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Rouge opening a burger shop

Exclusive: Rob and Maggie Wasserman, who own the Rittenhouse Square bistro, are calling their new spot 500°.

Rob and Maggie Wasserman, who own Rouge on Rittenhouse Square, are getting into the burger biz.

Zoning variance permitting, they're planning 500°  for a storefront at 15th and Sansom Streets. (The space, which has been empty for years, is on the 1500 block of Sansom Street, just off the corner next to Roy's and across from the parking garage.)

Opening of 500° will be in the first quarter of 2010.

Rob Wasserman told me that the idea came to him in May during the Rittenhouse Row festival, when Rouge sold smaller versions of its signature burgers. He says he worked with the vendors to drive down the cost of ingredients, while maintaining quality. The move coincided with the burger trend that's been sweeping the area (see: "Up, Tommy").

The look will be comfy-upscale, Wasserman says, describing wood, metal and marble that will go into the 1,000 square feet. About 20 people will sit inside; most business will be takeout. There will be no liquor/beer.

He'll serve 4- to 7-ounce burgers for $4 to $4.50. The goal will be to price a burger, fries, and shake meal for $10.