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Thursday, May 30, 2024

3 years after launching, burger truck parks its wheels for permanent home

Grimmburger will move into a permanent location in the Forum where Epic Food Co. used to be located. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — In July 2021 Matt Grimm and his wife, Sammie Jo, launched their first mobile restaurant, Grimmburger Food Truck, serving double-, triple- and quadruple-pattied smashburgers to area diners.

READ MORE: Smashing onto the scene: Grimm Burger food truck debuts

Long-term plans have always included opening a restaurant, but the entrepreneurs wanted to gauge popularity first. That came a year ago, according to Matt, who said they began reaching capacity.

Grimm Burger will be served in a permanent location by fall. (Courtesy photo)

“We probably serve 300 people a night,” Grimm said Wednesday morning. “We often run out.”

Grimmburgers feature 5-ounce thin patties with perfectly charged edges, served two per burger, equaling right at a quarter pound — unless someone orders more. So for 300 people, that’s 600 or more burgers being grilled in the food truck’s limited space.

To keep forward momentum on the current business plan, the Grimms had to assess next moves. By the end of the summer, they will accommodate more diners at their first brick-and-mortar, as Grimmburger takes over the former Epic Food Co. space in the Forum. It will seat around 35 people indoors and 30 outside, where a covered patio welcomes diners. 

“We began talks with them last October,” Matt said.

He was intentionally looking at the eastern and northern parts of the county, as that’s where the food truck does the most business. Located near Bradley Creek, Mad Mole, for instance, often proves one of Grimmburger’s best locations. 

“We just have a huge following that pretty much always shows up when we’re there,” he said, “and we have come to know many of them by name. So it seems like it would make sense to be in Ogden, Porters Neck, Oleander, Military Cutoff area; also, it’s close to where we live.”

Matt attributes the burgers’ popularity due to high quality ingredients and friendly service. Grimmburgers are made with in-house ground beef, as well as homemade sauces. G-Sauce — “our version of burger and fry sauce” — is most popular, followed by homemade Buttermilk ranch.

The most popular burgers have been the traditional handheld, served with dill pickle, shaved onion, shredded lettuce, G- sauce, followed by the Gravedigger — slathered with homemade pimento cheese, seasoned fries and bacon.

“The Carolina Reaper is also up there,” Matt said, topped with spicy red relish, pickled jalapeno and spicy G-sauce.

The menu on the food truck often includes four burgers with a rotating fifth. At the restaurant, they’ll all be offered and rotations will become permanent additions. For instance, most recently the Big G was served with roasted garlic aioli, caramelized onions on a sesame seeded Big Marty Potato Roll. 

There also will be expansions to the menu. Matt was mum on details, other than confirming other sandwiches will be served.

“It’ll be more fun if that part’s a surprise,” he said.

The restaurant caters to vegetarians and vegans with an Impossible burger, also to remain, as will the fries — both cheese-topped and Reaper-loaded.

The goal to open the restaurant is August. 

“A lot of things are not in our control, when it comes to permitting and construction,” he said. “But we already have begun some renovations.”

Grimmburger is taking over one-half of what was Epic, which consisted of two units. Matt said they’re building a bar and changing the layout. There will be some TVs, as well as outdoor heaters and fans on the patio to serve customers year-round al fresca.

More people will be hired — likely 20 or so —  to run the counter-service restaurant. The food truck will retire once the brick-and-mortar opens. 

“I suspect the restaurant will be keeping us busy enough,” Matt said. “Also, it’s extremely hot in the summer, especially with four of us on the truck. And you feel bad if you run out and if we get huge lines and one grill and a fryer. It’s so busy and things take longer than I’d like them to. Hopefully, that will go away when we get into the new space.”

The restaurant will have draft beer and wine, as well as non-alcoholic selections. It will be located at 1113 Military Cutoff Road, Suite F.

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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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