By Jordan Rogers
The owner of Twist Hot Chicken in Peoria will introduce the burger concept, Then Burger, to Westgate Entertainment District in September.
Kyle Preston, owner, says he believes his restaurant can quickly become a local favorite. His goal is for his guests to focus on their meals and friendship.
“The concept of Then Burger derives from the definition of the word ‘then,’ meaning at the time in question,” Preston says. “So, the burger you’re eating is the time in question. We’re kind of playing off this idea that Then Burger is the in between from where you were to where you’re going, because it’s where you are right now.”
Then Burger will be an elevated burger restaurant with a “new American vibe.”
It will be a 100% scratch kitchen, meaning everything from its burgers to sides and sauces will be made in-house and are never frozen.
“I just genuinely haven’t found a burger in the West Valley that is going to be on the same playing field,” Preston says. “It’s because we care about every little detail of what makes it on the plate. We’re family owned and operated, and we’re not a big corporate company.
“We don’t have any shareholders or anybody to please. My wife and kids live here; that’s who we are.”
In addition to the house-made burgers, the restaurant will be serving craft cocktails. Preston says he is eager to bring speakeasy-style cocktails to the West Valley, as the area lacks that scene.
“My wife and I will find ourselves driving to like Scottsdale, Tempe or Phoenix to get a good drink,” he says.
Drink options will not stop at cocktails, however. Preston says Then Burger will provide a diverse and creative beer selection to customers.
“Our goal is to get the beers that you aren’t going to find at Fry’s or Sprouts or just like any of your normal local grocery stores,” he says. “We’re trying to bring in the best beer from around Arizona but also from some other states.”
Preston, 28, says he understands his restaurant’s identity. The new burger spot will focus on “quality over quantity,” as he says he believes keeping the menu shorter will make it easier to keep his products fresh.
“I feel like with your average burger restaurant, you walk in, you get a menu, and there are 30 to 60 different burger options,” Preston says. “Instead of doing a few really great burgers, they just do a lot of very OK burgers.”
Outside of the initial seven burgers, Preston said he may look into running “limited-time offer” burgers.
“A lot of our competition are bringing in frozen beef,” he adds. “We’re going to have a refined menu, almost like you would expect to see at more of an artisan, chef-run restaurant.”
Preston says he wants his customers to be able to decide within 20 to 30 seconds on their meal.
“The problem that ends up happening when you have 30 different options is now the customer has to read through all of them,” he says. “Eventually, they just pick one because they don’t know what to choose. You want to get your best burgers in front of your customer.”
Preston says he lives close to Then Burger, but that is not why he chose Glendale.
After moving to the Valley from Oregon six years ago, he saw a trend in the West Valley — restaurants were lacking.
“What I’ve noticed is all of the best restaurants are in the East Valley,” Preston says. “Glendale, Peoria and the West Valley are just so underserved.
“I chose the West Valley because I genuinely believe that it’s ripe. It’s ripe, and it’s ready for great scratch, foodie-type food. The population is getting younger; younger families are starting to move to the West Valley. Restaurateurs don’t want to open over here, but that’s fine with me. I’m just going to keep growing the West Valley.”
Preston says he and his wife are just foodies who live in and love the West Valley, and he wants to provide the area with a good option to get food.
“We just love the West Valley; we’re West Valley people, and we think Westgate deserves something better than big corporate.”