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Hollyfood takes burgers to the movies

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jun 12, 2024
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Francisco Tobar, left, owner of Hollyfood in South Ogden, and employee Sebastian Castro pose with the Symbiote burger and a life-size Darth Vader figure.
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The Symbiote burger was inspired by Marvel Comics' Venom character.
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Fresh lemon pie is a dessert offered at Hollyfood, a burger restaurant in South Ogden.

Hollyfood in South Ogden serves burgers with a superhero twist.

Owner Francisco Tobar showcases his movie memorabilia, including a life-size Darth Vader figure and a photo of his family with "Back to the Future" actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

All of Tobar's burgers have a movie or comic book theme.

"We sell an experience, not just a burger," Tobar said. "We want to give people the best experience in their life."

The most popular burger so far, Symbiote, is named for Marvel comic book and movie character Venom. The dark bun is decorated with "eyes" made of cheese, and bacon sticks out from the bun to symbolize a long tongue. It also contains American and cheddar cheese, caramelized onion and the house sauce.

Another interesting burger, Dark Green, is named for the Incredible Hulk. It has a bright green bun, American cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce, tomatoes and house sauce. The American Patriot comes in a bright red bun with a star to symbolize Captain America's shield. The burger is topped with American cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onion and house sauce. Prices for all the burgers are $11.90, which includes fries and a drink. Also on the menu are chicken tenders, side salad, and desserts of cake and house-made lemon pie.

The burgers' colored buns are unusual and something that sets the them apart from other restaurants. Tobar said they are made in-house, "so it's a very fresh bun."

Also, he added, "Our secret is fresh beef, not frozen."

Tobar is originally from Chile. His family immigrated to the United States "because the social situation in my country was very difficult."

He holds degrees in sound engineering and business. In Chile, he was a radio announcer for 20 years and owned a medical center before moving.

For two years, he was general manager at Café Rio in Farmington. In 2022, he won the company's "best customer service" award that included a trip to Hawaii. When it came to opening his own business, his Café Rio experience helped him lean in the direction of food service.

"People need to eat every day," he said. "We thought about doing Chilean meals, but we didn't know if a lot of Chilean people were here. So an American restaurant seemed like a very good idea, and people love burgers."

Last October, he began looking for a location and found it in a South Ogden strip mall at 1706 E. 5600 South (former home of Lovee's Cakes). The eight-table restaurant walls were painted with art from movies such as "Ghostbusters," "Star Wars," "Harry Potter" and "Venom." Displays of posters, figurines and other movie memorabilia are on display. There also are two vintage Pac-Man arcade games.

"We wanted a place where we love spending time here," Tobar said. "We are here early in the morning until late at night, but we love it here. I love seeing people coming and having fun here. A lot of people like to come and take pictures."

He chose the name "Hollyfood" as a play on Hollywood and the movie industry.

The restaurant opened April 6. Now, it's just a matter of people finding out about it.

"Every day, more new people come, and they tell others about it," Tobar said. "It will snowball as people tell their friends and family, and if people check us out on Facebook or Instagram."

He said that eventually, he wants to open more locations. "'But we need to prove this one first. We'll just work step by step and trust in God," he added.


IF YOU GO

Hollyfood

Location: 1706 E. 5600 South, South Ogden

Contact: Americanrestaurantsouthogden.com or 385-465-0073

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday

Price: $11.90 for burger with fries and drink

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