A Burger Business Story: Nomads Proper Burgers, Fuerteventura, Morro Jable

A Burger Business Story: Nomads Proper Burgers

When a young Venezuelan man who had previously emigrated to Ontario, Canada set forth like the Hebrew Prophet Abraham with his Columbian wife, the last thing they ever envisioned for their future was that they would take a seemingly unending detour that would eventually lead them to a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa where they would be peddling El Chapo’s. The choice of words “peddling El Chapo’s” may seem disturbing at first until you are locked in the zone. So stay with me here.

Why they chose to christen their beloved classic burger after the Mexican drug lord is quite uncertain but one thing is for sure, the weight carried by the name El Chapo is the one that is most likely unrivaled. He is considered to be the greatest and most powerful drug trafficker that ever was. Does the El Chapo burger live up to its name and reputation? 

Roberto met his wife Laura in Toronto, Ontario. He had lived in the city for about seven years and she for about three years. Their life, though far from perfect, was a great one. They contributed in their own way to the diverse cultural identity of the city. As though it were a still small voice that simultaneously spoke into their hearts in 2016 to go out there and explore the world, they nodded their heads in unison and packed up not knowing where this escapade was taking them. They had one big open heart and spontaneous reflexes, it seemed.

The still small voice led them 6000 kilometers away from home to the southern city of Breda in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. No Toronto though, but it was a beautiful and quiet city that they immediately fell in love with. Having previously had a significant work experience in the food/hospitality industry, Rob decided to get a job, perhaps in the same industry, and voila he got a job in no time in a really great barbecue restaurant. Everything was going smooth until the still small voice spoke again. They looked into each other’s eyes with a “what shall we do now” gesture. Would we rather make our own choices or let the universe take us where it wants?

Assembly of Johnny Burger at Nomads Proper Burgers, Morro Jable, Fuerteventura. burger patty

They had now found themselves having a timeout in a burger restaurant in Amsterdam. They hadn’t had any burger that delicious since leaving Canada. The ambience of the restaurant was reminiscent of their beloved Canadian city. Rob’s reflexes once again pramed him over to the kitchen. “Are you guys hiring?” he asked. The manager so conveniently happened to be there at that moment and he retorted, “Maybe. Why don’t you send me your CV and I’ll let you know if a spot opens up.”

Prrrrng prrrng goes the telephone. “Who could possibly be calling”, he said to himself. “Hey, you’re looking for a job innit? We are looking for a Chef, would you be interested?” It was indeed the manager at Ter Marsch & Co, the restaurant our favourite nomads had just been to in Amsterdam.

Same vacant spot in three different branches of three different cities. Who ever knew that managers actually do call back with mouthwatering offers. At least we know now that the still small voice that steered them this time around from Amsterdam to Rotterdam was the manager’s. They pulled up on the beautiful port city of Rotterdam. A love-at-first-sight romantic attraction is not descriptive enough of what they felt for this city. I mean they absolutely loved it and even now, some of their most nostalgic moments still tie back to this south western city of the Netherlands.

Assembly of Johnny Burger at Nomads Proper Burgers, Morro Jable, Fuerteventura. burger patty and cheese

As they drove through the streets, they looked in awe at the beauty of the city and in desperation at how almost impossible some of the street names are to pronounce. That wasn’t a stumbling block large enough to deter their unofficially professed affection for this city. A paradise of some sort. It is a no brainer that they settled for Rotterdam.

They both worked as Chefs de cuisine at this great restaurant until the still small voice became flesh and appeared in the body of a middle-aged Dutch guy. He ran a smokery right there in Rotterdam and tapped Rob to work for him at his newly opened restaurant. The working conditions and pay I guess were far more favourable.

Starting from the late 1400s up until the 1800s, the Spanish in all their caucasoid notoriety “explored” the Americas and left their stamp on the continent, a stamp that is still heavily felt in today’s world. The spanish language spread like a wildfire and not only obliterated the native languages of the people there, but also became an official language across the expanse of South America (not to be confused with southern USA). The language and Catholicism still remain two of the most obvious leftovers of the Spanish colonisers which have ridden this region of the world of its native and cultural identity.

This explains why there is a close relationship between the people of Latin America and the Spanish. As a matter of fact, there is a large number of people from the Americas who possess Spanish citizenship. Just like how Great Britain is a popular destination for the people of Anglo-West Africa and France a popular destination among the people of Franco-West Africa, the European country of Spain and its islands are a major destination for people of Latin American ancestry.

Assembly of Johnny Burger at Nomads Proper Burgers, Morro Jable, Fuerteventura. burger patty, salad, lettuce, tomato and cheese

The Call from Fuerteventura

Rob’s aunt called in from Fuerteventura, the second largest island in the Canaries. “Do you ever consider moving down here? We are expanding and want to sell off our restaurant. If you don’t mind, you can have it and do your business there. You don’t have to worry about paying us now. When you make enough money you can pay up in installments”.

His family had been living on the island and even Rob himself had a Spanish citizenship. It only made sense for a Spanish speaking American with Spanish citizenship to consider moving there. His aunt had owned her own restaurant where they served South American and most especially, Venezuelan delicacies. It was time for her to scale up. It was perhaps also time for the nomads to print their feet in the sands of Fuerteventura (no pun intended).

The move to Fuerteventura

He quickly ran the idea through his wife and their beloved Dutch city was about to be but a memory byte. They packed up their bags for the islands, not knowing what to expect. They stood in front of the bequeathed restaurant at akimbo and said to each other, “let’s do this”. They revamped it into a burger bar and what else would they call it besides “Nomads Proper Burgers”.

Assembly of Johnny Burger at Nomads Proper Burgers, Morro Jable, Fuerteventura. Finished burger, pure goodness!

Nomads Proper Burgers was born!

The truth of the matter is, the still small voice that brought them here isn’t mysterious after all. It is a voice that resides in a lot of us which we are often too garish to hear. It was preparing them for a moment like this. A moment when they would now have to make entrepreneurial decisions based on the experiences they have accrued along the way.

Their richness in experience, in tradition and in their own personal identities are what make their business a unique one. With no advertising, they turned in unbelievably great profits within the first few months of opening and they are still waxing strong and letting nothing stop them. Does El Chapo live up to its name and reputation? Well, according to the testimonies of many (including myself) who have tried many items on their menu, their burgers are certainly not a let down and beat the imaginations of the taste buds. 

Please visit Nomads Proper Burgers on their Instagram and give them a follow. When you visit the island, make sure to pay them a visit and enjoy their amazing food!

Calle San Juan, 12, 35625 Morro Jable, Las Palmas, Espana

Comment (1)

  1. CRISTHIAN ESPINAL

    Another venezuelan-colombian success story. We know how to do it. Congratulations to you both. Way to go sobrinos.

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