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Sylvester’s Burgers - Creating a coastal cult following

It just so happens that the quintessential burger has met its match because what Brian Englund, owner of Sylvester’s Burgers, is doing to burgers is both mouth-watering and atypical...but also brilliant!

Big, hot ‘n juicy is their motto, and there’s no denying they solidly hit the mark with fresh (never frozen) beef, condiments that build these burgers into tempting, glistening symbols of gluttony and then finish with a taste that earns social media accolades like “best burger ever,” “I dream of Sylvester’s Burgers,” and “truly cosmic” from fans.

Creativity starts in their “burger lab” where they aren’t afraid to test out crazy burger combinations. From these lab experiments, the elk, buffalo and wild boar burgers were born, along with the Flaming Armadillo, Texas Flood, Habanero Mango, and their famous five-pound Big One (eat this in under 30 minutes and you can proudly wear the victor’s t-shirt, earn bragging rights with your photo on the wall and boast about a five-pound weight gain that cost you nothing).

Paying homage to the region and its diverse taste buds, Sylvester’s Burgers also delivers the California Burger with avocado, pepper jack cheese and Sylvester sauce, as well as the Hippie Burger which is a garden burger patty topped with avocado, sprouts, and cream cheese on a toasted wheat roll.

But what makes this burger experience a favorite is the community-centric mantra Sylvester’s Burgers provokes throughout the areas they serve.

“We don’t try to be something we’re not. We’re really about relationships here. The Central Coast region is very tight-knit and our customers are like family. That sense of community is what gives us a cultish following,” Brian says, pointing to the reason Sylvester’s Burgers makes it their main focus to return the love with intense efforts on local fundraising nights, community sponsorships and charitable giving to children’s organizations.

When Brian bought the business from a family friend in 2008, he quickly expanded Sylvester’s from its first location in Los Osos to Atascadero. Five years later, he opened their Oceano location. All, he says, are towns with a connectedness to one another and expansion in those areas just made sense.

Cultivating a sense of family extends to his staff as well. Brian wants his employees, no matter where they come from, to embrace the diversity of one another and work together to build something great. It’s not always easy for everyone to buy into the vision, but it’s a philosophy that extends to creating new and better ideas for Sylvester’s menu, too.

“We have created some really off the wall ideas. The great thing about working with our Jordano’s Account Executive, Rich Mullinix, is that he listens and then bends over backwards to support or improve upon our ideas. A lot of foodservice distributors are all about the numbers, but Jordano’s and Rich personally work with us to find us the products we need to support our vision,” Brian says, recalling an especially hectic time when they first opened and were so busy they sold out of food. “Rich actually said, ‘no problem, we’re going to get you through this’, and he personally delivered products to us. No other company would do this.”

For now, Brian says there are no future plans to expand. He wants to “chill” this year and continue to innovate within their three locations, refine the family-like approach and create burgers that simply blow your mind.

For more information about Sylvester’s Burgers, visit SylvestersBurgers.com or find them on Facebook.