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Happy Belly Burgers opens on Highway 58

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By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor  —  Vinnie and Bambie Maxwell had their grand opening of Happy Belly Burgers to the public yesterday. Brightly colored flags flew from the parking lot announcing “BURGERS”. By the time I got there, the lot was full, so I parked on the adjacent street.

The bright, clean interior and the general atmosphere is appealing as you enter Happy Belly Burger. herald photo

You’re a welcome guest upon entering

Upon entering the building, located at the corner of Hills Street and Highway 58, you are greeted by a bright and cheery interior.

Vinnie Maxwell mans the grill at Happy Belly. Marla Hillman, background, Bambie’s mother, assists in all phases of the kitchen. Herald photo

Naturally, the senses are smacked with the smell of burgers on the grill. You know that your food is made fresh because the grill is just across the counter where Vinnie can be seen smashing burgers, grilled onion and mushrooms, and keeping an eye on the deep fryer filled with French fries.

Restaurant work is not for the faint of heart

Bambie is seen only as a blur as she moves quickly between taking orders, filling orders, and answering the phone. The phone rings continually. Bambie said that, upon opening the doors, the phone started to ring off the hook simultaneously. After just a few orders, she admitted that she had to ask customers to hold off on phone orders. “The wait would be so long with all the customers waiting inside as well” she said.

Bambie’s mother, Marla Hillman, puts the orders together, making sure that they are complete. She also runs back and forth to the back room for supplies as needed. Her energy is contagious. Every patron left with a smile.

A labor of love?

Vinnie moves so quickly between the grill, checking the most recent order, and dashing around for ingredients that you wonder how he has the energy. Despite the pace, Vinnie keeps a smile on his face.

Bambie told me that before opening for the day, they had inadvertently left the front door unlocked. “Well”, she said, “people just started to pour in while we were still running around getting ready to open.”

Herald photo

I ordered the “Classic” burger. However, when I went to pay for my order, the amount was less than the menu stated. I asked Bambie about the discrepancy. She referred me to the back of the menu. There it states that paying with cash is rewarded with a 4% discount.  When it arrived at my table by a still-smiling Marla, I dove into the warm burger. It was juicy, with fresh ingredients and with just the right amount of “Happy Sauce”. It was scrumptious.

I shared a table with a women who had come up from Eugene just to attend the opening affair. She would comment, between each bite, that the burger she ordered was a “real meal”.

The menu consists of, not only nine different burgers, but also sandwiches, appetizers, beverages, and a children’s  menu. Indoor seating available, as well.

Marla, Vinnie, and Bambie stop their running just long enough to get a quick photo together.

Happy Belly Burger is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 to 7:00pm. Happy eating!










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