Opening dozens of restaurants in just a few years is no mean feat. And now Reading is set to get the latest branch of Honest Burgers. We chat to the business taking on the challenge with relish.....

READING is set to get its very own burger. And it looks delicious.

Honest Burgers is opening its 23rd branch, in King Street, complete with a special Wild Weather Ales brew and an exclusive Reading burger. The tasty treat is topped with Two Hoots Barkham Blue cheese and Nomad Bakery’s roasted red pepper chilli. Mouth-watering stuff, and guaranteed to have hungry punters queuing out the door, as has happened with other branches of the popular burger joint.

But it's hard to believe where it all began for owners Tom Barton and Phil Eeles- cooking at the parties of family friends and events.

They met working in a restaurant and put their money together to buy a marquee and cooking equipment, then started doing the festival circuit. They were serving food based on the same ethos they have today -simple, honest ingredients that pack a flavour punch. But they didn't have much success, both still working other jobs to keep the money coming in.

It was at this point they met business partner Dorian, who told them he'd match whatever they could invest.

So they opened their first burger joint - 20 metres in size - in Brixton in 2011. For just £7,500.

Tom's step-dad is a carpenter and helped get the restaurant in shape, and they did all the tiling, decoration and electrics themselves.

"I think we electrocuted ourselves about 15 times," Tom says. "But we learned a lot from that experience!"

It must have taken to some guts to take just £7,500 and open a restaurant, neither Tom or Phil a trained chef, especially when we're told how many businesses fail in their first year?

"I think we were a bit cocky," he jokes. "You've got to be to open a business and be really confident in what you're doing. It's not easy- we put a lot of work in and we didn't know, when we opened the doors to that first one, whether it would work or not."

Luckily- it did. Better than they could ever have imagined.

Burger lovers went barmy for the Brixton branch. A Jay Rayner review in the Guardian added fuel to the fire, and soon hungry punters were queueing out the door. One well-know journalist, Grace Dent, called it 'one of the most delicious burgers I've ever eaten.'

The guys opened their second branch in Soho (although the first couple of weeks were 'terrifying' because it coincided with the Olympics and the city was dead) and gradually spread across London.

Their first non-London branch opened in Cambridge and the Reading restaurant will be the second.

"We take the same approach with all the branches," says Tom "we wanted to make sure the building had lots of character. We're opening in the old bank on King Street and it's really cool. It's Victorian at one end and 80s at the other."

They're also working with local suppliers to make sure the food stands up to its name, and have invented the 'Reading' burger, which will be an exclusive to this branch.

Tom is keen to have a butcher in each of the kitchens so that the burgers will strictly be made in-house.

"We feel it's the right way to do it, and we think we're the only company in this country doing it. But it's the only way - the burger is the most important thing at the end of the day.

"The 'honest' word is really important to us because it means transparent. All our restaurants have open kitchens so you can go and speak to the chef."

The chips are made in-house too, which is different to other chains.

After hand-cutting potatoes themselves, the pair bought a chipper when the workload was becoming too much. But they were never compromising on quality.

"We would never put a frozen chip on the menu.

"We decided to make life as difficult as we could and took the decision to make all the chips in house.

"It's a lot of work, but we're pretty confident we've got the best chips in London.

"It’s all about simplicity and quality," he adds, "‘Honest’ stands for a way of doing things. Nothing hidden, just quality dry aged meat, homemade chips with every burger as standard, friendly service, and open kitchens."

Honest Burgers have attracted stars like Ed Sheeran and the England rugby squad. But they'll have to wait behind us in the queue if they want to come to Reading.