Ian Neville and Charcoal Burger

00:00 December 21, 2013
By: Emily Hingle

 For ten years, Dumpstaphunk has not only been rocking New Orleans with their brand of funk fuse, but they’ve attracted much national and international attention, recently completing a short tour with Lionel Ritchie. The band’s original youngest member, guitarist Ian Neville, discusses his musical career, “I got into music from just always being around the gigs, even sleeping in the dressing room at Tip’s. In 6th grade, me and some friends had a band. One of those guys, Ted Joyner, he’s in The Generationals. I started sitting in with the Funky Meters with my dad when I was 13, and I played in the Neville Brothers after high school, then Dumpstaphunk started shortly after that.”
The most recent and critically-acclaimed Dumpstaphunk album, Dirty Word, still catches him by surprise. “If you haven’t picked up the new Dumpsta record, go check it out. I mean that coming from a place of liking good music. I went back to listen to one of the songs to reference something and ended up listening to the whole record because I knew what song was next and thought, ‘Damn, I want to hear that.’ I feel like it’s a good solid record; New Orleans vibe and outside influences all coming together,” says Neville proudly.
Ian Neville is just as proud of his city and wants to see it grow with new businesses and lots of entertainment. For example, Neville is a supporter of the hotly debated Habana Outpost restaurant slated to be on the corner of Esplanade Avenue and Rampart Street. “You can have a dilapidated gas station or you can go get some of the best Grilled Corn you’ve ever ate in your life. That seems like a no-brainer to me. I go to the one in New York every time if I can. He does lots of neighborhood stuff; he’s not picky about helping his surrounding community,” claims Neville.
Ian Neville says that he loves good New Orleans food as well as international foods, and that his own kitchen is the best place to have it. However, one new restaurant is drawing him in with their specialty foods. “When I go out, lately, I’ve been hitting up Charcoal Burger. They have pretty killer burgers in there.”
The feeling is mutual: Charcoal loves the Nevilles and Dumpstaphunk! Charcoal Gourmet Burger Bar’s “killer” burgers are not limited to beef patties. The owners and creators of Charcoal, located in the stately new building at 2200 Magazine Street, Craig Walker Jr. and Blaine Prestenbach, are born sportsmen who like a variety of meat and toppings, and invite customers to build their burger to their satisfaction. “Blaine and I both hunt and fish. I think it shocked us in the beginning to know how much desire there is for wild game, and the combinations that we’ve created here,” says Walker.
Both restaurateurs share a similar story: born in Houma, moved to Lafayette with their mothers, attended the University of New Orleans, and moved to Baton Rouge for further education. And they both felt that they had to come back to New Orleans to help rebuild the city after Katrina, and to realize their vision for a gourmet burger restaurant. “We started on this concept seven years ago now. In the midst of doing that, we opened Somethin’ Else Café and a seafood market. We love New Orleans. It’s a delight to live out your dream in a city that you love,” states Prestenbach.
Like Ian Neville, Walker and Prestenbach are adamant about the growth of their city. “We had been warned about building here. But that’s what it was all about: the rebuild. It wasn’t about choosing where it would fit best. It’s about where you think you can drive some kind of economic turn. We’re becoming a neighborhood of restaurants. It’s about driving economics. Who wants to stand alone?” questions Prestenbach. Walker answers, “It’s a win-win having multiple concepts.”
Having just opened in February 2013, Charcoal Burger is winning over the locals with their variety of meats, toppings, cheeses, sauces, and even buns that are all made in house, from scratch, and cooked to order. The meat options range from House Beef to Antelope and Elk. There are also seafood burgers including Salmon, and a veggie patty made of Red Beans and Rice. “We have a lot of regulars come for the exotic meats because where else can you get a Venison Burger. Some people offer a Kobe Beef patty, but that’s frozen. We spend a lot of time in the actual technique of pressing the burger, allowing us to have a unique product,” says Walker. The way that Charcoal Gourmet Burger Bar is going, they are sure to be grilling all kinds of burgers for years to come.

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