A Hole New World

Yes, you can swap donuts for buns at Sugar Shack owner’s newest venture, Luther Burger.


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Sugar Shack may have only been around since 2013, but in those five years it’s become a Richmond staple for fresh doughnuts and coffee. And as of this week, it’s also the purveyor of the area’s newest selection of burgers, fries and shakes. On March 26, Luther Burger, attached to the Huguenot Road Sugar Shack in Chesterfield, officially opened for business.

Sugar Shack and Luther Burger owner Ian Kelley was inspired by his favorite restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida: Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, a no-frills, cash-only spot near the water that serves up house-smoked fish, burgers and beer.

“It’s the best, most simple burger ever,” Kelley says. “Now that I have kids I don’t get to go down there as much, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring back some of my childhood love locally.”

The menu is simple: griddle-smashed burgers in the beef, turkey, crab and vegan varieties, plus waffle fries, milkshakes, soda and beer. Each burger is served with lettuce, tomato, onion, classic ketchup-and-mayo burger sauce and cheese. The hot, crispy waffle fries are available with a heavy dusting of seasonings like sea salt, white cheddar, garlic Parmesan, Buffalo, Old Bay, jalapeño and, for those drawn to heat, the house-made “dragon’s breath,” a spicy Thai flavor. Also served on the side are a couple pickle chips and a container of Luther sauce, a tangy, dill-based aioli for dipping created by manager and longtime Sugar Shacker James Henderson. Lettuce wraps are available upon request for a gluten-free option, and vegans will be pleased to find dairy-free cheese, burger sauce and milkshakes on the menu, in addition to the wheat-and-potato-based Impossible Burger patties.

The shakes, which Henderson says all have a vanilla ice cream base, are thick enough to warrant a straw as big around as your thumb. There are 17 flavors available, including classics like chocolate, strawberry, Oreo and coffee, plus taro, chai, pistachio, lavender and birthday cake. And if you just can’t decide, they’ll happily combine flavors for a custom shake.

If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, go ahead and Luther that burger: Order it piled between two Sugar Shack doughnuts instead of on a bun.

Henderson says the original Luther burger features two glazed doughnuts, but there’s no limit to the doughnut-and-burger combos they’ll whip up for you. His personal favorite, he says, was a burger with two maple-bacon doughnuts. Sprinkles, powdered sugar, or chocolate with shredded coconut may not be the first flavor combinations that come to mind when you think of burgers, but hey, no judgment here.

“I’ll do whatever the customer wants,” Henderson says.

Customers are welcome to enjoy their meals inside Sugar Shack, but anyone who orders a beer must remain in the area near the Luther Burger counter, or outside in one of the patio booths.

As for future iterations of Luther Burger, Kelley says the soon-to-open Sugar Shack in Charlottesville will have one attached to it, and other locations may also be on the horizon. So far, he says, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We are still developing and learning as we go, but we’ve seen some of the same faces three days in a row, and a few twice in a day,” Kelley says. “For now we are just trying to keep our heads above water with how busy it’s been.”

Luther Burger

Mondays - Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

1931 Huguenot Road, Bon Air