Bunny’s Onion Burgers
Switching from a job in the corporate world to flipping burgers may seem like an odd choice. But for Bunny Biggers, the move was perfectly timed to meet her needs during a crossroads in life.
Bunny’s Onion Burgers has become known for its flavorful, cooked-to-order burgers and friendly atmosphere. For Bunny, it’s a second career that she loves every bit as much as the first.
“I had a corporate career that culminated as director of operations for Delta Dental, in 1989,” Bunny said. “They moved their main office to Arkansas and I found myself unemployed.”
After surviving about a year of unemployment, she ran into a friend who offered her a chance to try her hand in the restaurant business. “I decided why not? I budgeted for zero dollars … I can’t go down from there. The corporate background gave me the skills I needed to manage the business.”
Biggers and her husband, Jerry, purchased what was formerly Joes Onion Burgers in 1990 and began to learn the ins and outs of running a restaurant. They changed the name in 1991 and Bunny’s Onion Burgers was born.
Fate dealt its hand again in 2001 after the couple moved to Edmond. Bunny had been commuting from Edmond to Oklahoma City and was contemplating opening an Edmond location when they came upon the space that would soon become her second Bunny’s Onion Burgers.
“We found this space by accident. I was shopping when I saw the vacant space. It was equipped for a restaurant, so I made contact and about a month later we opened up our Edmond location,” she said.
From day one, Bunny’s has been a family business. Originally, Bunny and son Ryan managed the day-to-day operations with some help from Jerry in the evenings. Daughters Amy and Kerri have put in a great deal of time in the business, as have daughter-in-laws Mandy and Leanne. Even Ruben Mata, who is married to Bunny’s niece, and nephew Christopher Scott have their hands in the family operations. Ruben is the head chef and manager in Oklahoma City. And although she’s not related, Kat Montfort is still part of the family as the manager of the Edmond Bunny’s.
The family focus doesn’t end here. As her many regular customers testify, when you walk into Bunny’s for a meal, you leave with a lot more than a full stomach …you leave as a new member of the Bunny’s family.
Bunny’s recently demonstrated that to the Tyner family, loyal customers for 15 years. They called Bunny a couple of days before Christmas with a special request: the Tyner kids were coming home from across the country and they wanted Bunny’s Onion Burgers for Christmas Eve dinner. The restaurant closed early Christmas Eve, so Bunny flash-froze a couple of trays of burgers in advance.
Bunny has created a family atmosphere that not only keeps the customers coming back but has made for loyal employees. The small and youthful staff consists of mostly students who take care of their customers and lend an energy and camaraderie to the eatery. They consider Bunny’s to be their second home.
“Many of our customers, like Ralph Corey, have been with us for 15 years. They’ve shared in the family memories of Bunny’s,” Bunny said. ”We’ve gotten to know their families — how old their kids are, what they’ve grown up doing and they know about ours. They ask for family pictures. Clients have said they love the fact that they can walk in, the server knows their name, what they like to eat and they can always count on friendly conversation.”
Food prepared the old-fashioned way also keeps people coming back. Burgers made from 81 percent lean beef are the most popular, but the homemade chili is becoming a favorite, Bunny said. The fried chicken salad and fried chicken tenders are the two other most popular menu items. Bunny’s also offers a variety of family-priced meals for less than $10.
Bunny said the burger she serves in the restaurant today is as close to the original 1950s onion burger as it gets. She obtained the Joe’s Onion Burger recipes and has changed very little over the years. And, just as it was done in those early days, everything is fresh, cooked-to-order and served piping hot. “You don’t change what works,” Bunny said.
Bunny’s Onion Burgers is located in North Oaks Shopping Center at Danforth and Kelly in Edmond and at NW 50th and Meridian in Oklahoma City. The Edmond location is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.