Boston Burger Co. Brings Indulgent Flavors Home with BurgaBox Meal Kits
Meal kit companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have given consumers an easy option to cook healthy meals at home. There are local players, too: Just Add Cooking has made an appeal to diners who prefer restaurant food with a chef partnership, and Brookline’s Pantry is an option for people who actually like to grocery shop (or not), but still want the ease of pre-measured ingredients.
But what about the folks who want to eat like Guy Fieri? Boston Burger Co. has their answer. The local restaurant chain is launching an ingredient delivery service, BurgaBox, this September.
“BurgaBox plans on defending America’s love for over-the-top burgers, loaded cheesy and meaty fries, and their ridiculous versions of Mac & Cheese,” says a press release.
It’s a direct response to the proliferation of healthy meal kits, like Purple Carrot‘s plant-based recipes and Lighter’s creative grocery lists. Boston Burger Co. cofounders Chuck Sillari, Paul Malvone, and Sebastian Fricia were pretty flabbergasted when one of their employees had a mainstream meal kit delivered to the office.
“They had plum tomatoes for one of the recipes, and they were bubble-wrapped,” Sillari recalls. “I was like, this is a joke. People have them send them tomatoes in the mail?” It was all news to him, he says. “We couldn’t believe people would actually get excited about something like this.”
He did some research and learned it’s quite a big business, with big-name companies propped up by venture capital funding. Needham’s Purple Carrot, for example, received $5 million this spring in new funding from Boston-based sustainability innovation investor WindSail Capital.
BurgaBox is launching with $650 allocated toward it, the company says.
“We started our first restaurant in Davis Square with a tiny budget. A few old friends quit their jobs to start an awesome burger restaurant. We focused on our product and the experience, not marketing and advertising. We’re taking the same approach with BurgaBox. There’s no better advertising than a great product,” Sillari says.
There will be two-person, four-person, and eight-person BurgaBox options, containing 8-ounce burger patties (raw, vacuum packed, frozen), requisite toppings, plus Boston Burger Co.’s baked beans and coleslaw. There will be party pack, which adds macaroni and cheese and fries to the box, and those sides will also be available to order family-style, to add to your box a la carte. Prices will range from $45 to about $110. BurgaBox says all of its meal kits can be prepared at home in 30 minutes or less.
BurgaBox is launching with the restaurant’s six most popular burgers, including the Rachael Ray-approved Hot Mess, with bacon, sweet potato fries, house Thousand Island dressing, pickles, jalapeño, red onion, lettuce, and American cheese; and Guy Fieri’s choice, the Mac Attack, topped with bacon and BBC’s mac and cheese.
“Since we opened the restaurant in 2009, I’ve spent time trying new things and seeing the reaction of people,” Sillari says. “Everything I do I try to keep track of what people like. What’s going to excite people to get them behind these boxes? [Mainstream meal kits] are great, healthy meals, but there’s nothing really exciting. You get some salmon, some kale, some beets. Great. But if you see a Mac Attack on the Food Network, people are excited to come into our restaurant to try it. I want that same impact when people are ordering the boxes online.”
Boston Burger Co. is working with Georgia-based thermal packing company Coldkeepers to produce BurgaBox kits. They devised the plan several months ago, and it’s been a learning process.
“This is a whole different world than the restaurant business,” Sillari says. But he’s banking on people loving outrageous, messy burgers in this world, too.