Alfred Gradus, the founder of the Alfredo’s Barbacoa American hamburger chain and the man credited with bringing the genre to Madrid, has died today aged 79.
The company, run by his wife and business partner of 40 years released a statement today confirming the news.
The first hamburger restaurant opened on his birthday in 1981 in Calle Lagasca and proved a hit with Madrileños who took to his home-made burgers and barbecue sauces.
His recipes of traditional American cuisine and Americana ambiente had a simple motiv – to bring the diner to the heart of America.
Originally from New York he discovered the Madrid of the 1960s whilst serving with the United States military at the nearby base of Torrejon.
It was whilst serving at the base that he learnt his trade from the cooks who served up a taste of home to the U.S servicemen stationed there.
It was there too that Alfred met his wife and future business partner who was working as a base translator.
The base itself was the largest and strategically most important US base in the country until the end of the Cold War.
Alfred became something of a celebrity in his own right and he won many accolades and prizes such as El Mundo´s Gastronómicos Metrópoli.
The company´s Instagram post said it all:
“We will miss you. “Alfredo left as he lived. Quietly and in his own way. God Bless. See you later cowboy”. Ana Maria
Indeed we will but those hamburgers will be around for a few years yet.
RIP Alfred Gradus