MOSES LAKE - It didn't take long for word to get out that Rock Top Burgers & Brew in Moses Lake had officially opened its doors for business.
Hundreds of Basin residents visited the gourmet burger joint on its opening day Friday. Shortly after the doors opened at 10:30 a.m., a majority of the restaurant's tables were already filled.
And the crowds kept coming throughout the weekend, said Jordan Hamilton, one of the new business's owners.
"We were very well-received by the community and we served a lot of people," he said Tuesday. "We had about 800 people come in each day during the first three days."
If you throw in guests who came on Monday, he said, Rock Top has served almost 3,000 people since opening day.
Rock Top occupies the former Golden Corral building on North Stratford Road. It is also the third dining establishment operated by the Hamilton family, joining Michael's on the Lake and Michael's Market & Bistro.
Lindsey Frey is Rock Top's general manager, and Adam Sawyer is the restaurant's assistant manager.
Hamilton said opening a restaurant that specialized in gourmet burgers had always been in the picture.
"We've had this concept and have wanted to do it for the past several years," he said. "There wasn't really a burger place like this in Moses Lake."
Hamilton said he wants customers to view Rock Top as a casual, family-friendly establishment.
While Rock Top does have a bar, he said, there is plenty of seating on the other side of the restaurant for families. There are also two outdoor seating areas at Rock Top, one near the bar for those older than 21 and one on the opposite side for families.
Although Rock Top has only been open for a handful of days, Hamilton said customer favorites are already starting to emerge.
The Officer Rodriguez 5-0 burger, with bleu cheese, bacon, grilled onions and avocado, among other ingredients, was one of the most commonly ordered burgers this past weekend, he said. It is named after Juan Rodriguez, a Moses Lake police officer.
"We had a contest back in December to see who could come up with the best burger recipe," said Hamilton. "And Juan Rodriguez won that, so we put that on the menu."
Hamilton said he also recommends the Rock Top Rumbler and Pacific Northwest burgers.
On the appetizer side, Hamilton said the restaurant's cheeseburger dip was another big hit over opening weekend. As the name suggests, the dip tastes like a gourmet hamburger, he said.
Rock Top also has an extensive salad, sandwich and dessert selection, said Hamilton.
Hamilton said the first few days of business went a lot smoother than he expected. He credits that to Rock Top's staff of about 70, a majority of which were new hires.
"You have 70 people who have never worked together, cooking a menu they've never cooked, in a building they've never worked in," he said. "No matter how prepared you think you are, you're still challenged."
Hamilton said he was proud of how quickly the team worked out various kinks.
"They've put in a lot of hours and they've worked a lot," he said. "To go from where we were on Friday, to where we're at today, it's better than I expected."
Rock Top Burgers & Brew is located at 930 N. Stratford Rd. in Moses Lake. They are open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.