The Burger King in Elma opened for business on Monday, Oct. 31 but the official grand opening took place on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The restaurant provided a celebratory cake, giveaways and music with a local radio station.
Stacey Lalicker, general manager, said she expected to be busy but not as busy at it has been at the restaurant located in Eagles Landing at the northeast corner of Highways 8 and 12.
“It’s crazy busy. The last three days have been nonstop,” Lalicker said. The customers are mostly locals with some people stopping in off the freeway, she added.
“We already have some regulars,” Lalicker said. “I see the same people in here quite a bit. It’s pretty amazing.”
Trying out the Burger King for lunch for a second time on Thursday, Nov. 3, were Elma residents Cecil and Crystal DeJong.
“I was hungry,” said Crystal DeJong, answering why she was visiting the new restaurant. “I am trying something different from the menu today, though.”
Cecil DeJong said he and Crystal would be back again to sample the breakfast options, too.
“Oh, I’m definitely glad that a chain restaurant came to Elma,” Cecil DeJong said. DeJong doesn’t appear to be alone in his opinion. The parking lot was full at 2 p.m. with a line of cars at the drive through window as well.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, after the grand opening at around 3 p.m., the parking lot was again full with customers lined up at the drive through. Assistant manager Erica Watkins said the day was successful but she did not know what the final receipts were.
“It was great — I know that!” Watkins said.
Elma Mayor Jim Sorensen said the opening of the restaurant and the expansion of the medical center in Elma signaled the advent of more prosperous times.
“It’s great to have a new business in the City of Elma. It’s a sign that we have turned around,” Sorensen said. When asked about the bet with Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson — over which would open first, Wendy’s or Burger King — Sorensen laughed. The Wendy’s in Aberdeen opened on Oct. 26.
“Next time I see him, I’ll bring him a Whopper,” Sorensen said.