NEW HANOVER COUNTY –– “Some people are calling me ‘chef’ now,” restaurateur Ryan Trotter told Port City Daily Thursday. “I’m not a chef. I’m just a systems guy who can create processes, which is how to create consistent products.”
Trotter has been operating a meal-package and catering service, Point Break, out of a ghost kitchen (a commissary kitchen, normally without storefronts or in-person dining, for delivery services to cook out of) on Castle St. since last fall. The mobile unit launched in September with three employees working to deliver hot breakfasts and lunches — made up of grilled wings, healthy wraps and sides, as well as homemade sauces. He announced last week Point Break will have a permanent home soon.
Trotter signed the lease to the former Stella’s Pizza location in Ogden and plans to open Point Break (yes, the lifelong surfer admittedly loves both movies) as a brick and mortar by August. It’s how he actually envisioned running his eatery from the get-go, as a fast, casual dine-in experience.
Prior, Trotter was an operations partner for six Jimmy Johns in town. “But I wanted to be my boss, I wanted to have my own brand,” he said.
When Covid-19 hit, it made Trotter stop and take stock of how to best move forward. He had been looking at possible locations to launch his brand, but rather than pen a lease during such murky times when shutdowns were imminent, he decided to go mobile.
Trotter built a clientele with local companies — car dealerships, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical companies — which frequently feed its employees. The business took off.
“We were doing 500 or 600 plates a month,” he said.
Trotter also offered residential delivery services, as long as diners placed a minimum of five plates per order. He also did bundles that could feed multiple people, and launched a monthly membership to bring down the cost of each plate, which averages $9.99.
“Through the membership a family of two to four costs less than $25 to feed one meal to,” he said.
Point Break memberships vary with either the Low Tide plan ($24.99 a month to feed two to four once a week) or the High Tide plan ($44.99 a month to feed four to six once a week). Trotter said diners can order one to four deliveries a month.
“Therefore if you want one delivery every week, you would pay $100 a month for four orders [with the Low Tide membership],” he explained.
Nothing will change with Point Break’s memberships or catering schedules once the restaurant opens. If anything, Trotter said it will expand; he plans to add 20 employees and offer deliveries from Carolina Beach to Surf City.
“Right now we stop at Snow’s Cut,” he said.
Once open, the brick and mortar will be able to seat upward of 60 diners in its 2,400 square feet, which includes a few outdoor patio tables as well. Trotter is in the process of giving the interior a bright, fresh coat of paint to lighten the vibe and will decorate it with uplifting affirmations to inspire diners.
“I love interacting with people,” he said, “and spreading positivity. The food is just a vehicle to get to people.”
That’s how his love for grilled wings and essentially the basis for Point Break began. “I started testing flavors at my house with a group of friends and neighbors, and everyone just absolutely loved my wings,” he said.
Trotter also created his own Jamaican jerk sauce, a personal favorite. “We’ve been to Jamaica a handful of times, and I fell in love with it,” he said.
Wings also can be tossed in a sweet Thai concoction called “Jamo” or a Carolina barbecue sauce that he said offers a kick: “It’s called ‘Gold.’”
The wings are served with housemade ranch, which, according to Trotter, compelled his business partner, Jason Fosdick (best known as Foz from Z107.5), to jump onboard after one taste. “He could ‘drink the ranch’ — that is what he says,” Trotter quipped.
Trotter offers a spicy version of ranch, too, by mixing it with Gold sauce. He is looking forward to expanding flavor profiles and sauces further. One aspect that won’t change will be the way the wings are cooked. Trotter said he’s mastered the perfect grilling technique.
“It’s hard to find good grilled wings in the market,” Trotter said. “I created a secret system that helps consistency.”
Other Point Break items include a surfer’s salad, featuring fresh tomatoes, corn and black beans, as well as sand-dollar potatoes, a baked version of wedges. Trotter said the trick to ensure it doesn’t miss out on flavor comes with spices and Parmesan cheese in each batch. Grilled chicken and burger wraps, plus salads will be on the menu. On Saturdays, Point Break will offer breakfasts.
Menu items will be priced $8.99 to $11.99. There also will be daily wing specials, with wings running a buck each, and beer and wine specials. The restaurant will open Monday through Saturday only.
“Sunday is our beach day,” Trotter explained.
“We are trying to stay on the healthier side with a simple concept,” he added. “Good food, good vibes.”
Point Break will be located at 7134 Market St. in Ogden with plans to open by August. More information can be found on the website.