Originally hidden in the Sunshine Plaza strip center off Bonita Beach Road, Mile High Burger sold over 40,000 burgers in 9 months. The economy withered, and fewer folks visited. In May, 2009, realizing he had $247 left after expenses, owner Mel Barfield called his employees together, and told them they had to close, saying "Our whole nest egg is gone." Their response surprised him. They said, "Let's open in a different spot-we'll work for tips, without salary for a while, to pay the chefs." Mel took their confidence to heart, and turned down the offer, saying "We don't work for free-we do it the right way." He found this new and better spot, and business is back up again.
The new location is perhaps 7 stores to the right of Publix, at Center of Bonita Springs Plaza, in the northwest corner of Bonita Beach Road and US 41.
The same enthusiastic staff is at the new spot, no surprise. Mel has downsized the store and menu, matching a downsized economy, and it has worked. Manager/server Nancy Parenteau and her daughter Kelly still work there, and many customers have returned!
Nancy and Mel at the Mile High Burger Counter
You can get grilled burgers at chains like 5 Guys, McDonalds and other spots-they are more expensive and greasy-not bad, just not great, either.
Enjoy Mel's Mile High Burgers, and the inmprovement is obvious! His seasoned four ounce Black Angus beef burgers are tops! They taste "cooked with love." I asked to buy some seasoning mix. Mel said it, and his BBQ sauce, will soon be bottled and available. Mel has been a chef for years, and wanted to open a family restaurant with his wife, Rhonda. He's at the grill, Rhonda greet customers at the front.
I love the Philly Burger ($3.95) with its delicious taste, topped with grilled mushrooms and onions, covered with melted Swiss cheese. Mile high Burger's Hand Breaded Onion Rings ($1.79) are also the best in the area. Mel hand breads them, and quick fries them on the spot, so they are incredibly crisp. His light spicing makes them irresistible!
Other top burgers are the Road House Burger (3.95), topped with BBQ sauce, bacon, Colby Jack cheese and an onion ring, and the Black and Blue (3.95), topped with blue cheese, bacon and lettuce and tomato. Best deal around? Order a Double Burger-it's only $1.00 more , and you get four more ounces of Angus Beef. A half pound of delicious burger for $4.95!
The BBQ Sandwich ($4.95) is large, wth Eastern North Carolina pulled pork BBQ. The juicy Grilled or Fried Chicken Breast (4.95) is also popular, served on a bun.
I forgot to order the Hand Breaded Fried Pickles (1.79), which a friend said is a must have-a real Southern treat.
Oh, about the name. You've heard it before, haven't you? Must be part of a chain based out of somewhere? No! While driving from Florida to South Carolina, Mel was thinking of a name for his burgers, and the name came to him. Other people thought they heard of it before, as well. Mel patented the name. I can't wait till he has a second, and a third Mile High Burger Company. Your taste buds deserve the best in burgers.
An All-American Burger's succulent seasoned beef, melted cheese, and Onion rings or Fries-it just doesn't get better than this. Beer, wine and soft drinks are available. Visit Mile high Burgers, and you'll leave smiling!
3300 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 120, Northwest corner of the intersection with US 41; to the right of Publix by maybe 8 stores, and next to Sally Beauty Supply. 405-7771
Mile High Burger Company has closed. Delicious food, great people, however business dribbled to nothing over the last few months. I wish Mel, Rhonda, Nancy and Kelly all the best.