When we ran into Shaun Doty as he stepped off a White Provision elevator the other night, he had more than a passing resemblance to the damp dish towel tucked into his apron.
Taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes, Doty allowed: “I’m a little burnt right now. But it’s been worth it.”
Doty was multi-tasking, dashing back and forth between the media launch for the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival set for 2011 where he is a Founders Council member and the final evening of tastings at his brand-new YEAH! Burger across the parking lot at 1168 Howell Mill Road.
When the West Midtown burger concept opened to the public Thursday for lunch, Doty’s many admirers from across the city were there, along with a lot of hungry families.
YEAH! Burger’s signature grass-fed, Georgia-raised beef comes from Will Harris‘ White Oak Pastures in South Georgia (Harris himself popped in for a taste Wednesday night).
The buns, baked by Atlanta’s H&F Bakery, are from recipes Doty developed himself.
“I love ingredient-driven cuisine,” Doty told Dish. “But I didn’t want to do the duck and wild mushroom thing. I wanted it to be accessible. I want to pass along my passion for food to younger people.”
The recycled cardboard YEAH! Burger menu puts the power of choice firmly in the hands of the customer. You get to select from a choice of beef, bison, turkey or veggie burger, Southern white, whole wheat, gluten-free white (the sans gluten variety is supplied by Pure Knead Bakery) or lettuce wrap bun and toppings ranging from six cheeses, chopped Vidalia onions, sunflower sprouts, nitrate-free bacon and Shaun’s red chili.
“I wanted YEAH! Burger to be a place where you can create your own experience,” Doty added.
With a second Virginia-Highland location already on the way, Doty and managing partner Erik Maier’s fun, family-friendly, eco-friendly casual dining concept is brilliantly built with an eye toward duplication.
“In all honesty, I wanted to make some money with this concept,” Doty explained. “But I’m proud that we’ve built this out of all the things I believe in, from the grass-fed, local beef to the bun recipe to the green elements of the design. As a father, you think about these things.”
After he gets YEAH! up and running, Doty stresses that he’ll be back in the kitchen at Shaun’s, his namesake bistro in Inman Park.
Among the menu items, Dish sampled at YEAH! Burger: A beautifully constructed beef burger with pimento cheese and dill pickles on a whole wheat bun made with organic flour, a Fifty-Fifty split of crispy hand-cut french fries and buttermilk Vidalia onion rings and a frothy chocolate malt milk shake.
Families will love the friendly, retro feel of the place, down to the Kiddie Combo menu items and the Concretes blended milk shakes where you can choose your own mix-in ingredients.
And for the parents, there’s a full bar filled with interesting drafts, wines and signature cocktails, including the Rye Toast, a blend of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Cynar Liqueur and lemon bitters.