Burger Boy to honor late former employee with upcoming reopening

3 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Burger Boy, a fixture in Caribou since 1968, will reopen for the season on April 30 with a new kitchen and bathrooms, and new uniforms honoring former employee Kacie Haney, who died in a car crash on June 5.

The uniforms will replace the “Burger Boy” on the sleeves with Crocs — honoring Haney, who started the trend of wearing Crocs at work.

“She was probably my first employee to ever wear Crocs to work,” restaurant owner Dustin Mancos said. “Kacie didn’t just care about her job, she was the type of person to change a customer’s day. People would leave the drive-thru happy after seeing her. She gave a huge morale boost to customers and to us as an organization, and it felt like there was a hole after she passed.”

Last year, the restaurant opened on March 9 — just days before the COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous shutdowns. Mancos had to shut down the dining area and lay off 11 staff members, then Haney’s death occurred just a couple of months later.

“It was a rough time,” he said, “but we had to make it work. My employees lost a friend, and the community lost a member.”

In an April 11 Facebook post, Burger Boy announced that it would be replacing the “Burger Boy” on the sleeves of their uniforms with Crocs, “as a reminder of not only Kacie and her family, but as a subtle way to tell us to live life wide open.”

Mancos said the response to this announcement has been positive, with many members of the public asking if they could purchase a shirt with the updated sleeves.

“She loved Crocs and she was so happy when I told her they could be part of our dress code,” Mancos wrote in the post. “She’d always joke about putting them in sport mode so she could work faster.”

His post reiterated that Haney will be missed by numerous people in the community.

“She was the real deal. A true 100 percent genuine person. One that will be missed by so many. Thank you for coming into my life and showing me that being yourself is okay. That no matter how hard the situation, positivity will get you anywhere,” he wrote.

In addition to the updated uniforms, Mancos said the entire kitchen was renovated, and the bathrooms are renovated to be ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible. The heating system has been upgraded too, giving the restaurant an opportunity to potentially stay open year-round.

He said the menu has not changed significantly, and that there are 27 people on payroll for Burger Boy. 

With the new heating system, Mancos said they may stay open later this year, but close before Thanksgiving, possibly in the first week of November.

“Sometimes we have snow in October, so we’ll play it by ear and see what happens,” he said. “We’ll close once more, and then potentially be open year-round.”

Throughout this year’s season, Mancos said he hopes to bring back community events the restaurant saw before the pandemic. 

“I”m very excited to say that we are 100 percent making our car show happen this year,” he said, adding that he is definitely interested in hosting a car hop and getting involved with the city’s Thursdays on Sweden street festival. 

“It’s going to be great to be back,” he said. “I wanted to own Burger Boy since 2013, and I’m hopeful that people in the community will continue to support me as I continue to support them.”