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Nonla Burger

October 29, 2017

  • 2103 S. Burdick Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 443-2270
  • Website
  • Menu

J doesn’t usually find out about new restaurants before I do.  She will typically say “have you seen xxx is opening” and I’ll usually say, “Yeah.”  She got me this week though when she asked if I had heard about the new burger place on Burdick.  I had not but as soon as I found their Facebook page, I had to get down there for lunch.

Nonla Burger is on the corner of Burdick and Alcott Streets in Kalamazoo’s Southside Neighborhood.  The little corner shop is just that.  Little.  It has a very small parking lot around a very small building on a very busy intersection.

The small building has a pretty recent history of being a restaurant.  It was Titi & Nana’s  Coney Island prior to this incarnation and before that it was a vegan restaurant called Fuel.

I stopped in for lunch on Thursday afternoon about 1:00.  There are only a few spaces to park in front of the building and all were full.  I pulled alongside the building and just parked there thinking I wouldn’t be too long and there were no signs telling me not to park there.

The inside the restaurant is tiny.  The public space is divided in to two rooms.  The first place you come to is the small order counter right inside the door.

Having never been here before, I glanced up at the plastic channel sign board hanging just to the side of the cash register.  The entire menu takes up only nine lines.  They do burgers, a chicken sandwich, a salad, fries, shakes, and pop.  That’s it.  Simple and to the point.

There are only less than six booths in the entire restaurant.  There are three in the front of the space and a couple in the back.  Nonla Burgers has only been open about a week and word has traveled quickly.  If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same people behind Nonla Vietnamese Street Food in Mattawan.  The name recognition alone is bringing in the people and all of the booths as well as all available standing space were being used.

I opened the door and ended up immediately in line.  The line was as close to being out the door as it could be without actually being out the door.

I overheard the cashier giving her spiel about the food to the customers in front of me so when it got to be my turn to order, I was ready to go.

I put in my order for the N.B. Double and an order of fries to go.  The price was just a little over $7 which I paid for with my card then I attempted to find a place to stand and wait so I wasn’t in anyone’s space.

It took a little over five minutes for someone to come out of the kitchen with a white paper bag and call my name.

I pulled the fries out of the bag on my way back to work.  They were hand cut fries that were fresh out of the fryer.  The fries were golden and crispy around the edges but were soft, flaky, and steamy throughout the majority of the long, thinly cut strips of potato.  They were lightly salted to add a little flavor.  I could have gone with these fries being in the fryer just a little longer.  They were good as they were but I like a really kind of greasy, salty, crunchy fry when they’re cut like this.

I had to wait to get back to the office before I could unwrap the burger.  This burger is very simple but incredibly flavorful.   I got the NB Double which is two 2.7 ounce patties with cheese on each plus lettuce, tomato, onion and Nonla Sauce which was described to me as a house Thousand Island.  I passed on the sauce because I’m not a sauce person.  Just give me a good tasting burger.

This sandwich starts right off with a delicious, soft, steamed bun.  The meat is separated with a thick slice of raw white onion.  The tomato and lettuce are between the bottom patty and the bun.  The meat on this burger is so juicy and so full of flavor on it’s own, I realized it was even better with just the meat, cheese, and bun.  The rest of the sandwich was good…the veggies are fresh and crispy, but this burger has that flavor you can only get when you start with good meat.

Nonla Burger is such a unique place in Kalamazoo.  At first glance, you think this is just a dive greasy burger joint, but once inside, you get a completely different feel.  It’s put together in the spirit of the greasy burger joints I love so much, but it takes a much more artisan approach to a simple concept.

Nonla Burger has already had to close once because they ran out of food and once word gets out, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again.

Nonla Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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