Fairlee Native Matt Walker To Open Burger Joint This SummerJul 13, 2021 10:19PM ● By Rosa Simone McCann
Photo from Broken Hearts Burger Website.
Due to open this summer at 192 Main Street in Fairlee, Broken Hearts Burger promises an exciting new addition to local Vermont flavor.
Matt Walker, the man behind the restaurant, grew up in Fairlee, but he hasn’t always lived in the Upper Valley. Matt entered the restaurant business through bar work and has served cocktails in an impressive résumé of past locations, including the Caribbean, the Hamptons, and NYC. Along the way, he fell in love with the restaurant lifestyle. For Matt, it’s more than just a job: it’s “a little family away from home where you get paid to learn about things you love.”
When he finally returned to Vermont, Matt knew he wanted to open a restaurant of his own.
Matt calls Broken Hearts Burger “a weird mashup of burger stand, juke joint, honky-tonk, diner, and soda fountain of the 1950’s and 60s, seen through a modern lens.” The interior of the newly renovated property on Fairlee’s main street takes its inspiration from classic American diner-style, all the way down to the jukebox, with a large selection of rock, blues, punk, rockabilly, and country music from the 60s and 70s. There will also be free pinball. Matt intends to furnish the outdoor dining area with flower boxes, lawn games, and seating for forty, plenty of room for customers to enjoy the ice cream takeout window he also plans to install, with flavors you won’t find in the supermarket. Ruby chocolate, agave almond, and horchata are sure to make Broken Hearts Burger a destination for ice cream lovers, especially longtime fans of the recently closed Whippi Dip.
Despite the ice cream, burgers are the specialty, and the menu offers several unique variations on the classic, including the Gordie, a vegetarian burger with spinach patties, and the Heartbreaker, a double cheeseburger with pickles and lettuce.
Broken Hearts has something for everyone. However, suppose you’re not a burger enthusiast. In that case, you can order a fried chicken sandwich, drums, tenders, or one of a variety of hotdogs, with a range of toppings including everything from bacon to sauerkraut. Raised donuts and soft serve finish off the menu. And these are choices you can feel good about: “any products we can find locally will be sourced from here,” Matt says. “We’ll be grinding our own burger blend daily. Everything but the buns will be scratch-made.” Matt takes inspiration from the family-owned fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger. When the first In-N-Out restaurant opened, Matt tells me, the owner would personally select the best cuts of meat every day. That’s the level of detail Matt wants to bring to Broken Hearts Burger.
Despite the overwhelming support from the Fairlee community, Matt’s journey to opening hasn’t been easy. He’d been in the process of securing a lease on the Burlington waterfront when COVID-19 everything shut down. “That was a big ‘what do I do now moment,” Matt says. “The downtime allowed me to fall back in love with the Upper Valley. When this opportunity presented itself, I knew it was the right thing.”
Matt has big plans for the Broken Hearts Burger brand, which include, but aren’t limited to, the opening of a rock ‘n’ roll 70s steak house with a modern tropical cocktail bar. For now, though, he wants to see the original restaurant flourish. “I just hope people see BHB as one of the most fun and delicious restaurants in Vermont,” Matt says. “Just simple, delicious food made honestly.” A little further down the road, Matt hopes he’ll still be opening restaurants, “putting smiles on faces with perfect food, drink, and hospitality. After the year we’ve all had, people deserve it.”
You can purchase enamel pins as well as discounted Broken Hearts Burger gift cards online here to support the restaurant’s opening.