FREMONT — You know you’re at the right place when even the parking lot smells wonderful.
The aroma of meat being smoked and special sauces simmering on the stove draws patrons inside, where a trendy, upscale interior boasts seven flat-screen TVs and glossy tabletops.
“Jason made the tables himself,” said Laurel Korman, co-owner of Black Label Burgers & Shakes at 1755 N. Bell St.
Jason has been running Korman Construction Co., since 2016, so he was the natural choice for renovating the space formerly occupied by Mac’s Café.
“Everything has stayed pretty much the way it was,” Jason said of the new business, which opened in September. “I painted the copper ceiling black.”
The shiny black ceiling enhances the sleek, industrial look Laurel wanted for their restaurant.
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Originally from Chicago, Laurel brought her big-city décor to a family-fun eatery that offers a special menu for the kids.
“They can have their chicken nuggets and their corndogs,” she said, “while the grownups enjoy some new twists on old favorites.”
Although Jason and Laurel had always dreamed of running a restaurant, they didn’t want theirs to be just like all the others.
“We wanted to bring something new to Fremont that they’ve never had before,” Jason said.
Mac & Jack bites, bacon cheese barrels topped with boom-boom sauce, and their smokehouse sampler are just a few of the unique items being served.
Black Label also boasts gourmet burgers, such as the Kormans’ version of the classic hangover.
“It’s got what you would normally have in the morning when you’re hung over,” Laurel said.
This burger includes bacon & eggs and hot sauce as well as diner aioli on Texas toast.
Another specialty burger is the Boss Hogg, which has pulled pork, smoked cheese, onions, barbecue sauce, and bacon jam on a house roll.
The Black Label burger offers up shoulder bacon, smoked cheddar, a whiskey glaze, caramelized onions, and mushrooms.
In addition to their in-house smoker, the Kormans also have a a wood-fire pizza oven.
“We wanted to put smoked meat on our pizzas,” Laurel said.
Handcrafted shakes are served with a unique style as well. Chocolate milk & cookies, strawberry cheesecake, birthday cake, and mint chocolate brownie are some of the sweet treats the Kormans offer.
They also serve signature cocktails. Malibu sunsets and blue lagoons are two of their most popular drinks, along with their Black Label punch.
As proud as they are of the menu, Jason and Laurel are equally proud of their staff.
Two of the Kormans’ employees are their children, Cassie and Jayden.
In addition to working at the restaurant, Jayden has also been working with his dad at the family construction company.
“Jayden’s the one who came up with the name for our restaurant,” Laurel said. “We don’t know what gave him the idea, but we went with it.”
“We’ve been really fortunate,” Laurel said, “The citizens in Fremont have been great. A lot of repeat business!”
For the coming winter months, the Kormans will be including chili and soups on the menu.
“We’re also working on three or four new sauces,” she added.
Because many of their customers are business professionals who prefer not to dine in, the Kormans have been getting requests for online ordering.
“That’s in the works too,” she said.
Black Label Burgers & Shakes is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Mondays.