April 13, 2024

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Burgerville and the wonderful return of Charlie's Roast Beef

Burgerville and the wonderful return of Charlie's Roast Beef

Every Burgerville is a trip back in time. “We always think about transporting people, making them feel like they are in another world,” explains Alejandro Escalon, influencer and gastronomic event entrepreneur, known for his social media account BogotaEats, now B.Eats.

The first time this festival was held, it focused on this world-famous snack, taking attendees into the atmosphere of the 1950s, the historical moment when hamburgers began to flourish in the United States, reaching every corner of the country, Escalon says.

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Last year, the second edition transformed its main headquarters – the El Chico Museum Garden – into a theater that recreated the atmosphere of the 1970s. For 2024, he proposes a return to the 90s, not only in music, but in everything related to music. Parties, including guest kitchens.

This time — March 8-10 — Burgerville will have 36 burgers for guests. The rule is to keep it small, because everyone attending will have fun trying as many options as possible, so the festival has asked venues to prepare a bite of no more than 100 grams of the main protein. The rest was creativity.

Escallón likes to invite not only experts on this snack, but also restaurants that don't necessarily include it on their menu. Suggest a visualization exercise: “What would a hamburger look like in your restaurant concept?” This was suggested last year to places like El Pantera – where people usually go for tacos. The result, he celebrates, was a burger you won't find anywhere else.

This year, El Pantera repeats, it will bring to the event the Majin Burger de Perea (hamburger, beef Perria, cheese, Burger sauce Chipotle, lettuce, pickled jalapeno and birria broth). He did the same exercise with a Chinese restaurant called Uncle Mao, who also suggested a special recipe.

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This year's menu will also replicate Lebanese-style hamburgers. its name Crispy kofta It contains potato pita bread, ground tip and cheese crust CheddarGrilled onions, pickles and house sauce.

“Last year, it was the Lebanese version that achieved the highest number of sales,” said the festival founder. There will be a Korean flavor of Chicky Chicky, with breaded chicken breast topped with Korean hot sauce, kimchi, coleslaw, Asian pickles and mayonnaise.

“Burgerville was born because hamburgers are my favorite food,” Escalon says. For about five or six years, Bogotá has been witnessing the phenomenon of hamburger restaurants in which the quality is getting better and better. The same thing wants to happen with every new version of Burgerville. This edition will be larger: “More restaurants, more capacity, we've taken it to 30,000 people. If last year we sold 100,000 hamburgers, this year we want to reach 120,000.”

Hamburger restaurants have also taken on an additional creative mission, as Escallón highlights. A notable case is the Home Burgers chain, which invited The Kitchen Brothers to design its recipe for the event. The result was The Pancakes Mixtape, “a tribute to another great American producer,” he says. It's a beef burger Pancakes With maple mayonnaise, crispy bacon and cheese Shidar melted.

“Everyone is creating a special product and doing amazing things. This is also a tribute to how good the food is in Bogota. We want people to feel more proud of what we have in terms of gastronomy,” he adds.

Incidentally, he says that since the theme is the 1990s, organizing before the event — a task that turned him and his team into hamburger connoisseurs — made them remember a sandwich brand that was iconic in that decade, all the while young people of the time remembered that day that inspires many… Nostalgia: Charlie's roast beef, which never went away, even though many thought it did.

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Well, this brand will also be there to bring the taste of Burgerville Roast beef From that golden age.

Charlie's Roast Beef and its “return” to its origins

Every time a restaurant serving a roast beef sandwich opens in Bogota, its founders have an obligatory reference: the strong memory and nostalgia that the Charlie's Roast Beef brand left on the palates of Bogota residents in the 1990s.

Some talk about Charlie as a lost brand. The truth is, it was close. But he continues with all the desire to once again be that unbeatable authority, the one who taught us how to eat. Roast beef In Bogotá.

It was founded in 1989 by American Carl Heggard and Ecuadorian Jorge Burray, in its first location on 100th Street. At that time, its advertisements were broadcast on various youth stations. Its magic – says Juan Felipe Restrepo, currently in charge of the brand – lies in that Roast beef They are artisanally prepared, cut on site, and almost straight out of the oven.

“In ’98, the founder left the country, and the brand was owned by other companies,” says Restrepo.

Charlie's Roastbeef had several selling points. In addition to different owners, some of whom have little experience in the restaurant sector. The process became more industrial. “When we acquired it in 2017, it had four or five stores,” Restrepo says. Then came the pandemic, which hit us hard. We only have one location left, in Pasadena, at Los 3 Elephants. We are still present even in homes.”

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For Restrepo, the experience of attending Burgerville, to which they will bring their original flavor, boils down to understanding the audience that remembers it and reminds Bogota that it has not, in fact, left.

“We thought of a way to go back to the origins,” he adds. The idea is to have the meat cut on site and retain the famous Charlie sauce, although people can add barbecue.

Liliana Martinez Polo

Culture Editorial

@lilangmartin