The revitalization of Freret Street can be attributed to the rise of new entrepreneurs in the area, making the span between Napoleon and Jefferson a new mecca for bars, restaurants and, fortunately for me, fitness establishments. The influx of new restaurants may mark a defeat for my waistline, but also marks success for yet another prospering district in New Orleans.
Recently, Freret Street has welcomed the newest addition to the neighborhood, The Company Burger and owner Chef Adam Biderman, to its array of dining establishments. Opened on the 4600 block conveniently next door to Anytime Fitness and Freret Street Yoga, Biderman’s establishment and passion make a great addition to the entrepreneurial pioneers of Freret Street.
Biderman moved back to New Orleans in 2009 after attending school and working his way up the culinary ladder from Sous Chef to Chef de Cuisine in Atlanta. While there, he worked underneath the famed Chef Linton Hopkins at Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch Public House, where he played a major role in building the popularity of their iconic burger. Then upon returning to New Orleans, he spent a year with Donald Link and Ryan Prewitt expanding his culinary repertoire at another prominent restaurant, Herbsaint. His experiences eventually became instrumental in influencing the groundwork and philosophy, as well as helping to establish his leadership skills needed for his own endeavor.
Just last month, The Company Burger opened its doors as what may have seemed like a typical in-and-out joint with a menu that consists of predominantly burgers and fried sides. However, anyone who has dined there would beg to differ with that misconception. Biderman’s establishment is anything but a typical burger joint.
The philosophy is to keep everything all-natural and local by using unprocessed meats, locally-baked buns and desserts, and fresh produce from nearby farms. The foundation of this philosophy had been conceptualized since Biderman’s days at Restaurant Eugene, where they also believed in keeping all their ingredients local. However, going beyond merely using fresh ingredients, Biderman is contributing to local farmers and businesses in the region and continuing to stimulate the local economy.
He also wants to incorporate more greens into his menu, by gradually creating unique vegetable sides into his daily specials such as fried okra, grilled brussel sprouts, and house-made pickles to name a few of his recent concoctions. In continuing with his mission to deliver new items to New Orleans burger lovers, Chef Biderman creates different types of condiments, such as a few of his own variations of mayonnaise and mustard, all available at no extra cost.
Even the camaraderie between Chef Biderman and his staff is unique, all evident through the systematic teamwork visible through the open kitchen and even in the presentation of the food. Although his chefs are trained in fine dining, they all take the same pride in creating each burger after being taught the entire process specifically by the chef himself. The dynamic between the entire staff and partisanship during the fast-paced lunch hour only further confirms Chef Biderman’s strong leadership skills.
Although Chef Biderman’s burger is gaining popularity at full speed, he had already established a very loyal following prior to the opening of The Company Burger with the help of social media, word of mouth, and his participation in Hogs for the Cause. After participating and then winning three awards earlier this year at the charity’s annual pork cook-off , which had more than 5,000 attendees, word of Biderman’s cooking skills and impending opening of his restaurant gained quick momentum throughout the city.
Beyond his incredible resume, participation in community activities, and passion in the kitchen, Biderman’s success is driven in large part by his entrepreneurial spirit. His effort to introduce new concepts to the classic, American burger, and his pride in being a part of a movement of entrepreneurs that is contributing to New Orleans, and specifically Freret Street, have been manifested in his business. While remaining positive and humble, Chef Biderman aspires to continue the popularity of his burgers and establishment. With his mission of “one burger to rule them all,” his plan is to continue to introduce variations of the classic burger, and more specifically, create an experience at his establishment like so many of the older, traditional restaurants have done through the years.
“I want to be part of the culinary tradition in New Orleans,” adds Chef Biderman as he reminisces on some of his favorite local restaurants while simultaneously handing out food orders. “I want my restaurant to evoke positive memories and experiences the same way Casamento’s does for me.”
The Company Burger’s philosophy encompasses all things that are American — American burgers, American-grown produce, American football, American beer, and even the American dream. Within one month of opening, Biderman’s success can be gauged not only by the popularity of his burgers, but also by the consistent crowd of very pleased patrons, stream of congratulatory tweets, and praise from various renowned chefs throughout the city. His entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity in the kitchen have proved to be the perfect recipe for his flourishing business.
Adriana Lopez writes about the entrepreneurial community for NolaVie and Silicon Bayou News. She also showcases local start-ups such as the one profiled here through her non-profit organization GenNOLA. For more information on NolaVie, visit NolaVie.com.