The owners of Durham’s Kingfisher cocktail bar, Sean Umstead and Michelle Vanderwalker, started outdoor burger bar Queen Burger during the pandemic, because North Carolina didn’t allow bars to reopen. While they closed the space back in August, the duo recently announced that Queen Burger has a new permanent home in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus and will open early next year. “We felt like it deserved to have an opportunity to live on,” says Umstead.
The AstroTurf-ed parking lot that previously housed Queen Burger was a hit because it gave customers a respite from the doldrums of the pandemic. “We knew how to make really good burgers and really good cocktails,” says Umstead. Those burgers, cocktails, and AstroTurf will be fixtures of the 359 Blackwell Street location. The booze offerings will expand, because they don’t have to rely on only bottled cocktails (North Carolina allowed bars to sell bottled cocktails while they were shut down).
The biggest addition to the permanent location will be french fries. The Queen Burger team didn’t have the ability to fry up potatoes with the outdoor setup, but now the menu will include shoestring fries with the option of spicy seasoning.
The focus however will be grass-fed Baldwin beef, griddled onions, North Carolina hoop cheddar cheese, special sauce, and Old North Meats pickles.