars next door like OKRA, Pastry War, and Clutch City Squire. Leave the lunch crowd to Chick-Fil-A and go after the real diners who matter — the foodies — and they’ll support you.

  • Compare this, with today’s Houstonian article about a thriving downtown restaurant scene, and you’ve got to think that it may not be that downtown can’t handle restaurants, but maybe the Burger Guys couldn’t handle downtown?

  • @drone – they, along with half of the commenters here, probably assumed that the only people who dine in downtown are cubicle dwellers who are only released from their cages during lunch time and who’ve never been outside the parking lot, let along know where Market Square is. That’s too bad, because gourmet burgers are the perfect drunk food and Market Square has the highest concentration of bars downtown (which, again, is all on the rail line).

  • By the way, the Burger Guys former downtown location is immediately across the street from what will be the junction station between the Red Line and the lines to and from the east that are set to open next year.

  • downtowner here! burger guys was good, but just not appealing for $15 lunch that makes you want to crawl under your desk and take a nap. it would have ruled as a late night place.

    i went a couple times to BG on main, to split burgers + fries with my coworkers. brown bag deli has the line out the door and that was always a good alternative to greasy burgers.

  • I don’t know how long this has been the case, but the one on Westheimer is closed as well. They appear to have been evicted – maybe a better location is in the works?

    A late late night walk-up window in downtown might be truly great for a lot of people.