A sister restaurant of Citizen Public House and The Gladly, Commander Hamburger opened last October in The Churchill food hall. It served a twist on American favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream to Roosevelt Row patrons.
We were quick to visit. It seemed destined to become a neighborhood staple.
Now, it's gone.
"The Commander Hamburger location at The Churchill closed due to COVID-mandated closures in the spring," Andrew Fritz, an operator and partner in In Good Spirits, Commander Hamburger's hospitality company, says in an email to Phoenix New Times. "Coupled with reduced business and event traffic downtown, and the marches and protests, we weren’t able to restore the location to its prior business levels safely or with consistency."
Commander may rise again, though, in some form.
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"We are working on a virtual restaurant version of Commander Hamburger with the original, full menu, and exploring options for the brand’s physical store presence in the future," Fritz says.
And the namesake Commander Burger, which was on its way to becoming a top-tier burger in town, is still available elsewhere. "We have a beefed-up version of the signature burger on the menu at both of our other restaurants, The Gladly and Citizen Public House," Fritz says.
For now, we'll continue to miss the spicy chicken sandwich (fried to perfection, topped with ghost pepper aioli and spiced jalapeños, wedged between slices of a Noble Bread bun). And don't get us started on the tater tots — golden, crispy morsels impeccably seasoned and promptly eaten. We hope to meet these menu items again soon.