Sauce Magazine – Burger Champ will open this summer in the former Elmwood space in Maplewood
Chris Kelling and Adam Altnether have confirmed they will open a new concept, Burger Champ, in the former Elmwood space at 2704 Sutton Blvd. at Maplewood. Burger Champ will be an extension of the “Champ” brand that Kelling and Altnether launched with Pizza Champ, which opened a few hundred yards away at 2657 Lyle Ave in January 2022.
Burger Champ’s menu features smash burgers, as well as chicken sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and salads. Kelling said many details are still being developed, but suggested customers can expect a burger joint that goes a step further in its commitment to quality. “In the same way we paid close attention to detail at Pizza Champ, we will do the same with burgers and sandwiches,” said Kelling.
“We want it to offer more than a typical neighborhood burger joint while being a typical neighborhood burger joint, if that makes sense,” he added. “There will be a lot of salads, and a chicken breast option to add to salads, and chicken breast sandwiches, fried or grilled or baked in some way. We’re looking at how we can handle a turkey burger and see how we can maybe bring a salmon or something for both sandwiches and a salad. As part of the transition, chicken sandwiches will be removed from the menu at Pizza Champ Menu.
Milkshakes will be another signature offering from the restaurant, and Burger Champ will also serve a variety of alcoholic beverages, including a few beers on tap, a variety of bottled and canned beers, and a selection of wines and cocktails. “We’ll have a few batched cocktails and then probably one of every liquor behind the bar,” Kelling said. “If you needed a vodka soda, we could make it for you, but we’re not going to make craft cocktails. That’s not the concept.”
Changes to the interior of the former Elmwood space include new paint, rearranging the seats, and installing TVs. Kelling said the “bones” of space will remain unchanged, but Burger Champ promises a “very different experience” than its predecessor. “It won’t be as dramatic, it’ll be a lot brighter, but we’re not moving walls or changing anything structurally,” he said.
For Elmwood fans, the announcement confirms the closure of a restaurant that Sauce ranked number two on the top new restaurants of 2019. Kelling said that after focusing on what would become Pizza Champ during the pandemic, the company was, to some extent, height, “gone further” from Elmwood. Changes in the restaurant industry in the wake of the pandemic created obstacles to reviving Elmwood, but Kelling said that for both him and Altnether, the decision to continue with the Pizza Champ and now Burger Champ concepts is also deeply personal. is.
“We’re different people than when we started building Elmwood,” he said. “My daughter wasn’t even 1 when Elmwood opened, and Adam’s daughter wasn’t born yet. We are closed [Elmwood] three years ago and during those three years I went home every night to go to bed. That changes you as a person. My priorities are very different from the fall of 2017 when we wanted to open Elmwood. Burger Champ and Pizza Champ allow us to maintain our desired community presence, both in Maplewood and the restaurant industry in general, but it also allows us to live our lives separate from what we do for a living .”
Kelling and Altnether plan to open Burger Champ in the summer of 2023. Follow Burger Champ on Instagram for the latest updates.