MVB had a short but good run as an Uptown pop-up, taking over Slim Goodies Diner (3322 Magazine St., 891-3447) on Sunday nights to serve burgers. Starting Thursday, the star item from its menu, the Most Valuable Burger, will have a permanent home at Liberty's Kitchen (422 S. Broad St., 822-4011; www.libertyskitchen.org), a nonprofit cafe in Mid-City that doubles as a training program for teens and young adults who want to change the course of their lives.
MVB was a side project of Liberty's Kitchen chef Hardie McDonald, local restaurateur and caterer Joel Dondis and Peter Thriffiley and Rene Louapre, two attorneys who run the food blog BlackenedOut.com. They ended the project last year, and McDonald credits Louapre with the idea of using the MVB recipe as a way to help Liberty's Kitchen.
"It makes a lot of sense," McDonald says. "Our students will get experience making burgers from scratch and cooking them to order properly in the cafe."
The way burger joints are proliferating that looks to be marketable experience. Liberty's Kitchen has already placed one of its graduates at Tru Burger (8115 Oak St., 218-5416; www.truburgers.com), the new burger joint from chef Aaron Burgau and partners, and McDonald says the nonprofit is also talking with the Company Burger (4600 Freret St., 267-0320; www.thecompanyburger.com), chef Adam Biderman's burger shop, about a job there for another graduate.
MVB made a straightforward burger featuring a modest, six-ounce patty with a blend of chuck and brisket, cooked on a flat top griddle and served on a potato bun. The burger, and perhaps the cachet of its pop-up format, made MVB a huge hit, and it was typical to see a line stretching down the block from Slim Goodies on Sunday nights.
The MVB partners looked into starting a more conventional restaurant, but McDonald says they never found the right location and when new burger specialists began emerging they felt they'd missed their moment.
"It's run its course at this point," he says. "But maybe having the burger here will carry the torch for a while and keep it alive. Who knows what will happen."
Liberty's Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday.