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Put me in coach, Shula Burger arrives in Kissimmee. Meet Coach Shula, win burgers for a year, Nov. 12-13

Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 10:34 am


By Peter Covino

Lifestyles Editor

Look out Whopper and Big Mac — something bigger has just come to Kissimmee.

The newest Shula Burger location officially opens Nov. 12 and 13 with prizes and a visit from the big man himself, legendary Miami Dolphins Coach  Don Shula.

Shula will be on had to celebrate the opening of the fifth Shula Burger location at Kissimmee’s Rolling Oaks Plaze (8124 W. U.S. Highway 192).

Not only will early arrivals get a chance to meet the coach, they also will get a chance to get free burgers for a year.

Dolphins fans and food lovers alike can get a taste of Shula Burger’s extensive menu and meet the legendary Coach when he’s in store on Nov. 12 from 11:30-1:30 p.m. and Nov. 13 from noon until 2  p.m. Guests will have the chance to sample some of the coach’s favorite menu items and chat with Don Shula, Shula team members and new Kissimmee Shula Burger owner, Kevin Gowen.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing the Shula name and all it stands for to the greater Orlando area,” said Gowen, a lifelong Florida resident. “I loved watching Coach Shula on the sidelines as a kid and I am excited to join a Shula Burger team that possesses the same pillars of greatness as his Dolphins’ teams.   We can’t wait to have Coach at the store to welcome customers to Shula Burger this month as local fans get their first taste of our burgers.”

Free Burgers for a Year

In addition to talking food and football, Coach Shula will be taking part in a variety of fun and engaging events with store visitors.   These events include a ribbon cutting ceremony, visits from local celebrities, like Dolphins legend Nat Moore (a favorite wide receiver target of both Bob Griese and Dan Marino), and daily customer appreciation giveaways. The big surprise, however, is that the first ten customers who join Coach Shula for lunch on Nov. 12 will take home grand prizes of one free burger a week for an entire year.

“We want to make a statement as we enter the Orlando area and what better way to do so than offering up a chance to win delicious free food and a chance to interact with Coach Shula and other local celebrities,” said Coach Shula’s son and Shula Burger President, Dave Shula.   “We’re excited to offer Orlando and Kissimmee residents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Coach while getting their first bite of our burgers made from the Best Beef Money can Buy.”

Other customers coming to the store on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13  get some free stuff as well.    The next 20 customers  will be awarded with one free burger a month for an entire year.   Additionally, Coach Shula will be signing autographs, raffling off free Orlando magic tickets and giving away signed football memorabilia during lunch on both days.

A Growing Trend

The Kissimmee Shula Burger location opened in late October and is the second independently owned Shula Burger franchise.   Store owner and Kissimmee resident, Gowen, is a career entrepreneur who has spent the last twenty plus years building AmeriFactors Financial Group, headquartered in Kissimmee, into a thriving business.

Last year, Gowen, a lifelong fan of Shula’s Steak Houses and the legendary coach, scored an invite through an Orlando hotel to visit with Don Shula in honor of the perfect 1972 season.  As luck would have it, he was seated next to Dave Shula, president of Shula’s Restaurants, and they got to talking about bringing Shula Burger to Kissimmee.

“It intrigued me when Dave started talking about the burgers because I knew many competitors have joined the fold in the thriving fast casual restaurant segment,” said Gowen.  “And when I started looking at the numbers after our first meeting, I discovered Shula Burger was poised for long term success and it was impossible to turn down an offer to join Coach, Dave and the team.”

A trip to Miami a few months later, and Gowen was the proud owner of the Kissimmee Shula Burger as well as a deal to develop five more restaurants in the greater Orlando area.

“We knew Kevin was the right man for the job based on decades of experience building successful businesses,” said Dave Shula.  “His enthusiasm and passion for Shula Burger and the Shula brand really stood out as well, making him a perfect fit for the Shula’s family.  We’re thrilled to have him on board and believe he will do a wonderful job growing the Shula Burger concept in the greater Orlando area.”

On the Menu

The menu features Signature Burgers such as the Shula Burger (shown in photo above) with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles; The Don, with a burger and a hot dog on a brioche style bun and the Southwest with roasted corn and black bean salsa, charred red onions, roasted tomatoes, shaved lettuce, pepper jack cheese and chipotle spread.

While the extensive Shula Burger menu has something for everyone, Gowen’s son and head chef Peter Ferrand were the brains behind one particular Kissimmee-specific menu addition, “The Big O.”   Each Shula Burger location has its own specialty burger custom-built for the local residents and the Kissimmee location is no different.  Gowen is confident that “The Big O,” a pulled pork topped burger masterpiece, is the right fit for Kissimmee’s new Shula Burger.

“The ‘Big O’ is a burger unique to the Kissimmee location,” said Gowen.   “The burger is topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, orange coleslaw and an onion ring.   It’s hard not to lick your fingers when you’re done with ‘The Big O.’”

On the lighter side, the menu offers chicken breast sandwiches, veggie burgers and fresh green salads. Standout sides include sea salt and sweet potato fries and crispy onion rings.

In addition to soft drinks Shula Burger also serves a variety of local, regional, seasonal  and craft beers on tap as well as a wine station, featuring the latest technology in dispensing.
Burger Fast Facts:

Inc. Magazine recently dubbed fast casual dining one of the “best industries for starting a business right now.” And Forbes Magazine agrees – recently naming the “burger joint” as “America’s Most Promising Company” with the fast-casual industry poised for remarkable growth this year.
2013 is being called the “Year of the Bun” – Shula Burger is already on top of that trend with its special “Shula” bun branding (Burger Business)!
91% of U.S. consumers say they eat a burger at least once a month – 44% say they eat a burger at least once a week (QSR). 69% say they’ve eaten a burger with gourmet ingredients.
85% of consumers say they eat at fast-casual restaurants at least once a month (Nation’s Restaurant News).
Consumers rank quality of meat as the first or second most important attribute in choosing a burger (Technomic study) – Shula Steak House, LLLP brands are known for the Shula Cut® – center cuts of premium Black Angus beef.
Sources: National Restaurant Association, Zagat Burger Survey (2012), Center for Women’s Business Research, Technomic Study (food industry consulting firm), National Federation of Independent Business, QSR Magazine, Aaron Allen & Associates, a global restaurant consultancy,

For more information about Shula Burger, please visit

For more information on Don Shula and Shula Burger parent company, Shula’s Steak Houses, LLLP, please visit

About Shula Burger:

Shula Burger, part of the Shula Steak Houses, LLLP family of restaurants, is one of the nation’s premier fast casual burger concepts.   Shula Burger is immediately distinguished from other fast casual burger concepts because it’s based on more than twenty years of experience serving burgers made with The Best Beef Money Can Buy at other Shula’s Steak Houses, LLLP, restaurants.

Shula burgers are always fresh, never frozen and are served in a warm, inviting and casual environment.   Shula Burger’s robust menu features tasty burgers with unique toppings, like avocado, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, and goat cheese, among others, and a “create your burger” option that allows customers to build the burger that best suits their tastes.   The menu also offers chicken or veggie burger replacements for those keeping it light, wine and beer pairings for those looking to relax after a long day, and multiple kids’ meal options for those looking for a fun night out with the family.

Just like every other Shula’s Steak Houses, LLLP restaurant, Shula Burger is based on the same principles that propelled Don Shula to the last NFL perfect season and back-to-back Super Bowl championships.   Shula Burger’s staff is dedicated to providing each customer with the perfect burger and a perfect experience that fits their individual tastes.

Perfect season.   Perfect burger.   Shula Burger.

For general or franchise information please visit