We chatted with Ghostburger’s co-founder Kelly Phillips about what makes each dish unique and delicious.
Ghostburger emerged as one of D.C.’s first ghost kitchens at the height of the 2020 lockdown. Founded by Josh and Kelly Phillips under the umbrella of Destinations Unknown Restaurant Group, Ghostburger grew to a full-blown concept in Shaw by 2022.
The restaurant is known for proliferating an impressive menu, including build-your-own burger options, crispy fries, craft cocktails and cheesesteaks — a nod to Kelly Phillips’ Philadelphia roots. The cheesesteaks are the real deal, assembled with a secret cheese sauce blend and bread sourced from the iconic Sarcone’s Bakery in Philly.
Along with its mouth-watering menu, Ghostburger’s digs make it a perfect spooky season hang, where patrons will feel like kids again in the season of fangs and fright films.
“The vibe is colorful; there’s neon and being here reminds you of being in a punk rock, glam diner,” says Phillips, whose goth-chic style blends in seamlessly with the environment.
Inside the space, vibrant splashes of hot pink and a whimsical ghost motif are tempered by black walls and an industrial ceiling. The restaurant is tucked away behind black doors, its entrance illuminated by a single neon pink light.
“I think David Bowie would eat here,” Phillips says.
The restaurant’s punk rock proclivities and elevated comfort food are nothing if not nostalgic, where the mischievous protagonists of yesteryear’s American teen horror flicks would fit right in.
“I could see the women from ‘The Craft’ coming here after class for a burger and casting spells.”
Check out our close-ups of some of Ghostburger’s delicious dishes and libations — and Phillips’ perspective on what makes them so irresistible.
“The Shroomsteak is our vegetarian crowd-pleaser,” Phillips says. “It has cremini mushrooms and our cheese sauce on a Sarcone’s roll. It reminds me of a cheesesteak, but it’s plant-based — and so craveable.”
“The La Carina is one of our signature cocktails,” Phillips says. “It has vodka, hibiscus and lime. It’s tart, light and refreshing, and of course fits our vibe because it’s pink.”
“We have a special onion ring that stays crispy,” Phillips says. “We do a lot of delivery and the last thing you want is soggy onion rings. We found the perfect recipe and add a paprika mayo on the side.”
“The Mayahuel is our signature margarita with mezcal,” Phillips says. “It’s the perfect margarita. It’s not too sweet and has a bit of smoke and a nice, rich flavor.”
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