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Fukuburger truck makes leap to brick-and-mortar restaurant

Restaurateur Harry Morton of the Pink Taco brand is bringing the Las Vegas-based Fukuburger food truck concept to Los Angeles as a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Colin Fukunaga, co-founder and co-owner of the Las Vegas Fukuburger truck, said Morton — son of Hard Rock Café founder Peter Morton and grandson of Morton’s Steakhouse chain founder Arnie Morton — discovered the burger truck when he was looking for new concepts to add to his portfolio.

“I love everything about Fukuburger,” Morton said in a statement. “Colin and [co-owner Robert] Mags [Magsalin] are a totally unique duo, and I also love the street scene that Fukuburger attracts. I think it will translate very well to Hollywood, where it has the potential to become a great local hangout.”

Los Angeles-based Harry Morton Holdings owns the Pink Taco restaurant and bar concept in Los Angeles, as well as nightclubs such as the legendary Viper Room and Beacher’s Madhouse.

Fukunaga, who plans to continue operating the truck in Las Vegas, will be Morton’s partner in the Los Angeles Fukuburger location, a 2,000-square-foot restaurant in Hollywood with about 60. It is scheduled to open before the end of September.

Magsalin will serve as head chef.

Morton has committed to opening two more Los Angeles locations, as well as a unit in Las Vegas, Fukunaga said.

Like the truck, the brick-and-mortar location will have a small menu of six burgers with beer and wine.

Fukuburger is known for its “all-American burgers with a Japanese twist,” said Fukunaga, who was born in Los Angeles.

“We focus on the flavor of our meat, which comes in fresh daily from our butcher, and we marinate it and hand-form our patties,” Fukunaga said.

The signature Fuku-burger, for example, includes the marinated-beef “fuku-patty” with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickled ginger, topped with American cheese and “fuku-sauce.”

All burgers are $5, though Fukunaga said prices will likely be somewhat higher at the brick-and-mortar locations.

The limited menu aims to replicate the In-N-Out Burger model of a simplified menu executed well, said Fukunaga.

Clint Clausen, director of operations for Harry Morton Holdings, said Fukuburger’s appeal lies in the, “simplicity of its food and dynamic flavor profile.”

“Rock-and-roll clothier” Kelly Cole is designing the Los Angeles restaurant with a red, black and gray color scheme that reflects the truck’s design.

Before the end of the year, Harry Morton Holdings also plans to open a 16,000-square-foot flagship Pink Taco location, with more restaurants planned for the Los Angeles area and other cities.

Hard Rock International, owners of the Hard Rock Café, operates the Las Vegas Pink Taco location. A previous Pink Taco unit in Scottsdale, Ariz., closed during the recession, Clausen said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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