Award-winning hamburger  eatery opens in East Valley

Bret Shaprio, whose original Paradise Valley Burger Company has won numerous awards since he opened 12 years ago, has now opened a location in Tempe. (Courtesy of Bret Shapiro)

The award-winning and nationally renowned Paradise Valley Burger Company has sizzled into the East Valley.

The restaurant, which recently opened its second Valley location on the southwest corner of Rural and Baseline roads, Tempe, was founded 12 years ago by Bret Shapiro, whose unique menu has been featured on national TV shows like “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Man vs. Food.”

Shapiro started the Paradise Valley location not long after he was hired as a chef to create the menu for a Two Hippies Beach House restaurant.

“They were looking for a chef/partner to come and revamp their menu,” he said. “So I came up with this menu and I presented it to them. We had planned on partnering up on that joint, but halfway through our discussions they were like ‘we’re done,’ so I stepped in with the landlord, took the keys and that was 12 years ago.”

Shapiro has been running P.V Burger Co. ever since using that same menu with some unique burger creations he calls the most important parts of the shop’s success.

“The Burger Brulee is our most popular,” he said of his combination of a quarter-pound of beef, bacon, egg, Havarti cheese, pickled onion, lettuce, Thousand Island dressing on a burnt sugar bun.

“It has always been a winner for us… consistently day-to-day, we sell more of those than cheeseburgers. I feel like for a random hamburger place to have a specialty burger that is that out-of-the-box, it is pretty awesome.”

Moreover, he said, “You just can’t find that burger anywhere else and if you do they stole it for sure. We were the first ones to do it. It is … just 100% ours.”

Fans of Shapiro’s Paradise Valley eatery say the awards he has received are well-earned.

“I love Paradise Valley. Best burger ever. When I lived in Phoenix I would go at least once a week. It was something we did regularly,” said Nathan Lawida, who stumbled on the Tempe location by accident.

“I’ve been telling all my friends. I’m so happy that it is here because I moved out a year ago and haven’t been able to

go every weekend. So now I’m stoked,” said Lawida.

The building housing Shapiro’s Tempe restaurant was originally built by Smashburger and then briefly operated by

Matty G’s.

Shapiro said his business has stood the test of time – and staff loyalty.

“My staff is a million times better than his staff,” he said, referring to one of his competitors in the burger trade. “They work hard, they are loyal, they come back.”

His employees back that up.

“People don’t quit restaurants; they quit bosses and we have a great boss. I try to promote leadership and work hard for my team so my team works hard for me,” said Thomas Harambasic, lead kitchen staff.

Harambasic has been working with Shapiro for around a decade and came from the Phoenix location to help open and manage the new Tempe kitchen.

“I think we are doing the best job we can for now. We have a lot of people that still wanna work for us and we have a lot of new guys that are doing a great job,” Harambasic said. “Putting out the best burgers in the Valley.”

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