The menu and recipes will remain the same, but Shawn Salyers, new owner of the briefly defunct MytiBurger – being widely heralded as a savior in Oak Forest – will add a few customer-friendly touches of his own, such as free WiFi, a computerized, touch-screen ordering system, and a real, shaded seating area under the towering tree outside the tiny, iconic eatery at 2211 W. 43rd St.. The original sign is coming back, too.
Salyers, who owns the Baskin Robbins franchise in Oak Forest, announced last Friday that he bought MytiBurger, which had been shuttered for two weeks after its owner decided it was time to concentrate on family matters. He hopes to open it by this Friday, and was hard at work last weekend to make that happen.
“I don’t want to let too much time go by,” he said. “We need to keep the momentum going.” The momentum was the outpouring from loyal customers who read in The Leader last month how Kathy Reynolds-Smith, who had owned MytiBurger for 24 years and worked there even longer, was about to close it. Lines wound out the door for days, causing her to extend the closing for a week to allow for the nostalgic consumption of more old-style burger joint comfort food – and a lot of emotional goodbyes.
Salyers, whose ice cream business is just nine blocks away, took notice. “Seeing that level of affection and how passionate people were about it did influence my decision,” he said. He bought the business from Reynolds-Green and brought her on board for six months as a consultant – so “I can do it right,” – Salyers said.
The former owner, feeling her customers’ sadness, said she “went on a mission” the day after she closed it, to find a new owner. “It was like God sent to him to me,” she said of Salyers. “I’m so glad to get it back open, for the community.”
Salyers has the same kind of reputation for hard work, customer service and being vested in the community that Reynolds-Green enjoyed. He’s involved in the Oak Forest and North Shepherd communities, generous with his time and products, fellow business owners say.
A native of Corpus Christi, he studied marketing at the University of Texas and “has been in the restaurant business for a long time,” Salyers said. He had been looking at buying another eatery in the area, but when that proved slow going, the MytiBurger deal arose and came together fast.
Salyers lives in Timbergrove with his wife, Jill, and four-year-old twins. His experience with Baskin Robbins in Oak Forest made him appreciate the neighborhood. “People here are very committed to their community,” he said. “You see second- and third-generation families and new residents. It made me want to have a business here and put down roots here.”
Customers appreciate that sentiment, praising him both on his Baskin Robbins’ and The Leader’s Facebook pages. “That is great news…hated to see it close,” wrote one. “So glad they are not closing…it made me sad to see the for sale sign,” posted another.
To stay updated about whether Salyers will reopen Friday, visit our website at www.theleadernews.com or follow us on Twitter @heightsleader and on Facebook.
New MytiBurger owner Shawn Salyers was at the restaurant over the weekend trying to get it ready for a possible opening Friday. (Photo by Charlotte Aguilar)