Celebrate National Hamburger Day with Novi Burger & Star Sailor
National Hamburger Day kicks off the summer grilling season, so at the end of this month, up-and-coming smash burger pop-up Novi Burger is teaming up with craft beer and wine boutique Star Sailor, located at 1710 West 18th in the Lazybrook neighborhood. The event — held the day before National Hamburger Day on Saturday, May 27 from 3 to 8 p.m. celebrates with a special menu featuring new items from both teams.
Husband and wife owners Nancy and Anthony Gutierrez debuted Novi Burger as a pop-up almost one year ago at Blue Tile Coffee’s original cart in Houston’s East End. (Blue Tile Coffee would go on to open a brick-and-mortar location). It was there that I first tried Novi’s burgers, and the quality was already quite impressive. The Gutierrez’s have since perfected their technique, maximizing the Maillard reaction onto ultra-thin patties, resulting in lacey, crunchy edges and deep, savory, beefy flavor. The patties are served on a buttery-soft Kraftsman Baking potato roll with smash burger sauce, pickles and melted American cheese. Of their work, Anthony very humbly stated that “We’ve been lucky to pop-up at some amazing places, have some amazing fans, and we can’t wait to see where we go with this little smash burger pop-up in the future.”
The upcoming event at Star Sailor will also introduce the public to Novi Burger’s smoked meats. In addition to regular beef patties, guests will be able to try pastrami burgers and sandwiches made with Novi Burger’s pastrami. Anthony told me many of his fondest memories growing up were of family barbecues and that “[Cooking] was a fun thing we did on the side when my family would get together. I would always be the one that offered to cook, and we got pretty good at making smash burgers every time for them. My biggest influence is the Novi namesake, my Dad’s childhood nickname. He was always a fan of cooking for large parties and I definitely got that trait from him.” So, when the opportunity presented itself last summer to turn his passion into something more, he decided to take the plunge. The Gutierrezes are already planning Novi Burger’s first anniversary bash which will take place at Frost Town Brewing on Sunday, June 25. They plan to debut new burgers, barbecue items and desserts at the event.
Star Sailor, which is owned-and-operated by local craft beer and marketing maven Marin Slanina, is no stranger to smash burgers either. It offers the Star Sailor Smashburger on the regular menu, which comes with melted cheese, chopped onions and pickles, along with a proprietary “Stellar Sauce”. On “Smash Burger Wednesdays”, it comes with a Montucky Cold Snack tallboy and chips for $10. Slanina even serves them up on Mondays, when Star Sailor is closed, at Equal Parts Brewing as an industry night special paired with a pint of Loggerbier for $10. The Houston craft beer community is known for exciting collaborations, and Slanina, who has an extensive background working at breweries such as B-52 Brewing Co., Wiley Roots Brewing Co. and Urban South HTX, has brought that same creative spirit to Star Sailor, along with her unflappable work ethic.
If burgers aren’t your thing, Star Sailor has a number of other noshable items on the menu perfect for sharing over libations, including charcuterie boards, bruschetta, all-day breakfast platters, vegetarian sandwiches, tacos, and Stella’s Cuban made with house-roasted pork, ham, mustard, Swiss and Provolone cheese on a toasted bolillo. It’s also a great option for private events and large parties, as it offers custom food, wine and beer menus as well as spacious indoor and outdoor seating.
Star Sailor is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Mario-Sebastian Berry is a wine and spirits vendor who has been in the hospitality industry since 2002. Currently, he represents Blanco, Texas-based Andalusia Whiskey Co. and multiple wine labels. Somehow, he also finds time to be Houston Food Finder’s associate editor and social media manager.