Jay and Kim Kupiszewski had a good feeling about opening their family-friendly restaurant in Collierville 13 years ago.
The high school sweethearts had already taken a stab at the food industry in Bartlett just before the economic recession of 2007-08.
However, the the first incarnation of their business, Booya’s Burgers and Burritos, didn’t work out.
So, the Florida State University graduates and Tallahassee natives decided to move their restaurant to Collierville, where they had moved to in 2001 with their three children.
“It was great from the beginning,” Kim said of the response from Collierville.
Since then, the town has embraced the self proclaimed “burrito joint meets burger joint” with open arms and even voted Booya’s the 2021 Readers’ Choice Restaurant of the Year.
Kim, a hospitality management and tourism major in college, and Jay, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who served in the First Gulf War, have done all they can to return the favor to the town that help support their business, even through the recent pandemic.
Kim said that Booya’s staff of around 50 employees has always been comprised primarily of local teenagers.
“We pride ourselves in employing local youths,” Kim noted. “We see it as a great opportunity to mentor kids.”
Kim said that Booya’s puts school first and works with the schedules of local teens to make sure there is a balance in their lives.
“That,” she added, “is the beauty of working for Booya’s.”
She said that all of her children have worked for the family business at one time or another and that her daughter-in-law is even one of the general managers.
While most of Booya’s part-time serving staff is comprised of local high schoolers, the kitchen staff includes five full-time employees.
Two of these workers have been with the Kupiszewski’s from day one.
Beyond hiring and mentoring local youths, Kim said that Booya’s has always made a point to support locals schools and clubs.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is also another cause that the family has worked to support.
Recently, when the couple considered franchising the restaurant, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted expansion plans.
However, Booya’s was never forced to shutter its doors.
“We immediately started curbside service,” Kim said. “And Collierville responded. Without the community support we would have never made it. We never had to close.”
Perhaps the biggest reason that the community continues to support Booya’s is for the food itself. With a wide variety of menu items, Kim said that the restaurant’s burgers are the “best in the Mid-South.”
Booya’s also has six varieties of homemade salsas and often ordered tilapia tacos.
“We have many unique items that most chain burrito joints don’t have,” Kim said. “Take for example our buffalo fried catfish or our surf and turf items, burritos or quesadillas.”
For more information, go to booyasbnb.com.