“We’re delighted to open our doors at last,” Ballymaloe-trained chef Richard Costello says. “We spent three years planning and perfecting the Locke Burger, and it’s great to see all that hard work pay off.”
The Locke Burger isn’t just a beef burger, it’s a testament to one man’s hunt for the perfect patty. On a journey that spanned three continents over two years, Costello cooked in a Michelin kitchen in Paris, manned a food truck in New York and mastered the art of butchery in New Zealand. Along the way, he listened and learned, planning to create the best burger in Ireland.
The result of this food odyssey is the Locke Burger: a premium hamburger made with 100% Irish beef, dry-aged over 28 days, and grilled to mouth-watering perfection. It’s smothered in cheese and secret sauce, and wrapped in a Pennsylvania potato roll, combining the best of American cuisine with the finest Irish produce. You can find these beauties on George’s Quay in Limerick City.
Richard points to his experience working with Michelin-starred chefs as his chief inspiration. “I wanted to take the lessons I learned in top European kitchens about provenance and skill and use them to elevate the simple burger into something very special,” he says.
Locke Burger is run by four brothers — Tony, Richard, Jack and Alex — and a sister, Kate, and they all play a role in bringing the business to life. “It’s a family business,” general manager Jack says, “There’s always a Costello at the wheel of the food truck, peering into our butcher’s fridge or manning the grill in the restaurant.”
In 2018, Richard and his brothers took their burger on the road in their renovated 1959 Citroën HY food truck. The van trundled the roads between the UK and Ireland, pitching up at food festivals, music gigs and community get-togethers. They also expanded the menu, adding their signature rosemary-salted fries, classic Frank’s Buffalo wings and some seriously addictive milkshakes. The focus on quality is still as strong as ever, though: “We only work with premium ingredients and that means sourcing the finest Irish beef, the fluffiest American bread and the smoothest Italian gelato,” says Richard. “We won’t settle for anything less.”
The truck worked overtime in the spring of 2020, serving takeaway food and a reassuring smile to the city’s frontline workers. At a charity event in May, the Costello boys grilled a record number of burgers, raising €10,000 for Pieta House and proving that the Locke Burger is here to stay. When the brothers weren’t on the road with the food truck, they worked on a permanent home for their hugely popular burger; a few months later, Locke Burger’s first restaurant opened its doors.
The city of Limerick has embraced the new addition to its culinary scene, enjoying its riverside seats, lively atmosphere and eclectic bar menu. Above all, patrons come for the burger — a uniquely delicious Irish beef burger expertly cooked in the American tradition, just as Richard planned it all those years ago on his culinary adventures abroad.
The retro truck is still very much in demand, too, providing a safe and alternative way for guests to enjoy great food at weddings, family celebrations and corporate events. The fully reconditioned van offers burgers, fries, and mixed salads, so guests can enjoy the craic of Locke Burger in the comfort of their home or workplace.
“Locke Burger has had to adapt to many challenges in 2020, but we’re excited and hopeful about our future,” Chef Richard says. ”We have big plans to expand into additional premises in Casteltroy and bring our simple formula of premium Irish produce and authentic American cooking to new diners in new locations.”