See inside Hartlepool's newest restaurant that serves up 'filthy burgers' and mouthwatering pub grub
A pop-up burger business born during the pandemic has held its official launch after finding a permanent home.
Bar and restaurant DING has opened in Hartlepool’s Church Street serving up mouthwatering ‘dirty’ food including their variety of signature smashed burgers.
Friends Tom Cook, Jamie Shires and Stuart Douglass have spent the last few months turning the former Reflections bar into a 50-seater bar and restaurant with a punk vibe.
The business, originally called Burger DING, started in August of last year with Jamie, 33, serving up the smashed burgers from his garden.
It then operated as a pop up sharing space in existing Hartlepool eateries including The Pot House on the Headland and Mary Lambert in the town centre.
More recently it has been doing deliveries from an anonymous kitchen while the team searched for a permanent base.
Tom, 32, said: “This is the first real home of the business.
"It’s an amazing building. We have basically stripped it back and made it a bit punky.”
And despite opening at a difficult time for the industry amid Covid and talk of new restrictions, they are optimistic.
Tom added: “It’s anticipated our Prime Minister might tell us to shut down after Christmas.
"There is a nervousness around it but as we have for the last year you just have to adapt.”
DING, a nod to the Hartlepool slang word, serves up a range of home made smashed burgers laden with different toppings.
Smashed burgers are pressed patties that have a greater contact area on the grill.
They also serve Hartlepool twists on pub grub such as the Poolie Pootine, replacing the Canadian dish’s fries, cheese curds and gravy with roasties, cheese and Sunday dinner style beef gravy.
But it has not all been smooth sailing in opening the restaurant.
It had originally been intended to open DING a few doors away in the former Ladbrookes on the corner of Station Approach after taking on the building in May.
But the plans were hit by repeated break-ins to the property above which caused flooding and water damage.
The team are still renovating the building and plan to launch a separate, more refined bar restaurant in March.
Tom added: “It’s been a difficult year and a funny ride, but we’re excited nonetheless.”