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C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

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C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

PICK-UP: Brian Legaspi serves up a burger and fries at the C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

What started as a family project for the annual Malesso village fiesta has evolved into a classic burger stand that has joined the pier and community center as icons along Highway 4, the scenic route that leads motorists though the postcard views of the seaside villages of southern Guam.

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

BURGER STAND: The food stand is a stone's throw from the Malesso Pier. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo started in 2005 as a food stall at the Fiestan Tasi, the big water festival the village used to put on annually before COVID-19 put the kibosh on gatherings and merriment.

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

TAKEOUT ONLY FOR NOW: During the pandemic, tables and chairs have been removed from the small patio in front of the stand. A few chairs are available for customers waiting for orders. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

"My brother Jimmy had the idea that we should have a family business," said Janice Nangauta-Santiago, "and we transferred what we were doing from the carnival to our former residence."

The Nangauta family home is located along the main road through the village, and the burger stand is impossible to miss. A slight remodel was necessary to bring the kitchen up to code, and at various times, items like fish, bananas, lemon, breadfruit and tuba are made available through the family network. There is always a steady supply of pickled favorites.

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

CHEESEBURGER DELUXE: Classic burgers, like this cheeseburger deluxe ($5) are available at C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

"Business has been slow since COVID – it's pretty rough," said Janice. "Sundays can be busy, but during the week is kind of slow." Because of the pandemic, the stand is currently serving customers on a take-out basis only.

"We try to get the siblings the stand is named for to work, but they aren't interested," laughs Janice, referring to Carl and Janet, young siblings in the clan. However, members of the Nangauta family are always around, like brother Jimmy and mom Mae.

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

NANGAUTA FAMILY: Members of the Nangauta family are always nearby at the C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo. Clockwise from bottom left are Jimmy Nangauta, Brian Legaspi, Janice Nangauta-Santiago and Mae Nangauta. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

Outside of pandemic restriction times, tables and chairs are set up so customers can dine in and take in the unique vibe of Guam's southernmost village. But for now, it's just a trickle of customers picking up their phoned-in orders.

"Mostly it's residents from the neighboring villages grabbing takeout," says Janice, "People in the village head uptown to spend their money."

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

PICKLED FAVORITES: Pickled favorites are usually available at the C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo in Malesso. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

'One of the best spots to grab something tasty'

The menu at C&J is straightforward, a plain cheeseburger starts at $2.95 and the double bacon and egg cheeseburger tops off at $14.95. A turkey burger is offered, as are hot dogs with traditional toppings. All of the items are made to order in the small commercial kitchen on the side of the house. The stand also offers hot wings, french fries, onion rings and empanada.

C&J hamburger and hot dog stand serves up the classics in Malesso

REGULAR: Lawrence Chargualaf, a Malesso resident, picks up an order at the C&J Hamburger-Hotdog Stand Merizo. Chargualaf said he dines at the stand at least once a week. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

Lawrence Chargualaf was picking up a large lunch order he had phoned in. The Malesso resident said he dines at the stand at least once a week. "It's one of the best spots to grab something tasty, and they always have the food ready pretty fast," he said.

It's laid back in Malesso, and the village often operates at its own pace. Janice laughs when asked about operating hours: "We're usually open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but sometimes people call at 10 a.m. and tell us they're hungry so we take care of them."

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