Jim’s Big Burger has stayed dedicated to two core tenants since it opened in 1979: Really good burgers and a familial atmosphere.

The burger spot’s co-owners, sisters Peggy Broome and Amy Wuest, have worked at the restaurant since their father, Jim Bireley, began leasing what was then known as the Burger Hut in 1979.

Since then, the sisters have grown the business and expanded their following of loyal customers, while maintaining a commitment to their family’s tradition of really good hamburgers.

“We love hamburgers,” Wuest said. “That’s why we’re in the business.”

A lot has changed since the sisters starting working in the family business – their menu has expanded and their staff has grown bigger – but both women say they’ve stayed dedicated to working hard, a trait they learned from their parents.

And at Jim’s Big Burger, Wuest and Broome’s parents are always present: Two ceramic frogs, representing their mom and dad, sit perched on a ledge in the restaurant.

Why frogs?

“Cause Mother loved frogs and he was her frog that she kissed,” Wuest said, about her parents.

That family tradition has continued into the next generation at Jim’s Big Burger, where both of Broome’s daughters work as well.

In October, the restaurant will celebrate its 40th year in business. Broome and Wuest said a couple of things are critical to their success, including a commitment to quality ingredients and great customer service. The co-owners said they’ve never compromised quality for cost in developing new dinners or menu items and in building their classic hamburger.

The Victoria staple nabbed the second place spots in the fast food and hamburger categories in the Advocate’s annual Best of the Best competition, which is determined by reader votes.

Broome and Wuest said they also make sure it’s a great workplace for all of the 13 employees who work there with them. Sometimes, in the early days, that meant they had to sacrifice for the good of the company.

“There were plenty of times that we didn’t get a paycheck, but you had to take care of everybody else,” Broome said.

In October, Broome and Wuest say they’ll celebrate all the work they’ve done to make it through 40 years in business, and to prepare for the future.

“I’m just thankful for people supporting us and taking care of us all these years. It means a lot,” Wuest said. “Forty years is a long time.”

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can contact her by emailing cmccarthy@vicad.com.

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