One of the best-loved burger bars in both St Leonards-on-Sea and Eastbourne, Half Man! Half Burger! has just celebrated three years since opening their first restaurant in St Leonards by selling a staggering 350 burgers in less than three hours.
HM!HB! delivers an experience true burger fans can’t get enough of. Co-owners Rory Myers and Matt Woodhouse source all their ingredients from local suppliers, including the grass-fed, pastured Sussex beef, leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of serving the tastiest burgers possible. Sheer hard work and integrity are the lifeblood of their business.
Ed Sheeran made a stop to eat with us on a Monday but we were closed. After that, we started opening seven days a weekRory MyersCo-owner HM!HB!
Gaining their influences from authentic American burger bars and the street-food scene in Brooklyn, New York, their restaurants are filled with indie music posters, complimenting the pared-back, retro-industrial interior - enough to rival the best gourmet burger chains.
HM!HB! started life as a pop-up in various venues and street food events in Brighton, before Rory and Matt took the business on the road to festivals including Glastonbury and Sonisphere selling a wide range of juicy burgers and lucky for those festival-goers, HM!HB!’s menu proved more than enough to cure a hangover!
Following the success of their first permanent restaurant in the iconic art-deco building Marina Court on the seafront in St Leonards in 2015, HM!HB! expanded a year later to Eastbourne. Filled with vinyl record stores, indie coffee shops and bookstores, HM!HB! found a second home on Grove Road in the Little Chelsea part of town.
We already had people visiting regularly from Eastbourne so opening our second restaurant here was a no-brainer
What stands out about the HM!HB! experience, apart from the delicious food, is the warmth of the staff. As you enter, you're greeted with a smile from friendly ‘burgeristas’ - just a reflection of the relaxed vibe HM!HB! channels from its staff to its valued customers. The true beauty of HMHB is that it caters for all tastes regardless of age. From the St Leonards locals to kids looking for a cool hang out and even grandparents. HMHB maintains a laid-back feel that attracts a constant stream of hungry customers which has earned them a hardcore Half Man! Half Burger! faithful.
HM!HB! prides itself on being inclusive to all, whether meat lovers or veggies, and has, in turn, gained a huge vegan following. The food on offer ranges from Bean Caught Stealin' vegan burger, vegan cheese fries to vegan milkshakes and even vegan gluten-free chocolate brownies, accompanied by their famous rosemary fries and halloumi devil fingers. In July 2018, the first ever vegan special burger, the mighty ‘Beanie Mother Frickle’, was added to the menu to cater for the growing vegan market.
It would have been almost impossible at the beginning without the funding through Locate East SussexMatt Woodhouse Co-owner HM!HB!
As a measure of HM!HB!’s success it was named Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 at the Best of East Sussex Business Awards, which celebrates new businesses across the county. Proudly branded 4.5/5* on Tripadvisor and The Telegraph, HM!HB! has not reached the height of their success just yet, with potential plans to open a third burger restaurant and perhaps more in the future.
Way back when HM!HB! opened itsfirst permanent restaurant, with the help of Locate East Sussex, Matt and Rory successfully applied for funding to help renovate the venue in St Leonards. The loan and grant helped to equip a whole new kitchen, refurbish the interior and support the creation of five new jobs.
The success of its St Leonards restaurant led to the opening of its Eastbourne restaurant in 2016. To support this growth, HM!HB! secured further funding to employ more staff, refurbish the premises and create space needed for storage, food preparation and cloakroom facilities.
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Image credits: HM!HB!