Victoria's Mornington Peninsula is famous for fine food and wine. But the casual dining scene is exploding with fresh ideas, new concepts, and delicious flavours.
There’s perhaps no better example than Rick’s Burgers in Rye. It’s fun and easygoing, with an understated menu that immediately makes you feel relaxed and happy.
The starters include garlic bread, onion rings, and hot chips. You can add wings, you can add salads, and the mains focus on burgers and parmas. And that’s all.
After all, if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it really well.“My favourite thing is the Philly Cheesesteak, hands down,” says manager Andrew Morris. “How should I describe it? It’s delicious on the verge of being too much. You couldn’t eat two of them, that’s for sure. No-one else down here was doing it, so I thought why not?”
His philosophy is simple: he experiments a lot, and if it’s good, it stays.
Rick’s Burgers began in 2011 as a cafe run by his father, Richard. They shut their doors for the first Covid-related lockdown in 2020, but decided to keep trading during the second one. The only trouble was that no-one was buying takeaway eggs benedict.
Bit by bit, Andrew began making changes. He and his dad had added burgers to the menu in a bid to attract more sales, and before long, that’s all customers were buying. He suggested it might be worth focusing on burgers, permanently, and Richard agreed.
The best-seller is currently the Crispy Fried Chicken, which has deep-fried breast, lettuce, tasty cheese, bacon, avocado, and sriracha mayo. And it’s glorious. He’s taken a similar approach to the dining experience, overhauling the interior.
“Every day we came in and did something different,” he says. “I’d run down to Bunnings and get something different. I’d build the tables, spray paint the legs, just trying to make it look as cool as possible on a budget. I came across a lady on Facebook Marketplace selling comics, so I bought some and put them up on the walls. It’s a really cool effect.”
The result is warm, friendly, and entirely fuss-free.
It’s been an interesting change of career for Andrew. He started out as a plumbing apprentice and just helped out from time to time after his dad opened the cafe. Slowly, he began doing more in the kitchen, until he found himself thrown into the deep end one day.
“The first few shifts, wow. It was a lot harder than I thought,” he laughs. “I slowly taught myself how to cook. I learnt a lot just playing around in the kitchen while it was quiet.”
Rick’s Burgers isn’t a gastronomic destination – and it has no intention of going overboard with ‘gram-friendly good. As Andrew explains, “these burgers are designed to be eaten.” It’s also inclusive, with gluten-free and vegan options, which means there’s something on the menu for everyone.
Add a selection of beers on tap, classic cocktails, and $5 margaritas on Thursdays, and you have a newly minted local institution.
2293 Point Nepean Road, Rye