Al’s Burger Shack opened its new Southern Village location on September 18, National Cheeseburger Day, marking four years since the opening of its Franklin Street location.
Known for its juicy burgers and rosemary fries, Al’s has earned many awards and titles, such as Best Burger in the South and Top 5 Burgers of All Time. With all this success, owner Al Bowers felt it was time to expand and open up a new location.
“We’ve always liked the vibe in this community and how tightknit it is,” said Bowers about Southern Village. “About probably two years in, we decided if the opportunity came up [to open a new location], we would do it.”
Bowers admits that the process of opening the second restaurant was much easier than the first due to his connections and large fan-base of loyal customers.
“They all have their challenges and it’s not an easy proposition for anybody, but we have more people in our corner now,” said Bowers. “So that transition should be a lot easier.”
Along with the new restaurant comes new perks including new additions to the menu, more parking, seating and a bigger space to cook a wider range of foods. The Caroline Burger as well as the new Shack Salad will become permanent additions.
With the opening of the new location, Al’s is also creating the Al’s Pals card, a gift card exclusive to Southern Village where parents can add money for their kids to buy food at the restaurant.
Besides all the excitement and fun, Bowers expressed the challenges of opening a small business stating, “a lot of times when a small business is trying to open, the municipalities involved can be a little difficult to work with. It’s unfortunate for small businesses because a lot of what we do takes time and more time means more money, so you’re not really able to concentrate on exactly what you want to do, which is for us is to sell hamburgers.”
Bowers is ecstatic about the opening, but he doesn’t want to stop here. His dreams and goals reach beyond Chapel Hill.
“The plan is to try to expand and replicate it because I feel like we have a concept that we can replicate,” said Bowers.
Even though there were struggles, Bowers was excited to meet any challenge head on. With all the hype and expectations that circled around the time of the opening, he tied up his shoelaces and got to work dealing out his second serving of the best burger in the South.