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Bonding Over Burgers: Celebrating 25 years

The delicious Doug’s Burger Den

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson  Photos Kimberlee Miller

Doug’s Burger Den is celebrating 25 years in business. With the help of his parents, Doug Corta opened the restaurant on January 4, 1993. It was a big year for him–two months later he married Jacki, on March 26, 1993. “We both grew up in Middleton,” shares Jacki. “We were high school sweethearts—well I was in high school! We started dating when I was 15 and he was 21! Our families knew each other.”

The Cortas moved to Eagle 25 years ago so they could be close to the restaurant. “Although Eagle has grown so much, I love the sense of a small-town atmosphere it still holds.” A Nampa native, Jacki likes Idaho’s “four seasons, the beauty of the outdoors in our backyard, and the ease of life!” 

Doug’s parents owned Jim’s Burger Den in Middleton and encouraged Doug to become a restaurant owner. “We are a family owned mom-and-pop restaurant striving to put out a spectacular burger!” shares Jacki. “We serve a full café style breakfast six days a week. Come down early and you will find the ‘regulars’ solving the world’s problems.”

The most popular item on the menu is the Burger Den Special (two patties, cheese and bacon). “Flavor burst ice cream takes top pick with our kid clientele.” Jacki’s favorite is the Super burger (one patty, cheese and ham). “Our burgers are fresh hand pressed patties that are made to order.”

Jacki recalls Doug befriending a small boy of 9 or 10, waiting for the bus in front of the Burger Den. “In the winter Doug would take him hot chocolate to sip on while he waited. Doug told him, ‘You come see me when you turn 16 and you can work for me.’ That sweet boy did come back at 16 and got his first job at Doug’s Burger Den.”

All three of Jacki and Doug’s daughters Mackenzi “Z”, 23; Bentli, 20; and Demi, 17, have worked at Doug’s Burger Den. “I love the regular customers that have watched my three girls grow up and continue to support us.”

“Honestly, I never thought I would be running the restaurant—this was Doug’s baby, not mine. He ran it successfully for 21 years. In March of 2014 he was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. In November 2015 Doug passed away and I was left to run the business. The outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming. Without me knowing, Doug had put people in place to help me and our three girls. Being down at the restaurant allows me to feel his presence.”

“Doug would have been thrilled to be celebrating 25 years. He would have thanked the community for their continuous support. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Doug’s Burger Den. I feel blessed!”

Jacki’s dream project is completing the Doug Corta Sports Complex, a nonprofit sports complex, an indoor training/hitting facility with four softball fields, that would be located in Eagle. “I’m passionate about mentoring young female athletes. We are trying to raise enough money and or get land donated to build it. Doug was also the Eagle High Softball coach and it was his dream to have a facility that athletes could train in to better themselves.”

Jacki’s positive outlook is inspired by her parents. She advises, “Appreciate each second of the day, share a smile and respect and love who you see in the mirror. If you face a challenge and fight like hell, you will come out on top. If it’s a struggling business, out of control teenagers, distraught relationships, or brain cancer, you need to keep moving forward, stay positive and see the good in your life to find that small victory.”

“Do not give up when it gets really hard. Put in the time and it will pay off.”

Doug’s Burger Den
231 E State St, Eagle
939-3300