Owner Tom Burling and Head Cook Jody Briney stand in front of the register inside the restaurant. The business has recently expanded its evening hours. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
Owner Tom Burling and Head Cook Jody Briney stand in front of the register inside the restaurant. The business has recently expanded its evening hours. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

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Beeson Street Grill extends hours for evening meals

Published 8:53am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Locals with an evening hankering for Beeson Street Grill’s acclaimed burgers can now satisfy that craving.

The downtown restaurant, a popular lunchtime destination for more than a decade, has recently expanded its hours. From Monday through Saturday, the kitchen will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with dinner service offering the same selection of burgers, sandwiches and soups that customers receive during lunch, said owner Tom Burling.

Prior to this month, the grill was only open until 3 p.m. on most days, with Friday being the only day it was open for dinner. However, recent demand from customers had Burling reconsider his business’ hours, he said.

“Everything fell right into place, as I had the opportunity to hire a new cook who could work during the evening,” Burling said.

Their new evening chef is Bucky Easley, a resident of Dowagiac. Meanwhile, the servers have adjusted their schedules around to accommodate the additional hours.

Burling opened the restaurant in 2003 next to his other business, the Beeson Street Bar. Although the restaurant was initially open for dinner customers, tepid response caused Burling to scale back on hours, he said.

Since then, the changing business climate in Dowagiac has allowed the restaurant to expand its operation.

“I truly didn’t expect to have a mad rush at first,” Burling said. “It’s going to take a while to build the dinner business up. But it’s been steady, I’m not disappointed at all in the response.”

With the increased service, the owner hopes to draw in additional lakefront customers to the restaurant, he said.

“When I’m here at night, I see a lot of faces I don’t normally see during the day,” Burling said. “I’m assuming we’re picking up people who haven’t heard of us before or haven’t stopped in before.”

Bearing the title “The Best Burgers in Town” above the front entrance, Burling has no qualms about heralding the quality of the restaurant’s burgers, he said. The restaurant also serves a number of other dishes, including fresh made Tuna and egg salad sandwiches.

“They’re just like how my mother used to make them because my mother still does,” he said. “She makes them right here on the premises, around three times a week.”

With nighttime business steadily picking up, Burling said that he plans on keeping the kitchen open later for the conceivable future.

“When new customers try us, they’re going to like us,” he said.

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