I remember a phone conversation with the new owner of Little Holland/Mikie Burgers, just over a year ago. “No, we won’t change a thing,” said Chi Baek. She said it multiple times during that phone interview. I asked why she was being so repetitive. Baek sighed and confessed. Simply put: Fans of the well-known burger drive-in restaurant were insistent that the new owner stay true to the 50-year-old burger drive-in’s honest approach to burgers, fries and shakes. Putting it more bluntly: Baek received backlash in verbal form and in not-so-nice comments posted on News Tribune online stories about the change in ownership. Her takeaway: Longtime regulars didn’t like the thought of change and they were suspicious of Baek. Baek remained adament that she was not going to add teriyaki to the menu (a suspicion/accusation more than one fan tossed at her). She said she wouldn’t raise prices much, if at all. She said she would mostly stick with the same vendors.
And now? After more than a year operating in the new location, Baek asserts that she hasn’t changed much at all. Anyone who works in the restaurant industry knows that saying things won’t change “at all” is near impossible with rising food costs, demanding customers and market shifts, so I’ll cut Baek slack on the finite details of a price change (5 cent increases hardly can be criticized) and adding a few new burgers to the menu. And I’d agree from a few recent visits that very little seems different about the nuts and bolts of the restaurant: the burgers and fries still taste the same. The Mighty Mike, the Mikie Burger, the pork sandwich, the plain cheeseburgers, the Mikie D – they’re all still listed on the menu. Read more »