Oct 22, 2021 - Food and Drink
Bad Luck Burger Club earns cult following
Four bad luck burgers sit on a tablecloth.
Photo: Katty Danger, courtesy of Bad Luck Burger Club

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.

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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