Coming soon! Old 76 to bring old-school burgers to Mercer Island

May 21, 2019 | by Naomi Tomky

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In June, the former gas station that most recently held Freshy’s Seafood Shack will complete its transformation into Old 76, a classic burger joint, by the folks behind Homegrown.

Brad Gillis, who grew up on the island and then grew his sandwich shop into a West Coast chain, will open what he describes as an old-school burger shack with a simple menu, dedicated to well-sourced foods.

Homegrown is beginning to expand their restaurant group beyond the original sandwich concept, and the first foray into a new idea come right in Gillis’ hometown.

“It’s a unique piece of real estate that needs to be something other than an old rundown gas station,” he says.

He and his partners saw the need for the island to have a more inviting place for people with young children, especially with outdoor seating, of which Old 76 will have plenty – about thirty seats inside, plus twice that under the awning. Which is a lot of space to order from the not-so-big menu.

Gillis explains that they tried to keep the menu super simple and focused on their grass-fed, grass-finished beef burgers, with just basic hamburgers and cheeseburgers plus their signature “special.”

There’s also a grilled cheese and any of the burgers can be made with the meat-alternative Impossible burger, as well as fries, four shake options, and eight beers and a cider on tap, as well as wine in a yet-to-be-decided format.

The simplicity and devotion to where the food comes from stems from the restaurant group coming back to its roots to try to fill what they saw as a need.

“Mercer Island is a great community without a lot of options, especially family-friendly restaurants to sit outside at,” says Gillis, painting a picture of drinking rosé in the sunshine while eating burgers with the kids scampering around nearby.

“We’re trying to create something super simple, where everything is good,” says Gillis. “Where you know what you’ll get in a relaxing, fun environment.”

Find Old 76 at 2411 76th Ave SE.

Pictured: A 76 Burger, a future menu item at Old 76

Related: Classic burger joint Old 76 now open on Mercer Island

Published August 2nd, 2019 | Read more