A play-by-play of Park Burger's opening pains

As I reported here last week, Park Burger, this week's obsession for us Westword food freaks, was skedded to open last Friday, at precisely 5 p.m., but any of you who attached your watch to your eyeballs so that you could be first in line now knows that 5 p.m. came and went with no burger to show for your loyalty.

And if you showed up for lunch on Saturday, or after 7:30 p.m. that evening, or for lunch on Sunday, you were out of burger luck then, too, even though, technically, Park Burger should have been slinging burgers during all of those times.

So, what the hell happened?
To find out, I spoke with Park Burger owner Jean Phillippe Failyau. First, there was the matter of the electrician who had issues with the hood, which completely derailed the Friday night debut. Once all that got sorted out -- and the electrician made good -- Failyau realized that he and his staff would have to scramble to get the doors open by 11 a.m. Saturday, so he figured he'd wait until Saturday night to officially welcome the neighborhood.

Which presented a whole separate set of problems, namely that all those justifiably impatient Platt Park folks who'd been waiting months...and months...and months for Failyau to flip his first burger, make his first milkshake and serve his first French fry, gathered around the joint like a school of piranhas. "We were completely overwhelmed," admitted Failyau, who also confessed to closing two-and-a-half hours early Saturday night because the staff was so exhausted. "We honestly didn't know we'd be this busy, and we just weren't quite ready for so many people to show up."

So the staff spent Sunday afternoon recuperating, only to get slammed again Sunday night. "This is what happens when you jump right in," said Brad Putrycus, who made me a remarkably good burger yesterday during a late afternoon lunch when there was a lull in the action. "I think it was a staffing issue to begin with, but we're ready now."

They'd better be, because the neighborhood has waited a long time for burgers this good.

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