By MIA BASS
Hamburger Heaven’s walls are coated in Alabama and Auburn paintings, photos of famous celebrities and even Homewood High School and Parks and Rec teams. Like the rest of the city, owner Kirk Roberts just loves Homewood.
Paula Deen even stopped by to check out the cheeseburger last year. “I didn’t believe it when my manager told me she [Paula Deen] was in the dining room,” Roberts said, “But there she was. She said she heard we had some good food and we brought out a few milkshakes after she finished the cheeseburger.”
Their special sauce is what sets the burger apart, so what’s the secret? “It’s really just a mixture of ketchup and mustard with a little Worcestershire thrown in,” Roberts said. The sauce can be ordered online so you can use it to grill at home.
The ground beef used in the hamburgers is delivered fresh daily. “We have a guy who comes in at 5 a.m. just to hand-pat the burgers,” Roberts said. Unlike other places, the burgers are cooked on a char grill, like your grill at home. The meat is never frozen, and lettuce, tomato and onions are cut fresh every morning.
Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, onion and Hamburger Heaven sauce.
Of course Hamburger Heaven is famous for its burgers, but the menu offers other options as well. Roberts said his three-decker club, grilled chicken breast and grilled chicken salad are also popular. The kids’ meals offer a choice between a mini-cheeseburger, two chicken fingers, a grilled cheese or a hot dog, and each comes with free ice cream.
Hamburger Heaven’s famous milkshakes are made with real fruit and are hand-spun on a spinning wheel. You can choose between the traditional vanilla, chocolate or strawberry or branch out to banana, peach, peanut butter, cherry or orange dream. They also have sundaes, hot fudge cake and flurries packed with some of your favorite candies.
The restaurant started serving breakfast in December 2009. “We’ve really had a good crowd come out for breakfast,” he said. They offer biscuits with meats including sausage, bacon, chicken and ham and also have the Southern staples, grits, hash cakes and scrambled eggs. For those rushing to work in the morning, the Breakfast Quickie is the way to go. It’s a combination of grits, scrambled eggs, cheese and your choice of meat in a bowl you can take with you.
Most customers don’t know that Hamburger Heaven offers catering for parties and tailgates.
Roberts got into the hamburger business five years ago. It took two years of convincing from his friend, Pete Flack, but Roberts opened the first Hamburger Heaven in Homewood.
Although Roberts has earned a grade of 100 from the Alabama Health
Department four times and has won multiple awards for Hamburger Heaven, one stands out above the rest—The Educational Service Award presented by Homewood City Schools. “Only one business receives the award per year and it was an honor,” Roberts said. Roberts and Hamburger Heaven host pancake breakfasts and other fundraisers that go to help various organizations in Homewood.
In February, Hamburger Heaven hosted a pancake fundraiser for the baseball and softball teams at Homewood High School, and they also handle an annual fundraiser for the cheerleaders. “Hamburger Heaven Night” is a designated night for a percentage of Hamburger Heaven’s sales benefits a team, school or organization. It’s also popular amongst the park and rec league teams as well.
Roberts has raised his two children in Homewood. His oldest son, Wilson, just graduated from Homewood High School in May and will attend UAB in the fall.
His youngest, Henry, is a rising junior who plays baseball at Homewood.
So for the real question, is Roberts an Alabama or Auburn fan? Though I hate to admit it, he might be the nicest Auburn fan I’ve met yet.
180 Oxmoor Road
Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Friday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.