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Bred Gourmet

Founder Tambo Barrow has a passion for burgers

Martin Desmarais
Bred Gourmet
(Photo: Photo:OV Stills Photography)

Bred Gourmet serves up some serious burgers out of its Dorchester Lower Mills location on Dorchester Avenue. Launched a year and a half ago, the restaurant is the brainchild of 29-year-old local Tambo Barrow and already has earned a steady following and the kind of business numbers that has Barrow thinking of future locations.

The meat-between-the-buns of Bred’s success falls squarely on the shoulders of Barrow, who put a passion for burgers, his West Indian background and his foodie tendencies to work in crafting a restaurant concept that is unique among the competition and tasty enough to keep customers coming back again and again.

Along with his staff of five, he pretty much lives at Bred seven days a week — managing every detail to drive his business forward and make sure every customer that comes into the hip-looking burger joint leaves satisfied and happy.

Author: Photo: Courtesy Bred GourmetI am still figuring out a lot of things. I haven’t owned a restaurant for 20 years. I am not an expert by any means but I am a fast learner and I am always open to learning new things and taking advice. … My vision is to have a bunch of Breds. I want to have as many as I can without driving myself crazy.”
— Tambo Barrow

On the web

Bred Gourmet:

That is Barrow’s recipe for success – along with some tasty burger and sandwich options that intrigue from description and pack some serious flavor.

While other local burger concepts try to spin themselves as gourmet burgers, ultimately their products don’t deviate that much from the standard burger. By contrast, Bred delivers on its gourmet label.

Exhibit A: Barrow’s personal favorite menu item, the Maui burger. Starting with grass fed beef, the concoction features grilled pineapple, pepper jack cheese, crispy onions, sweet plantains, grilled ham and M&M Rib’s BBQ sauce — from the local, much-loved M&M Ribs food truck — all on a potato bun.

Barrow says that the Maui burger also has everything that makes Bred special, from local products and nutritional ingredients to elements that incorporate his heritage (his father is from Barbados and his mother is from Trinidad and Tobago), such as the aforementioned M&M’s sauce, grass fed beef and plantains.

Another gourmet homerun is the Parisian burger, which features bison, caramelized onion, Applewood smoked bacon, brie, sautéed mushrooms, truffle aioli and a free range egg on a brioche bun.

There also is a jerk salmon burger, turkey burger and sweet potato veggie burger. Sandwiches include jerk chicken breast, a BLT spin called the Cali BST with bacon, spinach and onion, pickles and bacon toppers.

“A lot of people are like me. They are adventurous in terms of eating food,” Barrow said. “But the first thing I do is, if it seems like they are not too adventurous, I try to sell them on the Bred Classic — that is the most popular one. That one always brings them back. If people eat the Bred Classic they will say, ‘That burger is good.’ So next time they come in, I will tell them to try the Maui or the Parisian.”

Either way Bred keeps the customers coming back. When Barrow opened the restaurant in January 2015 his goal was to sell about 500-600 burgers a week. It didn’t take Bred that long to hit that number; the business has been a profitable venture so far.

With no restaurant experience in his background, but with plenty of advice from friends in the food business, Barrow took a big leap when he left his corporate job with AIG to get into the burger business.

But he says it wasn’t a difficult decision for him. Yes, he loves food, but he also always wanted to be self-employed and he relished the thought of creating his own concept.

“I am the type of person that when I see something that I want to do, I want to do it my way. I don’t want anybody giving me directions, so I didn’t really want to do a franchise because that wouldn’t be mine. I want to be able to say that is mine — my creation,” Barrow said.

He also funded the start of Bred with his own savings. He did not take out any loans or seek outside investors. He wanted to have the whole thing riding on his shoulders as an incentive to put in the hard work that it takes to be successful.

The Mattapan native attended Latin Academy in Roxbury and then the University of Hartford, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance in 2009. After that, he joined AIG where he stayed five years, before leaving to launch Bred.

Despite the success to date, Barrow admits that each day he still learns what it takes to be a truly successful restaurateur.

“I am still figuring out a lot of things. I haven’t owned a restaurant for 20 years. I am not an expert by any means but I am a fast learner and I am always open to learning new things and taking advice,” he said.

One thing he has learned is that burger lovers like Bred and, because of that, he can envision future expansion. He says he probably will begin with more locations in Boston, while continuing his emphasis on improving efficiency and keeping a focus on quality over quantity.

“My vision is to have a bunch of Breds,” Barrow said. “I want to have as many as I can without driving myself crazy.”