Brisbane isn’t short on burger spots – in fact, the scene is top heavy with quality operators. But even among the city’s standout burger joints, Benz on Miller, well, stands out. Since taking over a small sandwich shop in a Murarrie corporate park in 2014, owners Ben and Kris Kirk have gradually built the Benz brand into a patty-slinging powerhouse, growing their portfolio in recent years to include a takeaway-centric site in Eagle Farm and two food trucks.
Last week the Benz team expanded further, opening a new bricks-and-mortar eatery at Moreton Town Shopping Centre in Tingalpa, complete with a bold black-and-orange colour scheme and grungy aesthetic that pays homage to graffiti and skate culture. Over the first weekend of trade, the crew sold more than 1000 burgers – an astronomical amount that not only speaks to the glaring need for a bang-on burger joint in the area, but also the ardent fanbase Benz has accumulated.
When we ask Ben about what makes a Benz burger special, the former pastry chef keeps it simple. “Good flavour profiles and heaps of love,” he says. “And making everything from scratch. Everything that we make, everything that we have in store – except the buns – we make ourselves.”
This simple, detail-oriented approach has been applied broadly to the Benz menu as a whole, which has been tweaked and whittled down over the years to a tight offering of six meaty and two vegetarian options.
The Benz Cheesy is a straight-shooting staple that sees a 170-g beef patty (comprised predominantly of brisket) pressed (not smashed) and layered with double cheese, pickles, sour onion, tomato sauce and mustard. As far as classics go, it’s hard to beat. But if you’re looking for the best representation of the Benz ethos in a burger, you’ll have to look a few spots further down the menu.
“Sweet Baby Jeebus is our most Instagramamble and most spoken about burger by far,” says Ben. “If you talk about Benz, people know the Sweet Baby Jeebus.” It’s easy to see why – a surfboard-sized slab of fried chicken (coated in a sweet Wild Turkey and maple glaze) is sandwiched between two buns alongside bacon, cheese, lettuce before being drenched in Frank’s RedHot sauce-laced mayo.
It’s a serious stack, which can be bolstered with the addition of another piece of chicken if you’re eager to push your stomach capacity. If you’ve still got gaps to fill, you can order serves of fries loaded with burger meat and cheese sauce, or fried chicken pieces with bacon, aioli, barbecue sauce and cheese.
Burgers aren’t the only things that are a must try at Benz’s Tingalpa store. The team is also serving a trio of soft-serve-infused thick-shakes concocted using a rotating array of house-made syrups. You won’t find your run-of-the-mill vanilla, chocolate or malt flavours here – the crew is shaking things up (pun intended) with out-of-the-box flavours like lemon curd, toffee apple and lamington, with ideas in the works for other unconventional flavours like musk sticks and marshmallow. Also, a cabinet at the counter is stocked full of sweet pots – tubs of softened desserts (think cakes and slices, but easier to save for later) like Biscoff cheesecake and Kraken pineapple custard crumble.
In addition to consistency, accessibility is also key to the Benz appeal. Great lengths have been taken to ensure the menu is suitable for dietary restrictions, particularly those with gluten intolerances.
“We have two grills, one for the milk buns and one for the gluten-free buns – so there’s no cross cross-contamination,” says Ben. “And because we make our fried chicken, patties, pickles, sauces – everything – we know what’s in it so we can promote what is egg free, dairy free, nut free. We can cover 98-percent of allergies.”
Benz’s new Tingalpa store is now open to the public. Head to the Stumble Guide for more information.