Love where you live!
This second restaurant won't have the scale or immediate city-wide buzz of the new Cohn Restaurant in the village but for architect Minh Nguyen, the opening of his new Slides Gourmet Burgers concept restaurant is causing a stir of its own in the University Avenue area near Helix High School.
Nguyen will open at 11 a.m. Friday at the 7406 University Ave. location and the first 25 customers through the door will get a bonus with their purchase -- one free dinner a month for the next year.
First responders -- police, fire fighters and ambulance personnel -- will enjoy regular discounts.
And for a number of young La Mesans, Nguyen, who came up with the idea for this gourmet sliders business while running his architectural firm in Carmel Valley, will be supplying after school jobs.
On Wednesday, the new Slides crew was on site, practicing baking the home made buns and producing and testing the large variety of shakes and drinks that will go with the mini-burgers and fries. And at a signal from Nguyen, the young workers, including a cheerleader from Helix Charter still in uniform, the workers would chant in unison G-E-A.
"That's our motto,'' Nguyen said. "G for good food. E for excellent service. A for affordable prices! GEA!"
This is Nguyen's first foray into the restaurant business and, for all of the amazing professional work done to transform the Cohn's new Bo-beau in the Village, Nguyen's transformation of this little strip plaza space had its own magic. What had been a cupcake shop was literally opened up to the kitchen, making the both the prep space and cooking line visible to customers as their slider orders are produced.
Nguyen signed up next door neighbor/artist Billy Martinez to be the first major art show on the wall he reserved for local artists. Martinez' work, as it often does at Cosmos and other local arts venues, adds instant life to the restaurant.
Nguyen achieved his goal of keeping each of his sliders priced below $2. Students coming in after school will be able to get a slider and fries for under $4. A package deal of two sliders, fries and a medium drink will cost just $6.94.
Nguyen hopes La Mesa helps prove this slider concept can be a winner and can be duplicated as a chain. McDonald's, after all, started with just one restaurant and critics are already giving Nguyen's mini-burgers and shakes some high marks.