GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo burger joint celebrated the grand opening of its Grand Rapids location on Tuesday.
Nonla Burger opened up in its new spot in the West Side of Grand Rapids, at 449 Bridge St. NW between Seward Avenue and US-131.
“We saw a lot of the development happening on the West Side, on especially Bridge Street, and we just thought Nonla Burger would be a perfect spot on the West Side. So we jumped on the opportunity when it arose,” said Natashia Monk, who opened up the spot with her husband and their business partners, Johnny and Kelly Nguyen.
Kyle Monk said the community has responded with support. The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the city were both a lot of help, he said.
“Nothing but support and love. It’s been really wonderful,” Kyle Monk said.
The Kalamazoo location first opened its doors around five years ago. The Monks said they fell in love with the city of Grand Rapids, where they moved around three years ago and started looking for a good place to open a new location.
“I am just really thankful because I don’t think we would be here five years later if we didn’t have that support from the very beginning,” Natashia Monk said.
The Grand Rapids location fits around 100 people. Colorful murals and a wall of Life Magazines create a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere. One corner has a couple of arcade games for kids — or adults — to play.
Natashia Monk said they wanted to create a classic diner experience, with ’80s music playing over the speakers and classic movies on the TVs.
Nonla Burger offers three burgers, three chicken sandwiches and a vegetarian burger. The Kalamazoo location had originally offered one chicken sandwich, but since then their “chicken game has definitely grown,” Natashia Monk said.
The N.B. Double is their “star child,” the Monks said, with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and Nonla spread, their signature sauce.
Along with their set menu, there will also be daily specials.
“We’ll do stuff from rifts on classics, fish and chips and Philly cheesesteaks. Or we’ll do pretty wild specials,” Kyle Monk said. “We’re creatives and we like to be creative. We kind of change it up quite a bit.”
The restaurant is working on getting a liquor license: a sign hangs on the bar that says, “all we want for Christmas is a… liquor license.”
Once it comes through — “any day now,” Natashia Monk said — it will offer draft cocktails, spiked milkshakes and root beer floats, and local beers and wines.
The burger joint had some challenges before opening, like construction challenges and hiring people. They started hiring in September to make sure they got the right people, they said.
“Our team is the face of our business. They are the heartbeat of our business. So it matters who you put in the position,” Natashia Monk said.
They’re still hiring for both front of house and back of house positions. Anyone interested should email a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the challenges, the Monks said the soft launch on Sunday and its grand opening Tuesday was a success. Customers were lined up Tuesday morning and there was a steady flow of people.
The couple said they love the joy food brings to people.
“I’m just passionate about food. I love food. I like to bring a little bit of joy to people,” Kyle Monk said.
“I love like greeting people, talking to people. I love feeling that energy and I think you feel that most surrounded around food,” his wife said.
Nonla Burger is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information can be found at nonlaburger.com.