O’Fallon resident Jason Boergadine remembers his grandfather as a fun-loving guy who was passionate about his family and barbecuing.
For 40-years, grandpa Ray Morris enchanted his entire family with his famous cooking. When he passed away in 2012, along with fond memories, he left his family his burger recipe.
Now to honor Ray and share a little bit of his legacy with the rest of , Jason decided to open a family-owned burger joint, featuring his grandfather’s recipe.
Daddy Ray Burgers is expected to open in early September, at 8814 Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Daddy Ray Burgers Begin
Ray Morris was born in St. Louis in 1924. He grew up in the era of the Great Depression and fought in World War II.
Upon returning from the war, he was searching for a job and answered an ad for Pet Inc., a food processing company.
Jason said with only an eighth grade education, his grandfather worked his way up through the company, starting out in the mail room and eventually becoming CEO.
“I’ve always looked up to him and admired him for that,” Jason said. “He was always about hard work and family.”
During Ray’s work in the food industry in the 1960s, he came up with a special family burger.
“We always said, this will sell,” Jason said, adding that he and his family were waiting for the right time and place to give it a try.
Jason is no stranger to the restaurant business. His mother and stepfather owned a fine dining restaurant in Lake of Ozarks while he was growing up and in 2004, the family opened and ran a dueling piano bar in California for four years.
Now the whole family is living in O’Fallon and Jason said they found the perfect spot for their burger-shack on Veterans Memorial.
Unique Burgers Aim to Please
Without giving away too much of the secret, Jason shared the three-pound patty is “a barbecued burger, without being smothered in barbecue sauce.”
“It’s truly unique,” he added, “There’s some sweetness, and it’s not just a burger thrown on grill.”
Daddy Rays will focus on to-go orders and carry-outs. There is no indoor seating, but Jason said there is a small patio outside. Eventually, the owner hopes they will branch out into deliveries.
“We’re not fast food like it’s known, we’re between that and a sit down restaurant,” he said. “We’re planning on launching with burgers, hot dogs, side items and doing daily specials.
Jason said for the first few months, the focus of Daddy Ray’s is burgers. They will eventually add more barbecue recipes to the menu, and are looking into purchasing a brick pizza oven.
Daddy Ray’s menu will also feature a bacon wrapped hot dog and specials on ribs and pork steaks.
“We’ll try to bring unique things in to mix,” Jason said. “We aim to please. If someone wants five patties we’ll do it, if they want every topping we have, we’ll do it.”
All in the O'Fallon Family
Jason said besides cooking quality food, he hopes Daddy Ray’s Burgers will be able to give back to the community.
“We were given this recipe from someone who believed so much in giving back to the community,“ Jason said.
He added that Ray was a Boy Scout leader and always donated to local charities, setting an example of helping others for the rest of the family.
“Were going to try to translate that through a great food product and anything else we can do in community,” he said. “It’s a family through and through—we love O’Fallon and plan on giving back to the community once we get going.”
Daddy Ray’s Burgers is family-owned and operated, but Jason hopes to be able to hire more employees soon.
The burger joint will cater to the lunch and early dinner crowd. Jason hopes to have it open a week or two after Labor Day.
Daddy Ray’s will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. They are closed on Sundays.
Jason said the main goal of Daddy Ray’s Burgers, is to pay homage to his grandfather, a man he says “was a larger than life influence” to him.
“Unfortunately, he’s gone, but he lives on,” Jason said. “I look at all the things he’s done, and it’s the least I can do to keep him alive a little bit more.”
You can check out Daddy Ray’s Burgers online.
O’Fallon Patch will keep you updated on the grand opening as the information becomes available.