STERLING – Now that the owner of a new restaurant has his burgers down pat, he’s ready to give his customers something that they’ll flip over.
The Firehouse Roadside Cafe at 403 Ave. G is back from its winter slumber with a tuned up menu and renewed focus on customer service.
Brian Doucet, 28, of Waconda, opened up the burger joint in October and demand for his specialty patties was so great couldn’t keep up with it.
So he closed up shop for the winter to re-tool.
He spent the time re-organizing the kitchen to improve workflow, pared down the menu, and introduced a fee-free delivery service to Sterling and Rock Falls.
“If you want delivery in Sterling and Rock Falls, your options are basically pizza, so we’re bringing them another option,” Doucet said.
The man behind the menu is chef Russell Bryson from Dixon.
The 34-year-old self-taught cook said he was approached by Doucet when an idea for the business came up.
“I came over to his house and he had ingredients laying out on the counter and let me go at it,” Bryson said.
That was about 2 years ago, and during that time, Bryson was able to let his imagination run with the menu while Doucet and another employee, Brian Staggs, coordinated the brick-and-mortar side of the business.
They needed a location, but the one they found at 403 Ave. G almost passed them by. The building didn’t pique Doucet’s interest at first, but he wanted to see the place for himself.
“We took a tour and signed the papers that night,” Doucet said.
With a location and a menu, all that was missing was a name. Stagg took some inspiration from his former occupation as a firefighter, and the red and yellow checkered floor tiles. Hence, the name: Firehouse Roadside Cafe.
“We liked the positive energy about the firehouse, and we ran with it,” Doucet said.
The diner serves a variety of half-pound burgers, ranging from the traditional bacon cheeseburger to specialty items such as the Hawaiian Burger, Pretzel Lovers Burger and Quesadilla Burger.
Sides available are cheese sticks, Mexican corn on the cob salad, cole slaw, pea salad, french fries and mini corn dogs. Customers hankering for a bigger serving can upgrade to a “generous side,” doubling the portion, and they can finish it off with a selection from the dessert menu.
Every order comes with a free bottle of water, and if ordered between Monday and Thursday, customers can spin a prize wheel in the lobby for additional discounts.
The Firehouse Roadside Cafe
403 Ave. G in Sterling
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Online: Find The Firehouse Roadside Cafe on Facebook