Union Burger Bar Takes Center Stage

Jessica Mackin-Cipro
The Mack Attack! burger.

It’s been about two weeks since Southampton bid farewell to Union Cantina, a four-year dining establishment that “ran its course” according to owner and restauranteur Ian Duke, as its sister restaurant Union Burger Bar took over the main dining area.

“Burger Bar is incredibly consistent,” Duke said of the restaurant that was formerly in the back of the building at 40 Bowden Square. He accredits the restaurant’s success to carefully executed promotions which include a tribute to longtime favorite Barrister’s Restaurant (closed in 2013) Bailout Burger. “In honor of the Bailout Burger, we call it the Barrister’s $5 Burger Night,” he said, which is on Wednesday evenings in-house after 6 PM.

For the near future, Union Burger will be offering pick up and delivery via Uber Eats and GrubHub.

“We’re also continuing with the crazy milkshakes. We’ve managed to hit the majority of people who live in Southampton. The restaurant has something to offer for everybody,” Duke noted.

On a Friday night a few weeks ago, the restaurant is noticeably busier than most previous nights of the past— live music, a packed bar, constant foot traffic. The layout remains the same with the only difference being some aesthetic changes on the walls. Executive chef Scott Kampf continues to serve up burgers sans hormones, antibiotics, and additives. While the menu remains relatively the same, there are some fresh add-ons, such as the Impossible Burger and a blackened mahi-mahi sandwich. There are also some highlights from the Cantina menu— tacos, nachos, queso, guacamole and chips.

Renovations have just begun for the big dining room and small room, previously Burger Bar. The space will be turned into a 120-seat elegant dining room in the form of a sushi bar and steakhouse lounge with an anticipated completion date at the end of April. “After much speculation and discussion, we are keeping the name Union,” Duke said, while tweaking and revitalizing the existing businesses model.

As his most popular and successful establishment, Southampton Social Club, enters into its tenth summer, Duke is both optimistic and eager for what’s ahead.

“This new thing is going to be something special. We wanted to bring something to Southampton that isn’t already here. But more than that, this place is for a more mature crowd — dinner and drinks, an after-dinner component. That’s going to be a major attribute of the property,” he said.

Duke promises music that’s loud enough to listen to but low enough to hear the person next to you.

Union Burger Bar is located at 40 Bowden Square, Southampton. Visit www.unionburgerbar.com.

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