Burger Up! Local Restaurant Becomes 12S Staple

Issue: 
October 2011

In 2004, a funky little coffee shop with an equally funky name popped up on 12th Avenue South. The street was still in its early stages of transforming into the hip neighborhood that now hosts many thriving independent businesses and seemingly recession-proof homes filled with young families. A determined, spirited woman named Miranda Whitomb Pontes opened the doors to Frothy Monkey, and since then, both she and the coffee shop have become landmark fixtures of the 12th South neighborhood.

Miranda admits that at the time, Frothy Monkey was a moving vehicle carrying her on the path of an identity quest. “It could have been a paperclip shop, widget shop, an anything shop. I wanted to do something, anything that would help me feel more valuable,” she explains. “As Frothy Monkey became a reality, the vision was all about community and how relationships would hopefully form there. I knew very little about coffee. Coffee was merely a vehicle for people to get together.”

As Frothy Monkey’s business grew, Miranda contemplated another endeavor. She envisioned another community-centered business, one that served great burgers and salads — fresh, simple food, grown and raised as close to the neighborhood as possible. Burger Up opened its doors in 2010, just down the street from Frothy Monkey. Most of the wood in the restaurant was salvaged from her grandfather’s farm. “He was my father figure. He helped mold me into the person I am today. I spent a significant part of my youth at his farm, playing in and around that barn. He taught me not to see color in people; he modeled kindness and compassion, generosity and respect for nature.”

This compassion has moved Miranda outside the realm of her own businesses. She became involved with local nonprofit Thistle Farms, which rehabilitates women from prostitution and addiction and employs them to make bath and beauty products that sustain the mission. Miranda says when she heard Thistle Farms founder Becca Stevens speak, “I wanted to be a part of what she was doing. Also on a more personal note, I could relate to all the women in the program; there are no prejudices in the world of addiction. They all had lived through tremendous pain and were on their way out by way of someone loving them. I want to make money so I can give it away. I love the line in the Prayer of St. Francis, ‘It is in giving that we receive.’”

Shortly after Burger Up was on its feet, Miranda opened a market called LB’s, serving up gourmet sandwiches and pre-made dinners as well as stocking select household goods. Unfortunately, didn’t last long. “LB’s will always hold a sweet spot in my heart,” Miranda admits. “I had a vision and executed that vision, but was not prepared for what it would take to sustain that vision. It was a necessary financial decision to close.”

However, Miranda’s vision has legs. “Someone with similar philosophy on food is opening a special place in that spot soon,” she reveals. Miranda also recently made the “bittersweet” decision to focus solely on Burger Up, selling Frothy Monkey to Ryan Pruitt, her longtime manager. Pruitt, who helped keep it afloat for seven years, and now maintains the same vision and service that Miranda always had.  

Burger Up has been featured in many periodicals, ranging from USA Today to Us Weekly, because of the superb quality and celebrity clientele. Miranda admits she “was a total dork when Kevin Costner came in. Al Roker also got me good — I mean I see him, like, every day on TV! I love that the Black Keys live near and come around, same for Jack White, Buddy Miller and Kings of Leon. Having just seen The Help, I’m pretty giddy over Mary Steenburgen.”

Everyone at Burger Up gets the special treatment, regardless of whether they’re a boldface name. “All in all, every person who visits Burger Up is special to me — seriously — it’s an opportunity for me to share my belief in community and thoughtful eating. The more folks, the better.”

In true Miranda form, she is once again expanding, and will soon be opening a Burger Up in Cool Springs, near P.F. Chang’s and McDougal’s Chicken. “It will be very similar in look and feel of the one here on 12th South, but a bit bigger and with the addition of some booth seating. There will still be community tables, built with the remaining wood from my grandfather’s farm.”

A one-word description of anything Miranda undertakes would simply be this: community. It’s a business and life model that seems to be serving her, and us, quite well.
 
Photo by Eric England

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The new outlet would be an equally popular place that people would feel coming back to over and over again. When we eat out it is not only the food that makes a place appealing to us, it the ambiance that creates the magic. That is the reason old diners are still our favorites despite there being so many fast food chains.

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I'm glad to hear new businesses are stating. With a good payroll service they'll soon be able to hire massively. The fast-food industry is always a good place to start.

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This is one of the best coffee shops and they provide some tasty coffee sorts. I like coffee and I've just bought some delicious coffee flavoring syrups from http://www.aromacoffeemidwest.com/staserosyrups.aspx in order to prepare some great coffee for my friends.

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I appreciate a lot this great and quality post! I've recently opened a restaurant and I am providing some delicious meals for my clients. One of my favourite desserts are berry cakes and I hired a chef who cooks great. I am buying fresh food every day and berries from http://store.isons.com/berry-plants.

Miranda admits that at the time, Frothy Monkey was a moving vehicle carrying her on the path of an identity quest binary options pro signals review

alex21's picture

Hopefully her success will keep growing, she seems the kind of person who really wants to make a difference through her business. A few promotional coffee mugs could help the new location gain clients at a faster rate, if she manages to make them come back , they'll be hooked on her coffee!

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A friend of mine lives at 12th Avenue South and she once took me to Frothy Monkey. It is a great place, you should definitely try it, I fell in love with its food as well as with its ambiance. I just hope that it continues its successful journey in future as well. In my neighborhood too there is a great cafe which mostly sells unique desserts like macaron, they also offer macaron delivery service to homes.

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I know this place. They offer very good burgers. I love them actually. The shop owner had a similar food canteen somewhere near the neighborhood. My mom said it was also good. The lady is much recognized by her shop’s than her name.
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Frothy Monkey is an amazing coffee shop which has a beautiful ambiance. I think every one would love to have a cup of steaming coffee at this place. I am a foodie and I love eating out, just last week I went for dinner at a recently launched posh restaurant in our neighborhood, it served really sumptuous fare and they have fine wine collection too, they served us Curran Grenache blanc with our meal.

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