With his two Billykart Kitchen locations, Ben O’Donoghue has handily conquered breakfast, lunch and dinner. Known for its polished approach to sit-down dining, Billykart has fashioned a well-worn groove in the cafe scene and an unassailable reputation as one of Brisbane’s best. Over at Billykart’s West End digs, a small adjacent tenancy has been utilised for a couple of experimental concepts over the years – at one point housing a gourmet smallgoods and boutique alcohol dispensary and more recently a casual burger joint called Billykart Bar. Earlier this year, when a neighbouring tenancy (formerly home to Copperface Jacks and then DA’Burger) became available, Ben and his crew toyed around with the idea of moving the burger bar across the road. Once given the go-ahead to move in, the team workshopped a neighbourhood pub concept that delivered Billykart Bar’s popular menu of eats with an expanded beverage offering and the atmosphere of a welcoming local watering hole. The space was given an aesthetic makeover, brightened up with a lick of paint and some new furnishings, transforming it from moody dive into breezy 80-seater boozer and burger joint Bender’s Bar.
The Billykart Bar menu has been transferred across the road relatively untouched, featuring a five-strong selection of burgers, four kinds of snacks and a list of add-ons. The two-handers at Bender’s revel in sweet simplicity – these burgers come sans fripperies, just the core essentials needed to make a damn-good burger. The classic cheeseburger (the item that started all of this) comes with a ground-beef patty, garlic pickles, onion, cheese, ketchup and mustard mayo on a milk bun. In addition to the cheesy staple, the Bender’s Bar menu also features a crispy free-range chicken sando with bacon and ranch dressing, a fish burger with crumbed flathead, avocado and preserved lemon, a vegan option featuring a green harissa-spiced cauliflower steak with nut aioli, and an Aussie burger with beef, bacon, fried egg, tomato and beetroot. When it comes to sides, guests can partner their burger with fries, loaded Bender’s fries lathered in cheese sauce and bacon jam, hot wings and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen team isn’t afraid to experiment, either – there are whispers of specials (including a coffee-smoked brisket burger) and collaborative burgers concocted in conjunction with nearby restaurants. Over at the bar, Bender’s features a varied selection of beverages to knock back, including craft and mainstream beers, a small but solid wine list and a clutch of classic cocktails.
Bender’s Bar officially opens today, Thursday November 7. Hit up the Stumble Guide for extra details.