Saturday, February 24, 2024

Back from a fire – Perrysburgers resumes what they do best

Perrysburgers has reopened after a devastating fire shuttered the burger joint nine months ago, and as far as we’re concerned, great food benefits from a little hardship.

The fire marshals still aren’t sure what caused the fire at the cozy Louisiana Ave. restaurant in downtown Perrysburg that early morning, June 7, 2016, but a bit of luck limited the damage. Coming back from a 5am jog, an upstairs neighbor saw smoke pouring out of the building and called the fire department. “The fire was just about to jump from the storage area to the main building,” said Chef Brandon Billiot, who has worked at Perrysburgers since 2015.

“The whole back storage area is concrete, so it contained the fire and turned the place into a smoke box. We had to tear everything out and rebuild the interior,” he said.

Rebuilding and upgrading

Perrysburgers owner, Eric Tudor, finds the silver lining in that fire. “The good news is that we have all new electrical and all new plumbing. So if that was a culprit, that is all brand new now.”

It wasn’t just the utilities that got an upgrade during the closure though. “Literally everything was down to the studs, so we got a chance to repaint and put in new floors and knock out a couple of walls in the back so the associates can have more room to work. All the ceilings are higher, we added two big windows in the side that really open up the dining area. We put in a handicap ramp in the front, so that’s it’s easily accessible for elderly people and handicapped people. We used to have a big step there, so we feel really great about being able to do that.”

Incredible generosity

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the fire was what Tudor did for his employees when the fire abruptly made them jobless: he kept paying them. “Eric covered my salary with the insurance. He covered everybody who was working at the time for the whole time we were closed, which was great,” said Billiot.

Tudor is modest about his substantial generosity. “It wasn’t their fault we had a fire, and we liked our team, Tudor explained. “We were hoping we could rebuild in three or four months, but that didn’t work. It ended up being nine months to the day. But it felt like the right thing to do.”

The back story

“My daughter and I were watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and they had an episode about gourmet burgers. Six years ago, there was no place in Toledo to get a really good, gourmet burger,” said Tudor of his restaurant’s inception. “My daughter suggested, ‘Hey, you should start a restaurant and make gourmet burgers.’ I said, ‘That’s a great idea, but what would we call it?’ When she suggested ‘Perrysburgers,’ I said, ‘Why has nobody done that before? We’re doing it.’”

Chef Brandon Billiot stayed through the rebuilding of Perrysburgers.

The burgers

“Gourmet” may be too stodgy for the sort of laid-back and outlandish meals being manufactured here. These are burgers you won’t find anywhere else— in the Toledo area, at least. From their classic (and still most popular) Perrysburger to the aptly named Fungus Amungus, their loaded-up take on a mushroom and swiss, everything is fresh, delicious and served with endless fries, so you won’t leave hungry. We had to try the Pizzaburger and the Jiffy Burger, along with the the Fungus and the Perrysburger. The Pizzaburger is exactly what you’d hope for— all the toppings of a pepperoni pizza layered around a burger. The Jiffy Burger is your traditional burger with all the fixings, only kicked up a notch with a big scoop of gooey peanut butter.

“People always say, ‘I wasn’t sure at first, but then I tried it and it was really good,’” said Billiot, reading our minds about the Jiffy Burger. Peanut butter with lettuce, tomato and mayo isn’t in our normal diet, but it will be when we’re at Perrysburgers, yum. And, with so many burgers still to sample, we’re absolutely heading back to try them all.

The future

There’s a lot still upcoming for the little burger joint that has made itself right at home in NW Ohio since opening in January, 2011. “I can’t say exactly what we’re doing now, but it would be an honor to expand,” said Tudor.
Just tell us where to start lining up.

Perrysburgers is open 11am-8pm, Monday-Wednesday; 11am-9pm,
Thursday-Saturday; Noon-8pm, Sunday.

220 Louisiana Ave. | Perrysburg 419-931-9083 |
For full, updated menu, check them out on Facebook.

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