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In Conversation With Honest Burgers, London’s Very Own Burger Chain
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In Conversation With Honest Burgers, London’s Very Own Burger Chain

Picture of Gina Chahal
Updated: 24 November 2016
Phillip Eeles and Tom Barton’s genius burger chain Honest Burgers has swept across the capital with its incredible burger combinations and wholesome local produce. With their amazing string of accomplishments, we had to speak to the food entrepreneurs about what inspires them, their favourite spots to eat in London, their earliest burger eating experience and the future of Honest Burgers.
Karma Cola Burger | © Honest Burgers
Karma Cola Burger | © Honest Burgers

What makes Honest Burgers ‘honest’?

It’s all about simplicity and quality. ‘Honest’ stands for a way of doing things; no tricks, no frills, no hidden costs, just quality dry aged meat, homemade chips with every burger as standard, friendly service, and open kitchens. We aim to deliver on one promise, to do one thing, and do it well.

What inspired you to go into the food industry?

I love interacting with people, customers and staff. Everyone is so different, and you get to meet everyone so it’s never boring. It takes true emotional intelligence to be good in this industry. I’m very passionate about it. When it’s done well, I don’t think restaurant workers get anywhere near enough credit. People think anyone can do it – they couldn’t be more wrong!

Honest Burgers first restaurant opened in Brixon | © Ewan Munro/ Flickr
Honest Burgers first restaurant opened in Brixon | © Ewan Munro/ Flickr

As founders of a successful burger chain, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Do things how you want them done and don’t compromise for anyone. Make sure you know what you stand for, what your core values are. They help you to do the right things but more importantly, they stop you from doing the wrong things, too.

Put in the hours. Never close when you should be open and never run out of anything.

Do you have specific stages when developing a new burger?

Tom is the creative burger man. He’s got a real talent for getting the right flavours into a burger but at the same time not overdoing it. A lot of places think a good burger has a million fancy things in it. We just think it should taste great and eat well.

The Backyard Burger with Rosemary Salted Chips, Hot Wings, Bacon Ketchup and Karma Cola | © Gina Chahal
The Backyard Burger with Rosemary Salted Chips, Hot Wings, Bacon Ketchup and Karma Cola | © Gina Chahal

Honest Burgers have just collaborated with local brand Karma Cola on the ‘Karma Burger’; do you have any other upcoming collaborations/special projects?

We’ve got one lined up with street food kings Anna Mae’s Mac ‘n Cheese, really excited about that one.

Do you remember your first burger-eating experience?

My first proper experience was eating a cheeseburger from the Meatwagon in Peckham about four and a half years ago. Yanni really showed London how good a burger can be and made them cool.

Apart from Honest Burgers, what are your favourite spots to eat in London?

Barrafina on Frith Street in Soho is the best restaurant in London in my opinion. But for regular visits, you’ll find me in pretty much any place in Brixton Market. Still the most unique and authentic food destination in London for me.

The 'Honest' Burger, with beef, red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce served with Rosemary Salted Chips | © Honest Burgers
The ‘Honest’ Burger, with beef, red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce served with Rosemary Salted Chips | © Honest Burgers

You’ve had incredible success over the past five years; how do you see Honest Burgers progressing in the next five years?

I think we can keep going. From day one we’ve said that if we can open more restaurants and deliver the same quality and consistency of food that we did when we just had Brixton, then why not?

We never set out to have nine. We’re just enjoying the ride. If people keep coming and queuing then we’ll keep going!

After opening their first restaurant in Brixton in 2011, the dynamic duo went on to open eight more restaurants and have still maintained the high quality menu and exceptional service. Be sure to try the ‘Tribute’ burger which consists of a succulent beef patty with crunchy bacon, burger sauce, French’s mustard, onion, tangy pickles and lettuce with American cheese gloriously melted inside a toasted glazed bun. All burgers, whether chicken, beef or vegetable fritter are served with Honest’s sensational signature triple cooked rosemary salted chips. Wash your burger down with a refreshingly sweet homemade lemonade; it won’t disappoint.

Tuck into an Honest Burger at one of their nine locations across London, including Brixton, Soho, Camden, Portobello, King’s Cross, Oxford Circus, Tooting, Liverpool St and Clapham.