The new BurgerIM restaurant in Camas, near Costco, really is more than a place to get a good burger. It’s also a story about two immigrants, Chanly Va and Sang Quach, living the American dream.
The new restaurant opened its doors on June 13, as part of a larger BurgerIM franchise (based in Encino, CA) that specializes in gourmet-style burgers made fast.
“The food tastes really good, and we do have good burgers, and lots of variety,” said Va. “We have so many choices: Angus, Dry-aged, Spanish beef (spicy), crispy chicken, salmon, falafel burger, lamb, and the Impossible Burger, which is plant-based. It’s not GMO.”
“We also have gluten-free buns with lettuce options. As a customer, you can order a favorite or build your own. You don’t have to stay with a classic style. You can build whatever you like on the burger. We offer all the menu items that corporate offers. Whatever you can think of, and we have the ingredients, we can do it.”
The restaurant offers the aforementioned big burgers, and you may also order classics as duos or trios. You can match up your favorites and add your choice of toppings.
Sides include regular fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, half and half, and styled fries with either garlic aioli, jalepenos and cheese, or bacon and cheese.
BugerIM also cooks up a lot of chicken wings, which are available in buffalo, BBQ, and sweet crunchy garlic.
“People always say we have the biggest wings in town,” said Va. “We have really good milkshakes made from fresh milk and real incredible cream. Each are made fresh. We are not fast food, we make gourmet food fast.”
Customers can also order two types of salads: House and Caesar, and they, too, can be customized.
BurgerIM offers a variety of fountain drinks, as well as beer and wine. And, you can purchase the Family Box that comes with eight small burgers, eight wings, onion rings and fries. The Party Box has 16 burgers.
Chanly and Sang have been working hard, studying and saving for many years to get to this point.
“It took about eight months from franchise agreement to opening day,” said Va. “There’s one in Bend, OR but they haven’t opened yet. This ended up being the right location.”
So, why BurgerIM?
“I always wanted to own my own business, but didn’t have the drive until now,” said Va. “I visited my cousin in Texas and saw him doing a doughnut shop, but didn’t want to wake up at 2 am. We wanted to do something local and I saw the BurgerIM Facebook ad, and it sounded interesting.”
And, they really like BurgerIM’s business model. The chain first opened in 2011, and has expanded to 200 stores nationwide. BurgerIM means “many burgers” in Hebrew.
Chanly previously worked as a pharmacy tech at Wal-Mart, while Sang currently works as a Reliability technician at WaferTech, where he’s been employed for 21 years. After business hours, and during weekends, he works atBurgerIM. Their son, Tony, just turned 12.
“I love America,” said Sang, a refugee from Cambodia. “There’s so much you can do here, so much freedom!”
Sang escaped the Cambodian genocide that took 3 million lives, including his father.
“I was young, a little 3-year-old when I lost my dad,” he said. “We stayed there waiting for our acceptance into the United States, and we came here to Vancouver (in 1987) where I attended Fort Vancouver High School. I went to elementary school in Cambodia, and I didn’t get a chance to go to middle school. I went to Clark College and got my associates degree in Electronics. I tell my son to work hard and do your best. Now, today we’re opening this and take this lesson to do your best, work hard, be honest.”
Sang said coming to the United States was a real shock — in a good way.
“I was young, and it was like landing in a dream land. Even going to the restroom was a surprise with running water.”
Chany, also a Cambodian native, was born post-genocide. Sang returned to Cambodia briefly, they married, and returned to the United States in 1999. She learned English and started a production job that she kept for a decade, then she went onto school and became a pharmacy technician.
What has surprised them about being business owners?
“It’s great how local Camas supports business,” said Va. “I keep seeing people in Camas and they keep coming and supporting us. We keep seeing returning customers. They recommend us to their friends and family. We are a franchise but we are locally owned and operated. We live in Vancouver.”
The restaurant is located at 155 NW 192nd Avenue, Suite 107, Camas, WA 98607. 360-952-8656. To learn more about the company, visit www.BurgerIM.com