Mocha Jo's Burger Bar on the right track at Ripponlea

Mocha Jo's Burger Bar, Ripponlea, is an American-style diner.
Mocha Jo's Burger Bar, Ripponlea, is an American-style diner. 

The building is small but the flavours are big at the new burger joint next to Ripponlea Station, previously Lot 3. Patties are made from 600-day grain-fed wagyu – as you'd expect, they're rich and buttery, served on fluffy milk buns with no-nonsense toppings like American cheese, pickles and bacon.

Burger insurgents may prefer fried chicken with bourbon bacon jam or the Vegas Vegan with sweet potato patty and chipotle coconut yoghurt.

Chips are thick-cut and crunchy, onion rings are shatter-crisp and shakes are thick enough to keep straws upright.

The Southern Cali with double US cheese, lettuce, bourbon bacon jam, tomato and chipotle mayo.
The Southern Cali with double US cheese, lettuce, bourbon bacon jam, tomato and chipotle mayo. 

Owner Christo Christophidis based the American-style diner on the first MJ's in Glen Waverley, an outdoor canteen behind his flagship Mocha Jo's restaurant. He's a Ripponlea boy at heart, though. Christophidis grew up above the local milk bar (his mother still runs it), and he co-owns nearby Ripponlea Food & Wine.

The cute Federation-era building that houses MJ's stands alone on the western side of Glen Eira Avenue and was probably built for the station master.

But when Christophidis was a child it was a hairdressing salon and he remembers playing cricket and football at the adjacent pocket park.

Mocha Jo's Burger Bar, Ripponlea.
Mocha Jo's Burger Bar, Ripponlea. 

"It was me and the boys from the fruit shop – I broke one of the windows," he says sheepishly. "We used to stop cars when our balls went on to the street. Now I want to halt traffic with burgers."

Open daily 11am-late.

3 Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea, 03 9086 4938, mjburgerbar.com.au