By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Dec 21, 2020 at 5:01 PM

There are many things to which we can look forward in the New Year. Among them is a new slate of burgers from Gordo Burger, slated to open as soon as Jan. 1, 2021 at 2301 S. Howell Ave., the former home of Little Duck Kitchen and Hello Falafel.

Behind Gordo Burger is a seasoned hospitality veteran, Marwan Otallah, who has built his career operating a variety of restaurant concepts, including Milwaukee Classic Pizza, 3929 S. Howell Ave.

Otallah says that he wasn’t necessarily looking to open a new restaurant, but that he was compelled by both the location and the momentum of the Bay View dining scene to ensure that the convenient, centrally located location didn’t remain vacant.

“There are so many locations around the city available right now for restaurants,” he says. “And it’s definitely a tough time to open something new; but for me this was about the location. I lived in Bay View for a long time, and I love the neighborhood. I want to support it with a new concept that is a good fit for the area.” 

On the menu

Gordo Burger, which will specialize in a rotating selection half-pound burgers (including vegetarian options) and sides (primarily for carry-out and delivery) aims to serve a high quality product that also brings something new and different to the table.

Otallah says the burgers (priced right around $10 each) will be made from fresh custom ground brisket and sirloin that’s expertly seared on a flat-top grill; topped with a variety of unique ingredients, including some house-made sauces, and served on buns delivered multiple times a week from Sciortino’s Bakery.

Among the choices, he says, will be build-your-own burgers, along with a wide selection of signature offerings from The Gordo (with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and special sauce) to the El Fuego (with pepper jack cheese, green chili peppers, and spicy pepper relish) and the Freaky Greeky (with with feta and cucumber tzatziki sauce).

Among their more unique offerings, guests will find items like the Amazing Falafel featuring a half-pound house-made falafel patty topped with pickled turnips, lettuce, tomato, onion, and tahini sauce.It’s an homage of sorts, he says, to Hello Falafel, which formerly occupied the restaurant space.

There will also be kofta burgers, one made with traditionally seasoned lamb and beef, and the other with kofta-spiced chicken. Both will be served topped with tahini sauce, tomato, onion and lettuce 

And for those seeking a vegetarian burger option, Gordo Burger will feature the “Where’s the Beef?” showcasing a half-pound of custom-seasoned Impossible burger meat topped with harissa mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

On the side, guest can choose from items like waffle fries, onion rings, fried pickles, jalapeno poppers and housemade macaroni and cheese.

“These days, you can get a burger anywhere,” says Otallah. “So our goal is to create simple quality food that also offers people a good value for their money.” 

Otallah says that Gordo Burger will be open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Tuesdays so that employees have at least one day of the week to spend with their families.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.