Scandinavian design, hot menu items and beer make Burgie's North a unique coffee shop
With an expanded menu that includes beer and hot meals, the recently-opened Burgie’s Coffee at 3701 Stange Road is already seeing a steady flow of customers.
Longtime Ames coffee business Burgie’s Coffee & Tea Company opened the Somerset location, Burgie's North — its first standalone location — on July 19, with a drive-thru window, patio tables and a variety of indoor seating. The shop is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“One of the challenges was incorporating the drive-thru,” designer Casee Burgason said. “We wanted to be able to offer fresh eggs and things like that. We haven’t really seen that done before where there’s a flattop grill with express, fast delivery through the window.”
Andrew Burgason, who manages Burgie’s North, said, “It’s always been important for us with our family business to do food well. But we also recognize that quick service is really important too. Casee did a really good job of giving us the space we need to make that happen.”
The menu includes several hot breakfast items like Pesto Egg, an egg on sourdough toast with pesto, ricotta cheese, chili flakes and local honey; Country Grind, a house-made biscuit, egg, pepper bacon, provolone, spinach and chipotle aioli; and Sunrise Melt, chicken sausage on an English muffin with provolone, roasted red pepper, egg white, spinach and mayo.
For lunch, served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., customers can choose from a variety of items, including Grilled Cheese, with cream cheese, cheddar and provolone; Pulled Pork, house-smoked pulled pork from sister store The Filling Station on a challah bun with dill pickles and sweet BBQ sauce; and a House Salad with chicken, romaine, grape tomatoes, parmesan, chickpeas, croutons and Caesar dressing.
The expected list of coffees, teas and cold drinks is offered on the menu. A selection of beer may come as a surprise though.
“We teamed up with Alluvial here in Ames and Lua in Des Moines, and we have two taps to choose from,” Andrew Burgason said.
With Scandinavian design influence, craftsmanship reflects Burgie's emphasis on quality food and drink
Burgie’s North’s exterior was influenced by early Midwest architecture of the 1920s and ‘30s – simple structures with flat roofs and symmetry.
“We took much inspiration from factory storefront buildings in downtown Des Moines as we wanted it to feel nostalgic and not out of place with its surroundings,” Casee Burgason said. “We wanted it to have an aesthetic so that it didn’t look like something that had just popped up. We wanted it to look timeless.”
Many older red brick factory buildings are now painted white, she said, which inspired the choice of pre-painted white brick to make the exterior feel more modern and updated.
“The large black storefront windows really steal the show, and the authentic grids make the building feel much more historic than grills between the glass,” Casee Burgason said. “The goal is that the final product feels timeless and will still look great in 50 years.”
Burgason’s design studio team was instrumental in the exterior design of the building as well as the interior, as they worked with Nutini Architecture.
“Dan Nutini of Nutini Architecture really understood exactly what we were trying to get at and helped us design a beautiful, timeless building,” Casee Burgason said.
With high ceilings and large windows creating the sense of a more space, her plan for the interior elements was inspired by Scandinavian design.
“You’ll notice the use of wood materials, neutral colors, contemporary influence and simple lines in the furniture,” Casee Burgason said. “We wanted the space to feel clean and welcoming at the same time, so bright natural light was very important. We paid a lot of attention to what the customer experience is as you walk into the building – the goal being that it appeals to people from all walks of life.”
Craftsmanship was important as Burgason made choices for materials – hand-made terrazzo countertops, hand-made wall tile, white oak trim painstakingly installed by a carpenter.
“Burgie’s is known for their craftsmanship in their drinks and food, so we wanted to evoke that in the interior as well,” Casee Burgason said.
The coffee shop has a shared green space with Fareway. Burgie’s patio feels like a space that’s been in the neighborhood for years, she said.
Burgason family has long history in Ames' coffee industry
The Burgie’s coffee company started in 1992, when Steve and Anne Burgason started a kiosk at North Grand Mall.
Casee, Andrew and their brother Jordan were all involved in the business as kids and all remain active today. The brothers work at day-to-day operation of the Burgie’s locations, and Casee leads in the design of the spaces through her own company, Casee Burgason Interior Design, which has done design work locally for Cornbred restaurant in downtown Ames as well as residential design.
Andrew is also in charge of Windmill Coffee Roasters, which is “dedicated to roasting quality, ethically sourced coffees.”
The Burgasons also own The Filling Station, well-known for its BBQ and baked goods, some of which are also available at Burgie’s North. Burgie's South is located at 110 Airport Road, there’s a Burgie’s at Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Burgie’s also has a mobile cafe that makes regular appearances at the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market.
Casee, Andrew and Jordan have fun and funny memories of helping their parents with the North Grand location when they were kids.
“We don’t have to go to Flame ‘N Skewer to get ice anymore,” Andrew Burgason said, making Casee laugh. “I was doing that as a kid. It was terrifying. Grown men in the kitchen and here I was a kid of 6 or 7 with a bucket of ice.”
“I was working there when I was 12,” Casee Burgason said of the mall kiosk. “It was always a family experience. Even on our family vacations, we would go and do coffee research, like in Madison, Wisconsin. We would take these long drives and just stop in different coffee shops.”