J&K Style Grill is home to the original Waffle Burger. Owned and operated by Kelvin and LaTonya Dooley, this is the only restaurant in the Hampton Roads area that specializes in this unique burger, along with stuffed chicken wings and exotic egg rolls. However, this is not the average burger joint, J&K Style Grill strives to bring class back to the burger with a touch of Southern hospitality.
The idea for the business began in 2012 as a food truck operation, but as the vision continued to expand, the Home of the Waffle Burger landed in a building where Kelvin had more liberty to explore his creative side. In a desire to be different from the traditional burger concept, the Waffle Burger was born. J&K Style Grill not only offers a new level of class to the original model of a burger joint but believes in the southern flare of down home customer service. Customers walk in as guests but leave feeling like family. One customer explained the experience as follows:
I entered the restaurant and was immediately greeted like an old friend by the owners and employees. J&K Style Grill is small and very clean, with a hint of down home comfort, it put me in the mindset of coming over to a likable family member or friend’s home for a visit. The sign on the outside of the restaurant states it is the ‘Home of the Waffle Burger.’ Everything on the menu looked tasty. My order arrived in a short time, hot, crispy with a sprinkling of J & K seasoning coating the top. Please do yourself a favor and stop into J&K Style Grill very soon to enjoy a lovely meal and visit with the folks.
According to LaTonya, Kelvin is a real “foodie” and trained chef at heart. He spends a lot of time watching the Food Network and various cooking shows so the foundation of his ideas is endless. Once a particular taste resonates in his mouth an idea is born. Around the house, he is always trying to combine food to produce tastes. When questioned on the notion for a Waffle Burger and stuffed chicken wings, Kelvin explained it as follows:
The waffle styled burger began as a fancy marinated rib eye steak with arugula lettuce, pickled red onions with an aioli garlic Mayo. Too fancy, I ate a bacon cheeseburger from a place in Arizona and said it would taste great on my waffle. So I created my own special mayo blend, added grilled onion and a fried egg and instantly the all-popular the Waffle Burger was born. The stuffed chicken concept developed a few years later while living in NC. While eating a meal with greens and chicken, the idea was born, and many years later of trying to figure it out the process was born – stuffed a chicken wing with the bone still intact.
Not only does the restaurant cater to individual customers, they also have catering services to meet any size or budget. The Waffle Burger, Chicken Waffle sandwich, J&K Big Deluxe, stuffed chicken wings and exotic egg rolls are a few of their main items that have been a hit for the restaurant.
The Dooleys are veterans who were honored to serve this great country and have transitioned their love of service to the community. When asked how J&K Style Grill gives back to the community in their locality the couple said:
We believe in giving back to the community in various ways. We have held a back to school supply drive and given children of all ages. We have also opened up mentoring sessions with young males to become goal achievers while in school and as they progress through life. We have also opened our doors to other small businesses, public speakers, and authors by hosting business launches and book signings to publicize their goods and services.
J&K Style Grill has really blossomed over this past year. The owners understand the importance of connecting over collecting. Of course, they are in business to make money, however, the primary goal is creating an inviting atmosphere in which to enjoy their product as opposed to the usual in and out strictly business mindset. The fascination of this growing business has spread like wildfire through word of mouth, social media, and radio. The restaurant also gained many new customers, or family members as the Dooleys so lovingly refer to them, through the use of Groupon promotions.
Customers continue to brag on the food and the owners. The Dooley have mastered the three E’s which has made J&K Style grill the most beloved and talked about food joint in their locality. They not only represent the three E concept of engaging, equipping and empowering, but it is mandatory that employees understand this concept and make every effort to govern customer interactions by the following theory:
Engage — Give each customer a personal experience by engaging with them, listening to what they have to say and encouraging them to be a part of the ongoing conversation.
Equip — Give them reasons to talk by continuing to offer amazing and unique food items, great service as well as by sharing stories, facts, and even humorous experiences which occur along the progressive journey.
Empower — Give consumers different ways to promote and share. Encourage them to post pictures and testimonials on social media, within their circles and other methods of moving the conversation surrounding the restaurant around town.
J&K Style Grill has made it their mission to bring class back to the burger. It currently has one location at 6557 College Park Square in Virginia Beach, VA. People can join the conversation and follow the restaurant on Facebook (J&K Style Grill) and Instagram (JKStyleGrill).
The vision of the owners is centered on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction; they have committed to do everything possible to meet customer expectations. With a variety of options to choose from, such as the famous Waffle Burger, stuffed chicken wings and, exotic egg rolls, the Dooleys are confident food lovers will enjoy the dining experience offered at J&K Style Grill.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Interview with Kelvin and LaTonya Dooley
Personal J&K Style Dining Experience
All Photos Courtesy of J&K Style Grill