Two more eating establishments will soon be on the menu in Mount Airy, including a local outlet for the Hwy 55 chain and the other a familiar face locally, Domino’s Pizza.
Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries — described as a “fast casual restaurant chain” — will employ about 50 people locally, according to the owner of the diner operation who was contacted Wednesday. The Domino’s location also is expected to include new hires, with the exact number not available.
Signs bearing the logos of each business have been erected on the side of a building at 1015 Rockford St. near Northern Hospital of Surry County. It has been under construction for about a year and a project spokesman said on-site Tuesday that it is almost ready for occupancy.
City ‘perfect’ choice
The Hwy 55 restaurant, or open-grill diner, could be open within a couple of weeks, according to reports from the scene Tuesday where crews were busy at work. An official date could not be obtained.
However, something definite emerged Wednesday concerning why Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries decided to launch its location in Mount Airy — where the classic car culture dominates, based on factors including heavy attendance at cruise-in events.
“We chose Mount Airy because it is the perfect place for the Hwy 55 concept,” restaurant owner Chris Duggins explained Wednesday, when a check of the official Hwy 55 website revealed images of 1950s-model Chevys. “We are super-excited.”
Duggins is the owner of multiple Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries franchises in Winston Salem and Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as the new one in Mount Airy.
From his franchise home base in King, Duggins says the eatery here will offer a “fresh All-American diner experience with never-frozen burgers, sliced cheesesteaks piled high on steamed hoagies and frozen custard made in-house every day.”
Lunch and dinner items are grilled in an open-air kitchen, with customers served at tables.
This reflects the concept of the chain’s first restaurant that emerged in 1991 in Goldsboro under the name Andy’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers.
Founder Kenney Moore opened the business in a mall, and cooked every burger by himself from morning until night in full view of customers because he couldn’t afford a traditional restaurant kitchen.
But Moore soon realized that manning an open grill allowed him to greet everyone who walked in and chat with guests seated at the counter.
Today that concept is reflected at more than 120 of those open-grill diners across eight states and two countries.
The chain is headquartered in Mount Olive.
Domino’s Pizza location
The new Domino’s location could be open in about a month or so, with the management of the existing one on North South Street declining Wednesday to comment on the record.
Operators of the local outlet of the pizza delivery/carry-out chain are said to be awaiting equipment and final inspections for the Rockford Street location.
Unofficial reports indicate that the move will include the hiring of additional employees.
The existing Domino’s on North South Street is expected to close with the opening of the new one.
A recent television marketing campaign stresses a move by Domino’s to introduce modernized facilities around the country.
The construction of the Hwy 55 and Domino’s Pizza facilities are resulting from up-fit projects totaling $250,000 at the new suite at 1015 Rockford St, which originated on March 17 of last year, according to city government records.
Occupants for other space in the building had not been finalized as of Tuesday, according to the spokesman for the construction project.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.