H&F Burger’s Chef Linton Hopkins gives one heck of a pep talk.
“Food Network said our burger is the number one cheeseburger in America,” he tells the crew of his restaurant located inside midtown Atlanta’s Ponce City Market. Since America invented the cheeseburger, it’s the number-one cheeseburger in the world. And since we know no one else in our solar system is making cheeseburgers, I get to say it’s the number one cheeseburger in the solar system.”
Now, the decorated chef has another bragging right.
He serves his beloved burgers with Coca-Cola poured from the only working Raymond Loewy-designed soda fountain in the world.
A One-of-a-Kind Pour
Loewy, often considered the father of industrial design, helped to modernize the look of Coca-Cola. His vision shaped the mid-Century design of Coca-Cola delivery trucks, coolers, vending machines and more. His streamlined take on the Coca-Cola soda fountain, introduced in 1947, became an instant classic.
Now, 70 years later, Loewy’s designs remain relevant in the eyes of Chef Hopkins. For the James Beard-award winner and chef-owner of Atlanta-based eateries Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch among others, Loewy was more than an industrial designer. He was a timeless visionary who could capture the past and future in a soda dispenser. He was an artisan whose legacy lives on today.
Hopkins approached Coca-Cola, an “artisan that’s gone real big,” about building a working Loewy-designed fountain, revamped with contemporary dispensing technology.
“And Coke,” Hopkins says with a smile, “was crazy enough to say ‘yes’.”
A Meal that Makes Moments
The tricked-out dispenser has gotten its fair share of use in H&F Burger over the last five months, building a reputation for its stellar serve in a bell-shaped glass over crushable pebble ice.
Perfecting the pour is important to Hopkins, who sees Coca-Cola as an ideal complement to his signature burgers. He points to the carbonated sweetness and slight bitterness of Coca-Cola as a palate cleanser that harmonizes with the texture, heat and saltiness of a savory burger.
“It’s a natural pairing,” he says.
Part of what makes this fit, Hopkins believes, is the shared history of the hamburger and Coca-Cola, both of which emerged in the late 1800s.
“I think a lot back to the idea that there was actually a moment when someone ate a cheeseburger and drank a Coke for the first time," he says.
Hopkins wants to create similarly special moments for his patrons, encouraging them to consider familiar foods in new ways.
“I just want people to stop for a moment with the things we think are so everyday," he concludes, "and say, ‘That was a great Coke.’”
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