- via Ace Burger
It turns out George and Leo Christakos had an ace in the hole. Or, rather, they put an Ace in the hole that chef Mark Gray left in their restaurant concept when, last month, he announced he was going to be leaving Battery Park (62 Ochterloney Street).
The food at Battery Park has been defined by Gray’s penchant for elevated dishes and finer dining since opening in late 2015, and with his departure comes a pivot for the restaurant. What’s interesting, though, is that he’s helping to make that change.
“Whenever you hear a chef is leaving, people are like ‘Oh my god what happened?’” says George. “‘What’s the drama?’ ‘What’s going to happen to the restaurant?’ But Mark actually created an extremely well thought-out exit strategy. He was here to oversee the rollout of lunch. And he’s passing on a lot of responsibility to Andrew Shannon, who is the sous chef.”
Shannon will work closely with chef Andrew Prince of Ace Burger Co. (2605 Agricola Street). Together they will develop the new lunchtime Ace Burger menu at Battery Park along with what will be a singular dinner menu.
Ace Burger launched at Battery Park during Burger Week—“Dad and I are kind of suckers for punishment from one perspective,” George says with a laugh, “but it gave us a really good opportunity to create as much awareness as possible”—and is now open daily, both as an eat-in lunch destination and as a take-out counter.
“Five years of doing Gus’ Pub has given us an idea of where Ace Burger can go,” says George. “And I think one of the things we kind of learned from our partnership with Bearly’s is that if we work better when we have full control. So this has been working out really well.”
With Shannon and Prince working together, the Christakos’ are excited to push their limits.
“We’re going to get to explore Andrew Prince’s cuisine outside of burgers,” he says. “At Bearly’s we just began to explore how would Ace do ribs, how would Ace do curry and chips, how would Ace do donair hot pockets—super fun, kinda gritty, messy food. And I think it’s really in sync with who me and my father are as restaurateurs and what we know we are comfortable with. And it definitely makes sense at Battery Park. I’m pumped.”
The original version misnamed Andrew Prince as Andrew Price. The Coast regrets the error.