Not your typical burger shop: JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers to open soon in former bank building on Holcombe
You might’ve noticed the empty building on Holcombe that used to house a Washington Mutual Bank branch has received some serious renovations.
JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers has been setting up shop and is now almost ready to open its doors to the community for a customer experience unlike any other.
One of the restaurant owners and visionary, Brooksy Smith, explained he and his partners explored other burger shops around the country looking for the best practices to use at JerryBuilt. The result – not your typical burger shop.
“What we’ve tried to do, and this was Jerry (Glauser), whatever they do at typical fast food, let’s do the opposite,” Smith said.
At JerryBuilt, the idea is to make everything visible for the customers starting from the moment you enter. Unlike other burger restaurants, you’ll see your food being prepared when you first walk in and not cash registers.
“You’ll see the cash registers are hidden and I’ll show you everything else,” he said.
The restaurant’s kitchen is set up to do everything onsite. From baking bread to slicing potatoes to forming the patties –the customers have the ability see the entire operation.
“It kind of gives you, I’m hoping, a level of comfortability that they really do what they say that it’s shockingly transparent,” he said.
JerryBuilt is dedicated to providing a meal using only the best ingredients – “with organic when possible, local when available, and always fresh.” Instead of having buns already made or frozen patties shipped to the restaurant, Smith has worked to partner JerryBuilt with local and regional businesses and farmers to ensure customers receive a fresh product.
The restaurant is working with a local bakery, Three Brothers Bakery, which will provide the dough for the buns as well as “gingerbull” cookies and special treats for occasions such as birthdays. For its chicken products, the restaurant teamed up with Buddy’s Natural Chicken based out of Gonzales, Texas.
For the beef, JerryBuilt receives whole briskets and chucks from Niman Ranch all-natural meats, a company that works with a network of sustainable U.S. family farmers and ranchers.
From produced to condiments, JerryBuilt’s menu features daily and season items that are organic and locally sourced. Smith said the restaurant will face challenges over the next year with certain things, such as lettuce and tomatoes, because of last year’s drought. However, these difficulties won’t disrupt their commitment to providing fresh produce.
“So that will start to normalize and I will get more, but our mantra is ‘if we can get it organic and if we can get it from a source locally, that’s our first choice,’” he said. “If we can’t, we’ll make our next best choice, but our first choice is always to get it locally and get it organic.”
The JerryBuilt on Holcombe is the first of its kind. Smith is working to open another one in The Woodlands, but its opening will occur after the one on Holcombe is up and running.
Instead of a traditional general manger, each restaurant has an owner operator who lives and works in the community. JerryBuilt on Holcombe has also worked with Bellaire High School, Lamar High School and other schools to provide students with part-time opportunities.
From the ingredients to its employees, the restaurant owners demonstrate a strong desire to give back and support the community the restaurant is moving into. JerryBuilt has already partnered with Challenger Little League and will sponsor all the buddies in the Challenger League.
“We made a big effort to Challenger,” Smith said. “It’s one of those things you watch and see what they’re doing and it’s hard not to start crying. It’s so sweet seeing how much fun these little kids have.”
With so much attention to every detail at JerryBuilt, one can sense the passion from the owners for burger shops and providing a unique restaurant experience.
Smith himself has extensive experience in the restaurant business. He was involved with bringing the sandwich restaurant franchise Quiznos to the Houston area and also helped develop Planet Smoothie, a chain based out of Atlanta, Ga. Among his involvement within other aspects of the business, he has never had his own burger shop but like a lot of people has been a fan.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business a long time and I’ve been daydreaming about having a burger shop for a long time,” he said.
There are a lot of burger places that Smith admires, including several “Mom and Pops.”
“I mean I grew up in Dickinson, so Tookie’s in Seabrook that just reopened that’s one of my favorite places to eat a burger and always will be because when I was a kid if I did something, you know, if I did a good job mowing the lawn, my dad might drive me to Tookie’s to get a cheeseburger,” he said.
That is something Smith is hoping he’ll help provide for younger generations with JerryBuilt.
“I want the kids in the community when 20 years from now to bring their kids back here and say, ‘This is where we went after when we won a game. This is where we went after a school assembly. This was our neighborhood place that we went,’” he said.