Founded in Bend five years ago, Next Level Burger will close its doors on SW Century Drive at the end of this month.
Co-founder and CEO Matt de Gruyter said the plant-based burger chain is looking for a new location in Bend and focusing on its expansion in New York and California. In the meantime, most Next Level employees will have to find other jobs.
“The Bend location was our original proof-of-concept location,” de Gruyter said. “It’s been an unbelievable five years, but it served its purpose. That location is no longer reflective of where we are as a company. It’s not in the right location. It’s not big enough.”
Next Level Burger, also known as NLB, opened at 70 SW Century Drive in the Century Center in 2014. Building owner David Hill couldn’t be reached for comment.
It will take more than 90 days from the end of the month to open a new Bend location, de Gruyter said. Next Level employees who work through the restaurant’s last day, April 30, will be eligible for two weeks of paid vacation, he said. Some might be offered jobs at other Next Level locations, he said.
De Gruyter would not say how many employees the company has in Bend.
Next Level has a presence in Portland, Seattle, Austin, New York and California. “We have a very exciting continued expansion plan in New York City and California,” de Gruyter said. “We need to make sure those locations are given the attention they need.”