Jake’s Wayback Burgers: Retro treats on the way to the beach
The Route 113 corridor has become increasingly popular, serving as a gateway to the Maryland and Delaware beaches for out-of-town vacationers, or a throughway for commuters to get to and from area hotspots, such as Salisbury, Georgetown and Dover. And the owners of Millsboro’s newest franchise restaurant, Jake’s Wayback Burgers, are hoping that the high-volume area will bring hungry passersby inside for some fresh tastes.
Cindy Jenkins and her husband, Ray, have grown familiar with the Delaware coastline, having vacationed in the area in the summer for years. David and Sheri Wolfe have done the same, and together, these four – co-owners of Jake’s Wayback Burgers in Millsboro – are already getting some positive feedback on their new venture.
“There are a lot of people stopping in,” said Cindy Jenkins, “and the No. 1 thing we’re hearing from customers is that they’ve wanted a burger place to stop into. They have been very pleased with the food that we offer.”
Jake’s Wayback boasts fresh, never-frozen ingredients that keep customers returning. While their menu features a variety of sandwich and sides, true to their retro name, it’s their burgers and shakes that have made the Jake’s franchise what it has become over the past 20 years.
“It’s hard to find a good milkshake to go along with your burger,” said Jenkins. “We use vanilla ice cream and whole milk. It does have some fat and calories, but it’s very rich and delicious.” Patrons can keep it traditional with a vanilla, chocolate or strawberry shake, or they can opt to try a variety of other flavors, including orange cream, mint, banana or coffee. And every Jake’s Wayback restaurant offers a shake of the month. December’s shake is eggnog, topped with nutmeg.
“Our shakes aren’t quite as popular through the colder months,” Jenkins admitted, “but we still have plenty of curious customers coming in and trying them.”
The shakes are not the only thing that changes with the season. There’s a special burger of the month, as well. This month’s burger is the Crunchy Peppercorn: a signature Jake’s Cheeseburger topped with house-made potato chips and cracked peppercorn dressing.
Started in 1991 as Jake’s Hamburgers, the franchise has never veered from its origin. As their Web site proclaims, fast-food chains over the years have advertised “premium” burgers, which tend to be “larger versions of their frozen ‘hockey-puck’ burgers, mass-produced and shucked at customers from under heat lamps.” High-end chefs have jumped on the burger wagon, too, but they sometimes feature overpriced burgers that stray from tradition.
Adamantly clinging to its roots, Jake’s Hamburgers was changed to Jake’s Wayback Burgers this past August, reminding customers that they can still come into a comfortable restaurant and get a fresh, enjoyable burger, just like they did it... way back when.
“What sets us aside from fast-food chains is the quality,” said Jenkins. “Everything is made to order. Sometimes, people are going to have to wait a few minutes for their food. We cook it when they order it. Some people who come in are in a hurry, but, typically, customers come in and sit and wait.”
The original Jake’s Hamburgers still stands in Newark, Del., today, and nearly 20 years later, the restaurant is still going strong. Jake’s Wayback Burgers are located from Connecticut down to Florida and out as far west as Colorado.
But the owners of the Millsboro franchise are taking it local.
“We’re trying to become part of the community,” said Jenkins. “We’re hiring from the community, and we want to give back.”
Jake’s is open seven days a week, from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays. Visit www.waybackburgers.com or call (302) 934-8303 to place orders or stop into their location in the Peninsula Crossing shopping center in Millsboro, beside BJ’s and Lowe’s.