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Burger Depot to open in Verndale

Chris and Valerie Black stand underneath the sign for their new restaurant, Burger Depot, in Verndale on Highway 10. Photo by Zach Kayser

It takes a lot of effort to start a business, but husband and wife Chris and Valerie Black have been working overtime to get their restaurant up and running.

The Burger Depot sits on the north side of Highway 10 in Verndale, near the town's main intersection.

When the restaurant opens in late January, it will mean a decade-long dream has finally become a reality for the Blacks, who live in Staples with their three children.

A combination of Valerie's background in finance and Chris's experience in the fast-food industry has gone into the Burger Depot plan. They want the new spot to be as convenient as regular fast food, but with better quality and more attention to detail.

"We're going to make the food to order, so the quality is going to be there, the service is going to be there. We're not going to try to push people out of our door in 10 minutes," Chris said. "A homey atmosphere where people can come in, relax and enjoy a nice meal that's served quickly, but it's not the fast-food feeling to it."

The Burger Depot name, which Valerie came up with, reflects the sense of community that surrounded historical train depots.

"Back in the old days, when we had more train depots that were active, people would come to meet and catch up on the news of the day, sit back, relax with friends," she said. "'Depot' just seemed to fit the area here."

Chris said besides burgers, the restaurant will feature a number of other menu items that will serve to set it apart from the average fast-food joint. Cheese curds, wraps and corn dogs are some of the hot goodies the Burger Depot will offer. But Chris said about half the menu will also be made up of ice cream treats like sundaes, splits and shakes.

The couple has not set a grand opening date for the Burger Depot, but their start in 2013 will give food enthusiasts a new place to try for the upcoming year.