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Exploring Life & Business with Colin Fahrner and Katie Burnett of Yellow Paper Burger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Colin Fahrner and Katie Burnett .

Hi Colin and Katie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
A few years ago, we started making burgers at home for fun, for ourselves and our roommates. We’d try to recreate some of our favorite burgers to figure out how they were made. Eventually, we stumbled on what became a Yellow Paper Burger through much trial and error – and many beers. Some of our favorite burgers in LA were wrapped in yellow paper, hence the name.

Before the pandemic, Colin was managing Tony’s Saloon in the Arts District. During the summer, the bar would have weekend bbqs on the back patio. So, we started doing monthly pop ups there as YPB, just as a fun side project.

Fast forward to July 2020, bars and restaurants were forced to close because of the pandemic. Colin was laid off from his job, as were many others. With all of this extra time, we decided to make and sell burgers out of our backyard in Monterey Park as a way to continue the pop ups. Essentially operating a burger drive thru, keeping ourselves and our customers safe. It was a hit!

As things eventually reopened, we started doing monthly residencies at various bars around town. We started to build a fan base and led to features in Eater LA and on the Burger Show.

We’ve been doing pop ups steadily since!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, it has not. It’s an unprecedented and rough time for the entire industry. Operating a pop up and attempting to grow during a pandemic is extremely challenging. We aren’t unique in that struggle, and our hats are off to everyone working through it.

Working mostly out of our home has had its own set of challenges as well. Storage space and prep space is limited, so we’ve had to be pretty creative sometimes. Turns out using pizza stands works great for holding hot sheet trays!

Luckily, we have a small but mighty team and we’re so thankful for the support we’ve received from our loyal fan base.

As you know, we’re big fans of Yellow Paper Burger. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We make burgers! They’re our take on the classic California cheeseburger, our favorite type of burger. We do popups all around LA at bars and different venues. We also serve pastries handmade by our co-founder Katie – apple hand pies, cookies and other sweet snacks!

While many burger joints have a delicious burger, what sets us apart is the entire YPB experience – we welcome guests into our world, just as we would welcome friends and family into our backyard for a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

We love having a good time, and we hope our guests feel that when they come to our popups and eat our food. Serving people and seeing them enjoy the things we make is what makes it all worth it.

Some of our favorite places to pop up in LA include Walt’s Bar in Eagle Rock, Tony’s Saloon in the Arts District, Homage Brewing in Chinatown, and Glendale Tap in Glendale. We post our schedule monthly on Instagram, which is also where people can keep up with us and our latest shenanigans.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
We’re hopeful that wages and working conditions will continue to improve, as we’ve seen begin to happen over the last two years. The realities of food costs and fair wages is something that is definitely still being reckoned with. It’ll really take both the industry and customers to recognize that, which will determine the direction things go.

No matter what, LA will continue to be an amazing and vibrant place to eat and drink. We think that’ll only continue to grow. And it’s all the more reason to continue to support independent restaurants, mom and pops, and pop-ups so we can keep as much of the incredible variety of food we have here alive.

Pricing:

  • Double Cheeseburger – $11
  • Single Cheeseburger – $7
  • Grilled Cheese – $4
  • Seasonal Fruit Hand Pie – $6

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Rachel Hubbard Andrea Czarnota

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