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Not your average pop-up: Bad Larry Burger Club is serving up simple burgers in wacky ways

Bad Larry Burger Club gained popularity for using a chute. to give burgers to customers. (Laura Figi)

Matthew Bolick used to hold the craziest parties when he lived on Larry Lane in East Austin, slinging burgers and good vibes, beers and joints, which were lovingly called "Bad Larrys" by friends.

They called the parties the "Bad Larry Burger Club," where Bolick, a restaurateur and self-admitted "really bad cook," would gather up his "homies" and take turns creating their take on the classic cheeseburger on a backyard Weber grill, in hopes of landing the perfect burger.

"We always just kept coming back to a really simple burger," Bolick said.

Matthew Bolick can be found donning his burger glasses and taking orders outside Little Brother bar. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Once he found it, Bolick, a partner at Austin restaurants like Better Half, Hold Out Brewing, Brew & Brew, Little Brother and Flat Track Coffee, ran with his perfect smash burger recipe by running pop-ups at Little Brother under the name Bad Larry Burger Club in 2019.

Bolick didn't stop when the pandemic hit but he did find ways to make it weirder, running a fully-fledged ghost kitchen out of his driveway and delivering to customers via an RC dump truck. When he moved to a larger scale, the burger chute was born.

"(We) had this piece of gutter that was in the trash can and the staff cleaned it up, taped, 'We give a chute' on one side and 'Bad Larry Burger Club' on the other. It was kind of a no-brainer for that event," Bolick said.

(Laura Figi)

With the chute attached to his dirt bike, representing his love of motorsports, and cooks clad in burger sunglasses, the pop-up took off. Though he would only sell around 50 burgers at the beginning of his venture, the number climbed into the hundreds. Now, you might be hard-pressed to get a Bad Larry Burger unless you order in advance.

Bolick has been in the food industry basically his whole life; his mother was a cook and caterer who even named her cafe, Cafe Matthew, after him in Weatherford, Texas. "I've always really enjoyed showing people a really good time, throwing a party, you know, providing someone with something they just can't make themselves at home," Bolick said. "You're providing the entire experience and I think there's something very special about that."

A jack-of-all-trades and punk rock bandmate, Bolick said his pop-up has allowed him to reconnect with his inner child and create something fun out of a time where happiness was hard to come by.

"We've got a bunch of really polished businesses… We've individually opened all these projects ourselves, Matt Wright, Grady Wright and myself," Bolick said. "Having a thing that is just mine has been really fun. I've been able to stretch my legs a little bit and kind of take it back to what I love. It's become just kind of an extension of me as a kid."

And it's been working out for him—Bad Larry Burger Club has events booked halfway through 2021.

As the pandemic dies down, Bolick is going to start working on new projects for the Bad Larry brand, like Beef Boat, a hamburger party on a boat. While he plans to keep the burger chute around, he says he has weirder ideas for the future of "The Bad Larry Experience."

"I'm really pushing forward on these parties and throwing shows and being a part of the community coming back to life—I think that's really important," Bolick said. "I live in Austin for those magic situations where you're like, 'I can't believe I'm on a fucking boat, eating a burger.'"

You can grab a burger most often during pop-up nights at Little Brother or book Bad Larry Burger for an event via Instagram direct messages.


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