Food & Drink

Rad Burger – Radical, Exciting, Just add mangoes

Ben Kelly and Alan Carter are part of the original RAD BURGER team.  They started out on the street-food scene in 2012 when it was quite a young beast.  Having done their time rubbing shoulders with jam makers and candle sellers, they’re now established in Kent as one of the most exciting burger creators in the county.  Expect unusual yet complementary flavours, exciting and unique combinations, and halloumi. This cheese has played a pivotal role in the development of RAD BURGER.  Folkelife met Ben and Alan for a chat.

Ben: “Back in 2012 the street-food scene was only just starting.  We went around to different places and have a catalogue of venues behind us: Silverstone, Glastonbury, Goodwood, and a lot of stuff in London.   We would drive to all these places to get our name out to as many people as possible.  After a while it became important to us to base ourselves somewhere and do something closer to home.  I’m from Canterbury and Alan’s an old friend from school.  We wanted to find places where we could establish an identity that suited the venue we were based in.  That’s important for us here in Folkestone, to give this an individual feel so that when you come to visit, you get something different.”

it doesn’t feel like work

Alan: “I’m the manager of our Whistable location.  And what I’ve found working for RAD BURGER is that it’s got an energy and excitement to it.  I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for ages and then started to help Ben out with the odd shift here and there a number of years ago.  And each time I did a shift I was really keen to do more.  Then a full-time position came up and I haven’t looked back.  The energy that Ben puts into the food is what he gives to the whole business so it’s a really great place to work.”

Ben: “My thought was always that this shouldn’t feel like work.  This should be fun. Food is fun, burgers are fun, and so why should working creating burgers be any different?”

Rad Burger Ben and chips
Rad Burger Fish
Rad Burger Cheese Burger
Rad Burger

halloumi and mango chutney

Ben: “Halloumi was a big thing for us when we started.  And at that time people thought of it as a squeaky cheese and not much more.  We paired it with mango chutney and our beef patty.  It sort of shouldn’t work, but it really does.  We’d have queues 70 people long just wanting that burger.  We started off working with the likes of Pork & Co, side by side, doing our own things and having people queuing round the block.”

Alan: “We’ve added a lot to the menu since then as the vegan and gluten-free options have improved.  And where we’ve worked where the turnover has been really high, we’ve had to make various sauces and stuff ahead of time.  You have to be realistic.  When you’re at Silverstone, you don’t have time to create the mayonnaise and chutney sauce for each customer.  However, here in Folkestone we’re going to have the space to serve a broader menu and bring back that focus to locally-sourced, freshly-made.”

fish burgers

Ben: “It’s important to us to work with local suppliers to where we’re located.  And I want to talk to the fishermen here and see how we can get more fish into our menu.  This is also going to be our first location where we can serve alcohol which is exciting.  We’ve got a selection of ‘hardshakes’ we’re building up.  Think milkshakes but boozy.”

Alan: “We used to come to Folkestone as kids to play football, rugby, cricket and so on.  I can remember we’d walk up to the end of the Arm and around and things have changed a lot since then.  It’s an exciting place to be.  I can imagine people walking around in the sun, exploring, and if you find a place with a table outside then you and the family can tuck into burgers, fish, chicken, everything, knowing that it’s delicious and something different.  We can’t wait!”

Discover more about Folkestone below

Gaia Studio – At Home at Folkestone Harbour
The Dessert Folkes – The Best Pudding In Folkestone
Gobsmack’d – A Burger To Get Your Mouth Around
Floc to The Goods Yard for Whisper Beer

Sign up to our Newsletter