“It was always meant to be burgers and beer,” says Ace Burger Co.’s Leo Christakos. “Really what we wanted to do was something simple and really different from what we were doing at Brooklyn Warehouse. And it all worked.”
It's true. Wednesday, September 27 will be the last day you can get an Ace burger on the Halifax side of the bridge. After five years of flipping patties for the masses from north end watering hole Gus’ Pub (2605 Agricola Street), the popular restaurant will call Battery Park Beerbar & Eatery (62 Ocherloney Street) its flagship location and home base. But this closure isn't a case of slow business or a landlord dispute, it's just an opportunity for change.
“Our commitment with Dimo [Georgakakos] at Gus’ had always been year-to-year, and the project was really meant to be a one to three year project. It far exceeded our expectations,” says Christakos, who launched the diner-style, no-frills, local-focused burger joint with his son (and co-owner at both Brooklyn Warehouse and Battery Park) George in summer 2012, after a successful pop-up during Open City.
“It does come down to just setting priorities over the last little bit of time, and realizing there’s just only so much you can do,” says Christakos of the reasoning for re-focusing Ace’s efforts in Dartmouth. “One of the things I’ve come to realize is that since 2014, when we opened at Bearly’s, we haven’t stopped.”
The Christakos’ closed the Bearly’s location of Ace Burger in summer 2015 as they geared up for launch of Battery Park, which opened alongside North Brewing Co. the following December. Battery Park went on to host a handful of burger pop-ups alongside its own menu before finally bringing Ace to Dartmouth permanently in April, when it started serving burgers for lunch seven days a week.
“The original idea for Battery Park with Peter Burbridge, the owner of North Brewing, his idea when he pitched it was Ace Burger and North together over in Dartmouth— which made sense, but we took it in a different direction. We’re pulling it back to what the original idea was," says Christakos, adding that the closure of the Agricola's Ace will make way for a menu shift over at Battery Park, where chef Andrew Prince leads the kitchen.
“We’ll be moving it further towards an Ace, diner concept—almost what we were doing over at Bearly’s—so there will be a dinner menu, but it’ll feature more of an Ace-quality than a finer dining experience,” says Christakos. “It just goes hand-in-hand with the whole beer bar concept, too.”