The current buzz has a lot to do with non-GMO, farm-to-table or no fructose corn syrup products. Sustainable food is in high-demand from consumers and businesses are stepping up to deliver.
Locally, there’s one restaurant that stands out for their commitment to sustainable living, 80/20 Burger Bar in Norfolk. Starting from the smallest ingredients, they’ve coined their food as ‘Blue Collar Gourmet’ delivering high-quality burgers made with local ingredients at a fair price. And at the root of the business is the promise to source food and supplies from the area.
“Local economies can’t survive without support from other local businesses,” states Jamie Summs, co-owner of 80/20 Burger Bar. “When we started, we wanted to do something we can be proud of, that has an influence in our community and for us that starts by partnering with local farms.”
As a longstanding employee of the restaurant industry, the idea started as a dream for Jamie. He wanted to open a restaurant that would do things differently. “We didn’t want factory processed food,” he added. And the vision came to life once the he sat down with co-owner Alan Baesen to discuss how to bring it to fruition. Soon thereafter, on December 21, 2012 80/20 Burger Bar opened to the public and this local burger business hasn’t been the same.
We sat down with Jamie to learn the ins and outs of the establishment and found that it truly is as cool as it looks. The down-to-earth and comfortable environment is enhanced by the friendly staff and damn good food. Whether it is the menu itself or speaking with the staff, you know that they’re different than other local burger joints. It comes direct from their Mission which is, “to serve the best damn burger you’ve ever had.”
They stay on course using their key philosophy to use local suppliers even down to boasting the best selection of local beer in the 757. “We support local, using local ingredients wherever possible,” noted Jamie. “That’s our commitment to our community.”
Outside of the core differentiator of sustainability, Jamie believes that 80/20 Burger Bar stands out because of its close-knit environment. “In the last five years, I feel like I’ve gained a new family.” With the quality of life for employees being paramount, co-owners believe that good leadership must possess the skills of the business to help guide.
“If you’re looking to start your own business, you’d be remiss to start something you don’t have hands on experience doing,” he commented. The ability to jump in, lend a helping hand or cover for his employees is one of the ways he fosters the family dynamic but also helps him run the business he wants to run.
In addition to their restaurant philosophy their sense of community helps drive the business. As one example, 80/20 Burger Bar and Reed & Associates Marketing have teamed up for the last two years to help fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “We’re always looking for ways to partner with local businesses and support philanthropic events,” Jamie added. “It’s been an awesome opportunity.”
Supporting local, sourcing local and creating a community all go into serving “the best damn burger you’ve ever had”.
80/20 Burger Bar is located at 123 W 21st St, Norfolk. Check out their menu at www.8020burgerbar.com.