Forget the boring lettuce, tomato and onion burger toppings you’re used to… Why not stack your burger with marshmallows, battered onion rings or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Or what about hash browns, peanut butter ‘n candied bacon? Well, it’s no wonder how Over The Top Burger Bar got its name. At Buford’s trendiest new burger joint, they clearly aren’t afraid to break the rules!
But there’s so much more to Over The Top Burger Bar than their out-of-the-box burgers, indulgent milkshakes and adventurous menu. In today’s episode of the Gwinnett Podcast, we’re discussing the restaurant’s unconventional story, the struggles they’ve overcome in opening at the start of the pandemic and how their bold creativity has paid off and set them apart from the rest!
Over the Top Burger Bar’s indulgent dishes and original concepts make them Buford’s hottest new burger joint. Much like their menu, the restaurant’s journey so far is anything but ordinary.
The idea for Over The Top Burger Bar was sparked during a conversation between founder Travis Binns and his friend Malia Haanio, who is now President of Human Resources and Headquarter Operations of the restaurant.
Back in March, Over The Top Burger Bar first opened its doors and was immediately faced with a huge challenge. Only two days after opening, they had to close in light of new lockdown procedures.
Starting a new small business is already difficult, but being forced to shut down operations after just two days is an obstacle that many entrepreneurs struggle to overcome. Binns had to make some hard decisions, but he and his team stayed committed to persevering through the lockdown.
“We laid off almost 30 employees and took two weeks to get back in the think tank,” he says. “We decided to throw our hat in the to-go business as this so is not what we do, but we adapted.”
Binns remarks they have been able to bring back five full-time employees and every day they set a new goal for themselves. Even with the state restrictions, they managed to keep their head above water and make the best out of their situation.
Over The Top Burger Bar decided to wait four weeks after Governor Kemp lifted restrictions before opening again according to Georgia guidelines. Since then, the crew at Over The Top Burger Bar has seen sales increase, regulars develop and loyalty for the restaurant build.
But burgers aren’t the only way Over The Top Burger Bar goes over the top; they put their all into supporting the community they love.
“We formed a 501c3 called Feeding the Frontlines that provided meals to police, firefighters, first responders, and nurses through these troubling and most difficult times,” explains Binns. On top of that, Over The Top Burger Bar has donated 100 meals to the Buford High School Marching Band and has partnered with and donated to Jambos, an organization dedicated to comforting and caring for children in foster care.”
Through the support of the community’s regular business, Over The Top Burger Bar has been able to introduce a regular schedule of entertainment inside the restaurant.
“We have introduced a regular schedule of entertainment from Wednesday Family Feud, Thursday Music Bingo, Friday’s dueling pianos with no cover, Saturday’s live entertainment for [UGA] games, and what seems to be our very popular Jazz Brunch [on Sundays],” Binns says.
While every event is great fun, Jazz Brunch has remained their most popular. After all, with a live four-piece jazz band accompanied by brunch-exclusive food and cocktail menus along with bottomless mimosas, three-tier Bloody Mary systems and a dog-friendly nonsmoking patio, what’s not to love?
Following Over The Top Burger Bar’s success, Binns has formed the Rising Hospitality Group (RHG) with the help of his business partners. Through RHG, Binns hopes to bring more diverse, eclectic and innovative restaurant concepts to the Buford area.
Currently, Over The Top Burger Bar is the only business operating under RHG. However, RHG is working to expand the Over The Top chain, as well as establish a new restaurant named Mauka and another named Smash’d Bar, where carnival food meets the history and energy of New Orleans. Over The Top Burger Bar’s tenacity throughout both the pandemic and typical business difficulties is an inspiration to new business owners.
Thanks to their clever ideas and bold creativity, Over The Top Burger Bar has exceeded far beyond the expectations for a new business this year. The young restaurant has a bright future ahead as they continuously adapt and expand.