GREAT FALLS — Street Burgers is scheduled to open in Great Falls on Wednesday, May 26th, at 2319 10th Avenue South. Reporter Kailey Neitzel interviewed John Barnes, one of the owners, about why he and his team decided to open the restaurant, and what he believes will set it apart from similar restaurants in our community.
KAILEY: Tell us about the newest spot in town to grab a burger -- Street Burgers.
- JOHN BARNES: Street Burgers is a concept that we came up with to use the highest quality local products. We wanted a restaurant that featured local beef, local buns, beer, and produce when available. We are getting heritage-raised 100% black Angus beef for our burger from Great Alone Cattle Company. Our buns are made exclusively for us at Street Burgers. They are made at Grains of Montana using local wheat, and we are replacing water in the cooking process with beer from Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Company. We will be using Mountain Man Ale in all our buns. We will also be offering gluten-free buns and fries as an option. We are having 12 beers on tap featuring 10 of them from local breweries. We will be getting local produce and highest quality cheeses when available. We used as many local vendors as possible when remodeling the interior of the restaurant. We will also be featuring high quality fries, that will be flavor blasted or loaded with some amazing fresh toppings. Our potatoes are local, they will be cooked in sunflower seed oil. The fries will be tossed in duck butter and truffle salt. We will also be featuring amazing one of a kind shakes, they are to die for.
KAILEY: What was the inspiration to open this new business here in Great Falls?
- JOHN BARNES: After remodeling and opening Tracy's back up (in downtown Great Falls) we saw a need for a high-quality fast casual burger restaurant. I have been in the restaurant business my entire life. There are four partners, two of us are born and raised in Great Falls, we have been friends since kindergarten, Neal DuBois, who has a law practice. Both our wives moved here from Wisconsin, Becki Barnes is an RN at Benefis ICU and Melissa DuBois is an RN at the Clinic. We are a local family-oriented business, who believe in the community and supporting all the local functions we can. We plan on taking our concept and going to other locations in Montana. We really want to help build the local economy, and we have a lot of other future projects.
KAILEY: When will the restaurant officially open for business?
- JOHN BARNES: We will be open officially on May 26th at 10am-9pm We have some soft opening events prior, but the 26th will be our first day open to everyone.
KAILEY: In the meantime, are you looking for help to fill any positions? If so, what positions are needed the most?
- JOHN BARNES: We are still looking for shift managers, cashiers, and cooks. We are paying premium pay, some of the highest in the state for the food industry along with PTO, possibility for Health Insurance, and tips. We want to have a great place for people to work.
KAILEY: What has the reaction been like from the Great Falls community so far?
- JOHN BARNES: So far the reaction has been great in Great Falls, people are super excited to try us out. I know everyone is excited for Five Guys to open up, but what separates us from them is... we have a higher-quality product. We support the community is so many ways that out-of-state franchises do not. There are so many great local restaurants in Great Falls that are locally-owned and operated. Tracy's, Roadhouse, Enbar, The Block, Mighty Mo, Clark and Lewie's, and many more.
KAILEY: How are you and your team feeling leading up to the grand opening?
- JOHN BARNES: My team is ready to rock and roll and give the community a great local restaurant. We are going to pride ourselves on quality and great customer service. We look forward to seeing everyone soon.
The Five Guys franchise plans to open in the space formerly occupied by Snap Fitness near Target . Tom Micuda, the deputy planning director for the City of Great Falls, confirmed that Five Guys received a permit to move in to to the space and renovate the interior. Micuda did not know the expected opening date, but he expects that work will begin in the next few weeks. Five Guys has more than 1,600 locations, including four in Montana: Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, and Missoula. In addition to burgers and fries, they serve hot dogs and milkshakes.