Carbondale boasts an ever-changing cycle of locally-owned restaurants. While new restaurants open, other restaurants change hands, switch locations or even close.
It’s a cycle that afforded the owner of Carbondale’s newest restaurant, Josh Leitchy, an opportunity to open Dale’s Burger Shack, 1709 W. Main St., in a location that is purpose-built to be a restaurant.
“They did an auction of the property that was abandoned here,” Leitchy said. “We picked up two pieces of equipment at that auction. The majority of it went away.”
As for his other equipment, he said he looked far and wide to make things fit his new digs and budget.
“I traveled all over the Midwest to get good stuff, to get good deals, and to get things that would fit perfectly for the spot because it’s a small location,” he said.
Leitchy, who opened Dale’s Burger Shack in July, has been a team member and manager at establishments throughout Carbondale’s restaurant industry. He hired staff who he has worked with before, and he serves customers who he has served at other establishments.
“My favorite things about this place? The customers and the staff,” Leitchy said.
Relationships with other local businesses have been important to Leitchy’s business as well. He is cooking meat from Arnold’s Market and serving pie from Rule of Pie in Murphysboro.
“None of that stuff was our original concept. It’s just opportunities that we’ve come across since we’ve opened and we’ve jumped on them and embraced them and we appreciate them and they’re actually working out really well,” he said. “We’re even thinking about sourcing a couple of other things as well, whether it’s cookies from some of the local bakeries or coffee from one of the local coffee places.”
The coffee is important because on Aug. 17, Dale’s Burger Shack will have its grand opening celebration and they’ll begin operating 24 hours a day, with a slight exception.
“From then on out we’re going to be open 24 hours,” Leitchy said. “Except we’re going to be closed during the eclipse and the day after.”
Leitchy also said he’s delighted with the menu he is offering his guests.
“I was surprised at how many burgers we would sell at the hotdog shack that everybody wanted. We’re selling a lot more burgers than we are dogs. I think that’s pretty cool,” he said, “I wanted to have affordable burgers and good, house-cut fries. It turns out our burgers are really delicious, too.”
The food, staff, customers and restaurant all come together to create an experience Leitchy hopes will keep guests returning.