COVID-19's stranglehold on the live music industry turned Andy Atkins' life upside down.
- His work at a stage and lighting production company evaporated, so he started working odd jobs building decks and fixing motorcycles.
- But Atkins' favorite way to pass the time was testing out burger recipes with his friend Cody Driggers.
Flash forward: Several months of tinkering led to a burger recipe that formed the bedrock of one of Nashville's up-and-coming business ventures — Bad Luck Burger Club.
- Launched in May, Atkins and Driggers make simple, smashed-patty burgers in parking lots outside of local bars and other locations.
Why it matters: Within a matter of months, Bad Luck Burger Club became an underground hit, selling hundreds of burgers every weekend. It’s not unusual for them to attract lines with an hour-long wait.
- They describe themselves as "super secret," but they've collected thousands of Instagram followers hungry for their weekly schedule.
- Celebrity chef Sean Brock even paid the duo a visit recently.
What they're saying: "In the beginning we thought it was going to be a side hustle," Atkins tells Axios.
- But now, as word of mouth spreads, bars are reaching out in advance to nab a spot on their calendar. Atkins says they have weekends booked into December.
- "We have something really special that people are getting behind," he says.
- "It makes you feel all gushy inside."
Between the buns: The burger recipe is deceptively simple. Two smashed patties, American cheese, pickles, caramelized onions, and secret sauce.
- The burger club is a two-person operation for now. Atkins and Driggers smash the patties and chop the onions themselves.
- They work under a tent. But Atkins has dreams of getting a food truck down the line.
Cult following: Atkins said a reliable group of regulars has started coming back weekly. The community is his favorite part of the new venture.
- "More than just a cheeseburger, people need comfort and love and empathy," Atkins says. "I think that there is truly some of that happening at our cheesy little burger tent."
The details: Bad Luck Burger Club burgers are $8.
- Friday: Harding House Brewing Co., 6pm.
- Saturday: Southern Grist Brewing Company in East Nashville, 4pm.
- Sunday: Barrique Brewing and Blending, noon.
Plan accordingly: Atkins said they can sell out within a couple of hours.
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