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Monday, May 27, 2024

The Xtra Mile coming to Seven Mile Post, Rude Bwoys exits

The Xtra Mile will have two walk-up windows to order from, according to owner John Runkle, who plays to open the pub inside Seven Mile Post in coming weeks. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — John Runkle has dreamed of owning and operating a restaurant since starting his career in the industry over 20 years ago. In coming weeks, he will cash in his goal at Seven Mile Post — a bar at 7219 Market St. Runkle will be taking over its food stand, The Xtra Mile, located inside the post.

In 2020, Chef Keith Rhodes first operated the space as the Tackle Box Kitchen before Tito Ortiz took it over in 2021 to launch Rude Bwoys. Runkle worked with Ortiz for years at K38.

“It is hard to leave,” Runkle said of his position as the Oleander Drive store’s general manager. “One of the hardest decisions to make is to walk away from my K38 family — they definitely looked out and took care of their employees.”

He spent many hours on the line cooking over the last two years, dealing with Covid aftereffects, from staff shortages to less product supply. Though he knows the challenges that face the industry, Runkle said his love for working in restaurants — something he has done since high school — always will prevail.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I love talking to people and moving. I love feeding people, putting smiles on their faces. And it’s a decent living. I’m not trying to make millions of dollars — just feed my family, enjoy life a little bit.”

Three or four cooks will round out his staff. Customers order from one of two windows; Runkle said he’s adding one to the back patio area of Seven Mile. They can scan a QR code to access the menu and place orders directly to the kitchen from their phones.

“A person also will walk around with iPads, taking orders,” Runkle said. 

The Xtra Mile menu will include pub grub, featuring over a dozen or so items: hand-breaded chicken tenders, burgers, wings, loaded fries, salads, even a vegetable plate. Prices are $9.95 and up.

“Everything will be freshly fried,” Runkle said, referring to the shrimp burger and fried fish sandwich, as well as seafood platters. 

He wanted to move into Seven Mile a little over a year ago when Ortiz first scooped the spot. “I was kind of heartbroken when Tito told me he was leaving to go work there,” Runkle said, a barfly of the watering hole since it opened in 2019. “I had my eye on it as well.”

Ortiz expanded Rude Bwoys to launch a food truck last fall and decided to concentrate solely on it by spring. Rude Bwoys announced April 1 it would be closing inside Seven Mile due to growing demand. 

Plans were to continue operating inside the post until June 30, but Runkle wanted to open The Xtra Mile sooner. Once he receives the go-ahead from county inspectors, the kitchen will reopen again within a few days, he said — ”hopefully in the next week or so.”

Runkle wants to get the operation going before considering delivery through a third-party delivery app, like DoorDash or GrubHub.

“There’s not many restaurants open late night anymore on that side of town,” he said.

The restaurant will hold the same hours as the bar, opening daily at 4:30 p.m. and closing at 2 a.m.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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