By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jan 09, 2007 at 5:34 AM

She's been dropping hints of her arrival for months now, and just five days after the new year, Patty Burger finally showed her face at 1952 N. Farwell Ave. The brand new restaurant -- one of only two in the country -- is the latest project from former Jimmy John's CEO Gregg Majewski, who opened the first Patty Burger in October '06 in Chicago's Loop.

Milwaukee location owner Bryan Majewski is calling the small yet efficient burger joint "fancy fast food," but really, Patty is pretty straight to the point and forgoes just about any frills.

Don't go there expecting $8 sandwiches or fresh fruit options -- Majewski's use of the word "fancy" really only applies when comparing it to your typical Mickey D's experience -- but definitely expect something more than a pre-made patty that's been sitting under the heat lamp for 20 minutes.

The place is predominantly a hamburger haven, with chili, French fries, egg breakfast sammys and shakes complementing the meat-centric menu.

"The food is made to order and the meat is never frozen," he says. "Everything from the produce to the buns comes fresh daily. These are gourmet burgers."

What does "gourmet" entail for the Patty Burger business?

The third-pound angus patties come singly ($3.29), doubly ($5.29), or as a triple threat ($6.49) on the fresh baked buns. Lettuce, tomato, onion and "the sauce" -- a mayonnaise-based secret recipe with a spicy kick -- come standard and extras -- choice of cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and avocado -- range from $.29 to $.99.

It's almost impossible these days to open a restaurant that is devoid of any kind of vegetarian items, and no, not even hamburger places are excluded. Patty Burger offers a vegetarian "burger," but instead of your standard soy patty resembling the real thing (in looks, anyway), the herbivore option here is a slab of eggplant sautéed with butter and seasoning, and is available in any of the multitude of combinations as the regular burger is. The veggie burger, Majewski says, can take between six and seven minutes to make, which is slightly longer than the beef burger that are dished up in about four.

The restaurant concept nods back to the diners and soda fountains of the 1950s, with the Patty icon herself resembling the classic pinup girl, says Majewski. The immaculate stainless steel and pop orange interior décor is minimal and clean, with a few polka dots adding just a modest amount of retro kitsch to the otherwise modern looking building.

Patty Burger is on the northeast corner of Farwell Avenue and Irving Place, adding to the hotspot already home to local legends Koppa's Fullbeli Deli and Comet Café.

"I'm really excited about this location," Majewski. "Comet does excellent food, but they stop serving at 10 p.m. and have a liquor license. We do burgers, that's about it. If someone in Milwaukee wants a good hamburger, we want them to come to us."

Patty Burger plans to start its delivery service in the coming months and, with late-night permit pending, hopes to soon stay open until 3 a.m.




Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”