Walking into Broad Ripple’s new BurgerFuel (6320 Guilford Ave., 317-405-8362) at 1 p.m. on the Thursday after its May 29 soft opening felt more like entering a house party than hitting the lunch rush at an international fast-casual chain. Upcycled industrial metal light fixtures set the mood, avant-garde art adorned the walls, and a live DJ from New Zealand provided the entertainment that was also piped into every other Burger Fuel location around the world, from Egypt to Australia. Alexis Lam, marketing manager for BurgerFuel worldwide, says this Broad Ripple location—the first in America—was chosen because of the eclectic atmosphere and artistic vibe he saw there. “For us, food is about bringing people together,” he says. “It’s about our passions: cars, art, music, and food.”
All of these passions converge in this former car-leasing shop given new life with details like an ornate overhead lamp created from old washers and spark plugs. While the building retained some of its original gritty charm—the garage is still attached to the side of the restaurant for parking, for instance—it also got a fresh New Zealand upgrade. Vibrant street art decorates each side of the restaurant, including murals created by Kiwi artist Haser.
Although the menu is created from recipes that originated in New Zealand, Lam says they have been tweaked and reworked to mesh with American ingredients. The beef is 100 percent grass-fed, something Lam didn’t realize was a selling point until coming to America. “In New Zealand, all of our cows are grass-fed,” he says. “That’s just what cows eat.” In addition to the cleaner beef, BurgerFuel offers fair-trade soda containing real cane sugar instead of the high-fructose variety, and uses homemade tomato relish in place of ketchup. If you order the towering Bastard Burger, layered with Egmont cheddar, avocado, bacon, raw beetroot, chia seeds, and aioli, be sure to use the provided “doofer,” a cardboard anti-drip burger holder.