Short's Burger & Shine opens in Marion, bringing Iowa City favorite north

 

MARION — All the 26 burgers on the menu at Short’s Burger & Shine are named for Iowa towns with populations of 1,000 people or less.

“It’s a shout-out to places that are lesser known,” said Chevy Bushaw, managing partner of the new Marion restaurant. “Iowa is not just about the bigger cities.”

The Marion location of Short’s opened Oct. 10, bringing an Iowa City establishment north. Bushaw went into business with owner Kevin Perez, who owns two Short’s locations in Iowa City, as well as other Iowa City restaurants, including Stella’s and Hudson’s Tap.

Bushaw, who lives in Coralville, took on the Marion venture after working his way up from a server in 2014. He later was the general manager of Stella’s and then the downtown Short’s location before he and Perez started talking about where to expand next.

“Marion is growing. The population is there. From what we had heard, something was missing from the market. We thought this would be a good chance to branch out,” Bushaw said.

 
 

The menu at Short’s in Marion is an amalgam of the other restaurants. All of them feature similar lists of signature burgers; Short’s in Marion also serves pizza and Cajun food, which is popular at Stella’s. Dishes like gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish etouffee have been popular at Stella’s. On Tuesdays, the Marion restaurant is offering Cajun dishes for 1/2 price. Other regular weekly specials include $6.99 burgers on Mondays and community nights on Wednesdays, during which 15 percent of sales will go to a local nonprofit.

“We kind of took the best dishes from each restaurant,” Bushaw said.

Perez and Bushaw did much of the woodwork to build out the space in Uptown Marion themselves, including putting in wooden floors, a new bar and long booths and bench seating designed to accommodate large parties

 
 

For now they’re only open for dinners Monday to Saturday, and they ended up closing on the first two Saturdays they were open. That was due to staffing issues, Bushaw said. He would like to eventually be open for lunch and on Sundays, but he said finding enough employees has been a challenge.

Despite that challenge, he said he likes the fast-pace necessary to run a successful restaurant.

“It really just matches my personality. I like the pressure of it, the challenge of it. You’re fixing things on the fly. It’s like survival mode, almost,” he said. You see different people everyday — different customers, different staff. It’s not your typical 9 to 5 — you do a little bit of everything. Last night I was behind the bar, seating people, waiting tables.”

Some of the towns the burgers are named for suggest flavor combinations, like the Jamaica burger, with jerk spice, mango jalapeno salsa and pepper jack cheese, or the Germantown, with kraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on marble rye. Bushaw’s favorite is the Baxter, a blackened burger with bacon, provolone and chipotle mayonnaise. Any burger on the Short’s Marion menu can be made with a black bean burger or as a chicken sandwich, and all are served with fries.

 

Like the burger names, the ingredients also are Iowa-based, with beef from a local farmer that is processed by Bud’s Beef in Riverside, buns from Fancy Bread in Des Moines and eggs from Kalona. The bar also features all Iowa beers on tap and a signature Short’s Whiskey made for them by Cedar Ridge Distillery. To supply produce, Perez started a small farm, just under three acres, in Iowa City, which grows vegetables and herbs used at all of his restaurants.

“For me, a burger can really take on the flavor of anything you add to it. A burger with fries — I guess it’s the American way,” Bushaw said.

 

If You Go

 

What: Short’s Burger & Shine

Where: 780 11th St., Marion

Hours: Kitchen open 4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Details: (319) 200-1020, facebook.com/shortsmarion

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com