Mark Biccum, 33, goes wayback in the food industry.
He started out in the restaurant business when he was 15 years old in upstate New York and got into the burger business in the early '20s, so why not become a franchisee of a place called ?
"Ketchup and mustard runs through my veins," Biccum says.
The Connecticut-based burger joint opened up its first-ever mall food court location inside the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall in June and hope to give folks in south Sarasota a new, fresh option for burgers, shakes and fries.
Biccum and his three brothers, Joe Biccum, 29, and Chris Biccum, 26, run BICC Brothers LLC, bought into the Jake's franchise in 2009 and , which is a traditional full-service Jake's. You'll often see one or more of the brothers on the other side of the counter slamming down some patties on the grill.
"We thought it had a good structure," Mark Biccum said about Jake's.
What makes Jake's special?
"All of our stuff is fresh, made-to-order. Nothing's frozen," Biccum said. "It's not a McDonald's or Burger King. It's really good meat."
Once your order is placed, a cook gets to work on the line to fry your burger.
"The signature burger is the two patties — the Jake hamburger and the Jake cheeseburger," he says. "The junior is a single and the Big Jake is the triple."
Oh, Big Jake is definitely a hefty contender. He piles on just under 10 ounces of beef between those buns.
"If you do a Big Jake, onion rings and a milkshake, you're gonna take a nap afterward," Biccum jokes.
Add some free toppings like grilled onions, jalapenos, relish or sweet peppers in addition to your traditional toppings for your veggies or throw on some mushrooms and chili for 50 cents each.
If you're feeling adventurous, try the Burger of the Month.
The July burger is the Texas Jake featuring jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and chipotle dressing.
"I like the Carolina Jake," Biccum says. "Two patties of meat, cheese, cole slaw, mustard and chili. It's a little sweet and crunchy at the same time."
These Burgers of the Months are just sent down on high from corporate. Fans of Jake's can visit its Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/waybackburgers and vote on the burger of the month.
Maybe you're not a hamburger person. Jake's also offers hot dogs, gardenburgers, turkey burger, BLT, grilled and breaded chicken and even grilled cheese and yes, freshly made salads.
Wash down those burgers with a hand-dipped, hand-spun milkshake or malted shake, too.
If you're on the go during your lunch break, online and call-ahead orders are also accepted, and Jake's will also deliver to mall employees inside Sarasota Square.
Business is doing well so far, and Biccum anticipates the Aug. 17 opening of Costco around the corner will bring larger crowds to the food court.
"We should get about 3,000 more people a day, and when busy season starts at the beginning of October/November to April, we will do very well," he says.
Having Jake's based in New England should help him draw in snowbirds from that region who frequent Sarasota, too, he adds.
As season comes into full swing, Biccum anticipates he'll augment his staff of 15 to meet demand. He likes his employees to have smiling faces, have a good attitude and take care of people.
"Customer service and quality of food are everything," Biccum says. "If you don't have the one, you don't have the other."
Jake's Wayback Burgers
8201 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (inside Sarasota Square Mall Foodcourt)
9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday