If it's time for a slightly messy, flavorful hamburger and you need it fast, the Pine Cone in Bayfield might just the place.
The Pine Cone opened in November next to Mini Merc, providing burgers, fries and shakes for hungry kids and their families.
Owner Tim Sapa also operates Dairy Queen in Durango and said he wanted to bring a fast food concept to Bayfield, but make it more of a place where kids could hang out, as well.
He's also been tweaking the menu for local tastes, adding chocolate ice cream to the menu after numerous requests.
Justin Matherson of Bayfield started Rez Meetz Urban Zesty Salsa last fall, as well, based on his wife's salsa recipe, and is slowly gaining fans and adding outlets where customers can buy his fresh salsa. A mutual friend suggested the two get together and see if they could partner on a local offering.
The salsa burger was born and made its official debut Feb. 12. The restaurant also started selling salsa by the pint, again in response to customer request.
"It's basically a smothered burger," Sapa said. Since some of the salsa naturally falls out, "we decided to serve it with chips." Fries are available, as well, for potato lovers.
"I've been trying to keep it local," Sapa said of the Pine Cone, which is decorated with BHS Wolverine memorabilia. If customers have a uniform in their closet they no longer need, he said they're welcome to drop it off for him to put on the walls. There's an old band uniform and two football jerseys from the 1996 and 2015 state champion teams, as well as uniforms from other sports.
"I need something from Knowledge Bowl," he said.
Wolverine fans are apparently salsa fans, as well. Sapa went from using pints of salsa for his burgers to a five-gallon bucket last weekend.
Matherson makes the salsa daily at CJ's Diner in Durango.
The Grocery Store at Bayfield was his first retail client, and he said he appreciates owner Paul Peeples being willing to take a chance on an unknown commodity. It's also sold at Nature's Oasis, Mesa Market at Elmore's Corner, and a few other locations.
Matherson was a youth pastor at Pine Valley Church and said he wanted to find a business opportunity. People always raved about his wife's salsa, and he investigated making it on a commercial scale. People love the fresh product - it's not cooked - and they appreciate that it's been made in the past 24 to 48 hours.
John White, a Bayfield resident and food columnist for the Times, gives both the salsa and the burger a thumbs up.
"It's suprisingly flavorful," he said of the burger.
The Pine Cone is open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., and there is usually a surge in customers after a local game. Matherson said he's looking for more outlets for his salsa, and he is grateful for the opportunity from the burger joint to get his product in front of more customers.