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Durham cocktail bar to add burger concept in the backyard

Kingfisher cocktail bar is introducing QueenBurger in its backyard. The concept will offer smash burgers.

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Kathy Hanrahan, Out
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DURHAM, N.C. — The owners of Kingfisher cocktail bar are getting into the burger business.
Sean Umstead and Michelle Vanderwalker plan to open QueenBurger, a burger bar, in Kingfisher's backyard. The concept is set to open in mid-August.

“Since Kingfisher is not an ideal setting right now given how intimate and hands-on the experience was designed to be, we’ve envisioned a new way to connect with our community and bring something fresh, fun and delicious to Durham in the safest way possible,” Umstead said.

The parking lot behind the bar and the adjacent upper deck will be used for QueenBurger. The menu will include beef and vegan "smash" burgers, served with grilled onions, hoop cheese, Duke's mayo and pickles. The burgers will be made on an outdoor flattop grill.

And if you are missing Kingfisher's cocktails, QueenBurger will be serving up mixed drinks pre-bottled, in addition to wine and beer options.

QueenBurger will be donating 15 percent of its profits to Durham-based nonprofit we are (working to extend anti-racist education).

“QueenBurger’s mission is as much about delicious food and drink as it about creating community and a safe and inspiring place where all are welcome,” Vanderwalker said.

Kingfisher temporarily closed on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. To keep connected to its customers the Durham cocktail bar has started a virtual happy hour every day at 4:30 p.m. on its Instagram page. The bar has been collecting virtual tips for its furloughed staff.

Customers have also been able to purchase the bar's "Bee Durham" cocktail kit curbside, in addition to Vanderwalker's ceramics.

The bar, which is named for the unique birds that live along the banks of North Carolina's rivers, opened nearly a year ago at 321 E. Chapel Hill St. next to the Durham Hotel.


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