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New Douglas startup’s burger business sizzling


PHOTO: Flyers Grill owner Rachel Beckett.

From Illinois Business Journal news services

Local people and those passing through New Douglas, an Illinois town of approximately 300, are enjoying hand-patted burgers and Ski sodas without having to step out of their vehicles.

New Douglas resident and former educator Rachel Beckett opened the drive-thru of her new restaurant, Flyers Grill, during September. The eatery is, named after the local school’s former mascot.

beckett rachelBeckett said the venture was aided by free business startup assistance from the Metro East Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“In January 2015, I attended one of the SBDC’s ‘Starting a Small Business in Illinois’ workshops,” she said. “It was there that I learned a number of valuable first steps in how to accomplish my goal of opening a restaurant.”

Beckett also met one-on-one with SBDC Small Business Specialist Jo Ann DiMaggio May, and received valuable feedback and advice on how to approach financial institutions for a line of credit. Beckett praised DiMaggio May for her generosity in sharing relevant business expertise and for her support.

“Jo Ann laid out the nuts and bolts of exactly what I needed to do,” Beckett said. “She didn’t try to change my business concept. Rather, she let my creativity flow, helping me shape and fine-tune my plan and stay on track.

“Jo Ann continues to follow up with me to see if I need additional assistance. The Metro East SBDC has been fantastic in helping me reach my goal.”

DiMaggio May says it was clear from the beginning that Beckett was focused and motivated in doing the work it took to open Flyers Grill.

“Rachel is a true inspiration and worked hard to achieve her business goals,” DiMaggio May said. “Rachel’s passion was evident from the beginning and made it easy to advise her. I am happy to be a small part of the Beckett’s success.”

Beckett’s husband, Montt, built the drive-up/walk-up building that houses Flyers Grill. The couple, who has four young children, is passionate about supporting their hometown. For Beckett, it’s a reminder of the years she worked at her parents’ bowling alley.

“I loved that experience growing up,” said Beckett. “I started cooking when I was 11. Now, I have the opportunity to introduce unique flavors to this small community, and it’s exciting. I’m a ‘foodie,’ so it’s been a passion of mine for a long time.”

Flyers Grill’s current favorites are the Sriracha Burger and Border Burger – the latter of which includes refried beans, jalapenos and taco seasoning. Beckett plans to add gyros to the menu soon.

The eatery, located four miles off Interstate 55, east of Illinois Route 4, is attracting a healthy number of truck drivers and local patrons, according to Beckett. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and offers a walk-up window in addition to drive-thru access.

To learn more about the Metro East SBDC at (618) 650-2929 or

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