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INCIDENT STATEMENT FROM THE VORTEX – L5P

An incident occurred recently at The Vortex that has become a topic of conversation on social media. To help avoid any misinformation, the following is our official statement.

On July 6, 2017, we received a complaint, via email, from a customer named Kristina. In her email she conveyed a story about receiving poor service on the previous day, from a server named Gaven. She felt that Gaven’s negative attitude may have reflected a racist attitude on his part. She further explained, that due to her dissatisfaction with his service, instead of adding a tip in the tip line of her credit card slip, she wrote “Treat everyone the same.” She further reported that after she had left The Vortex, apparently Gaven had shared the note on Kristina’s charge slip with his boyfriend Patrick, who happened to be dining in Gaven’s section at the same time. After reading Kristina’s message, it seems that Patrick took it upon himself to find Kristina on Facebook and proceeded to send her hostile and ignorant messages, which were saved in screen shots.

At this point I think it’s important to clarify that Gaven had only been employed at The Vortex for a matter of weeks. And Patrick has never been employed by us at all. At The Vortex, we have developed a detailed set of training materials regarding proper service and acceptable employee behavior. Of course, none of Gaven’s behavior was acceptable, or condoned by us.

We rely on our loyal patrons to make us aware of any bad behavior they may witness on the part of our staff. This gives us the opportunity to investigate these situations, and take whatever corrective action is appropriate. Being attentive to the concerns of our customers has helped us maintain a quality experience for all of our guests over the past 25 years. Below is the email reply, sent out on the same day (7/6/17) by one of The Vortex co-owners:

“Kristina,
We sincerely appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention. Our goal has always been to foster an atmosphere of fun and mutual respect at The Vortex. We completely agree with the sentiment “treat everyone the same” and strictly demand it of our staff, with no exceptions. It seems as though we did not deliver on that promise during your recent visit. Gaven is a new employee who apparently does not understand our mission. In no event will we ever tolerate our patrons being bullied or harassed by anyone, including friends or family of our staff. We take this matter very seriously and will be taking swift corrective action. Rest assured, Gaven and Patrick will not be allowed to return to The Vortex. We hope this will not deter you from patronizing The Vortex again in the future. We would be happy to provide you with a Vortex Gift Certificate in an attempt to apologize for this unfortunate experience.”

The General Manager then followed-up with a phone call to Kristina, to make sure that she had received the owner’s reply, and to get a mailing address for the Gift Certificate, which was sent out immediately. In an attempt to avoid the chance of allowing Gaven the opportunity to upset any more customers, the General Manager then called him in on his day off to serve him with a separation notice. His employment was terminated for gross misconduct, with the understanding that he is not welcome to return to the premises. Because Patrick is not an employee, we had our attorney draft a notice of criminal trespass, which was sent to Patrick explaining that he is also no longer allowed on our property.

Unfortunately, some people are just awful. So, all we can do is just keep trying to be good to one another.

JUST STROKE IT

Several years ago, a good customer of The Vortex ​presented us with a carved wooden phallus, slightly over a foot tall, that he had purchased in Thailand. He explained that if we displayed it near our front door​ it would help “attract money and bring success.” We thanked him for his thoughtfulness and immediately placed it among the liquor bottles behind our bar. Soon after, we were contacted by the Travel Channel, and featured on “Man vs. Food.” That television exposure undeniably helped our business. So, was this whole chain of events purely coincidental? I didn’t think so.

In fact, I was so convinced of the power contained in this wooden wang, I made it a personal mission to help spread the good fortune to our loyal patrons. I contacted an old artist friend, and commissioned a bigger, better version of the magical phallus. On Easter Sunday of 2014, the new 3-foot high piece of sculpted mahogany splendor known as the #DickOfDestiny was installed in the Midtown Vortex. Since that time, hundreds (maybe thousands) of customers have given our big wooden dick a good rub, and made a wish or said a little personal prayer. Does it work? Many people swear that it does.

Imagery of the phallus has been prevalent and widespread throughout the world since the beginning of recorded history. Found within the art and religious practices of many cultures, the phallus is symbolic of strength, fertility, good fortune, prosperity, and protection. So next time you visit the Midtown Vortex, just stroke our big dick and see what happens. The universe is a mystery. What have you got to lose?

A TASTY EFFECT

A million years ago, when I was a kid, one Christmas my siblings and I gave our parents a fancy barbecue. My dad loved it. Our collective memory of him in the backyard grilling thick, juicy burgers over an open flame must have been resonating with us when we decided to open The Vortex​. At the time there weren’t many options for great burgers in Atlanta, so we thought serving a chargrilled burger, just like the ones our dad used to make for us, would be a really good idea for our bar. And it was.

Twenty-three years later, there’s now a profusion of burger offerings in our city. It seems like many of these newer places are using the griddle as their chosen cooking method. Unlike the chargrilling process – in which quality beef, proper seasoning and an open flame are the secret to the perfect burger – these griddled burgers are seared on a heated flat-top, and rely more heavily on the “Maillard Effect” for their flavor. This effect is a complex series of reactions between amino acids and reducing sugars in the meat, in which hundreds of different compounds are created. It’s actually a pretty tasty effect.

As an experiment, we took a Vortex burger patty and slapped it on our griddle. Then we tasted it side-by-side with a second Vortex burger patty cooked on our chargrill. The difference in flavor created by these two cooking methods is remarkable. I can’t say one is better than the other, because they’re both good, just different. Since we’ve always provided our fans with a variety of tasty burgers, and since we’re the damned Godfather of Atlanta’s burger culture, we are now offering a couple of these griddled “Diner Style” burgers to our patrons on our menu.

Beginning today, you can order our “Greasy Spoon” burger (two griddled sirloin patties, topped with white American cheese, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and slathered with Vortex diner relish), and our “Double Decker Melt” (two griddled sirloin patties served between three slices of griddled white bread, topped with American cheese, bacon, tomato, pickle and our secret burger sauce). They’re both really good, and a fun departure from our staple chargrilled Vortex burgers. I highly recommend giving them a try.

Certain people might claim that serving griddled burgers at The Vortex is some type of burger-blasphemy, but if my dear pops were around today, I have no doubt he’d take a break from his fancy family barbecue grill to give one of these griddled burgers a try, and I’m sure he’d approve.

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