KENT COUNTY, Mich — If music is food for the soul, Andrew Christopoulos is stuffed.
“I would DJ a couple of the high school dances, in fact, with turntables and vinyl," he laughed. “I wasn't really good. But I was doing it.”
Now two decades later, at 42 years old, he works DJ sets all over Grand Rapids.
But if all the world’s a stage, being a DJ is not his final act.
“There can be pressure there to perform to, to deliver for other people that are depending on you," he said.
By night, he's flipping beats. By day, he's flipping burgers — as Mr. Burger the second.
“I entered the equation in 1981 when I was born, and that's actually when the second Mr. Burger was open. And now we have seven," he said.
Andrew’s parents immigrated from Greece after World War II. His mom was on a student visa and his dad borrowed money for the boat ride. The two fell in love and opened the beloved burger chain.
“Given their work ethic, I don't see how it could fail," said Andrew.
In their 80s now, it was time for them to pass the patties, even though Andrew believes they'll never fully retire. Now, him and his brother, Jimmy, are running the show.
“That's pretty big role to fill," he said.
It's a big role that he never auditioned for.
“When I was younger, it was just kind of like, 'oh, yeah, whatever.' Now, as I get older, it's like, I'm really appreciative that others have been so supportive and appreciative of that restaurant over the years.”
To know so many people care about his livelihood, can be an added burden.
“It can be pressure," he said. "It can also be reaffirming that you're doing something worthwhile and people are responding that they're appreciative."
Andrew was always meant to step up to the grill. His childhood was spent in a Mr. Burger dining room.
"Since I was always here, I'd become friends with like customers kids," he said. “I think the Lake Michigan Drive store or still has a couple of tennis rackets and baseball bats with some tennis balls back from when I was younger.”
“It was like a second home."
The restaurants look nearly the same as all those years ago.
“When people come to Mr. Burger, they're not worried about dressing up, they're not worried about breaking the bank, they're not worried about their kids crying or spilling something. It's like a family restaurant. That's a cool space to occupy.”
Despite the years and rising costs, their menu is nearly identical, too.
“We cut our own tomatoes in the back, we cut our own onions, we do a lot of basics that I think others may have taken shortcuts on," said Andrew.
The burger prince is soon to take the throne as Burger King.
“It’s just engrained in who I am," he smiled.
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