Jozi Burgers is the new burger joint in the City of Gold that is adding an authentically conscious slant to the ever-growing street food culture in South Africa. Its motivation to create a “burger we can call our own” links itself to the nuances that contribute to Johannesburg’s intrigue. And this begins with its historical location.
Opened in August, Jozi Burgers is nestled inside the water tower at the Rand Steam Centre in Richmond. The whole complex – which houses various eateries and retail outlets – is a heritage site that stands on what used to be the old Rand Steam Laundries that served the mining industry of the late 1800s.
The water tower, which now functions as the Jozi Burgers’ compact kitchen, is the only surviving building from that period. The burger spot has a small outdoor seating area that is perfect for quick breakfasts and lunches.
The Jozi Burgers concept is a father-and-son project by Bruce and Joshua Cohen. Bruce has been a pioneer of organic health foods in SA as the founder of the Absolute Organix business. Joshua trained at the SA Chefs Academy and has spent a decade working as a pastry chef in local and international restaurants from Plett to Israel.
“The idea was to flip the burger concept from a junk food to a health food concept. Worldwide – and locally – street food is now at the cutting edge of food design and taste. (No) thanks to Covid, food-to-go has overshadowed sit-down dining. But Jozi Burgers is not about fast food; we’re talking artisan-quality wholesomeness, where free-from and free-range actually stand for something other than marketing hype,” says Bruce.
The beef and chicken patties are free-range. The bacon is pasture-reared and artisan-cured using traditional methods. Plant-based leanings were created as foundations to the menu and not as additions. The vegan patty is freshly made from black-eyed beans, potato, spinach, butternut, mushrooms and oats. The bun is made partly with potato flour for a gourmet burger experience.
The team takes things further by being transparent and accountable. They openly reveal the suppliers of their ingredients on the menu so that customers can consciously engage with what they’re eating and know where their food originates from.
“In an age of industrial food anonymity and suspicion, provenance really does matter,” Bruce points out.
As a treat and a notable departure from the norm, Jozi Burgers offers a variety of 10 mayo-based, hand-made sauces that can be both burger sauces and chip dips. Delicious with some localised flavours, you can choose from smoky paprika, green mango atchar, hot chilli, chakalaka and more. The sauces are vegan friendly.
There’s an emphasis on the quality of ingredients at Jozi Burgers and if you’re looking for free-range burgers, this is the place to go.