JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Construction could start as soon as next week on the Grumpy’s Restaurant destroyed in a fire.
The fire happened at the Blanding Boulevard location in Middleburg one month ago. Crews believe it started in the kitchen.
Grumpy’s Restuarant CEO Daniel DeLeon says the plan is to rebuild and open the doors again to customers by this May.
That is not the only site the company has in the works. It is also in the process of opening two new spots this summer.
Giorgio Portobanco enjoys every meal at Grumpy’s Restaurant.
“You feel like right at home when you’re eating here,” said Portobanco, who has been a loyal customer the last five years. “Everybody is really kind no matter who brings out the food.”
DeLeon runs the popular franchise with his wife, Morgan, and brother, Elfrain.
There is one in Orange Park (834 Kingsley Ave.), Middleburg (1805 Blanding Blvd.), and St. Johns County (155 Fountain Way).
Two new spots are expected to open this summer. One is planned in Neptune Beach (200 Third St.) and at Crossings at Wildlight in Yulee. The site of the Neptune Beach location is going to be in the same building/replacing where the Kamiya 86 Sushi and Asian Fusion Bar was.
“It just shows how far Grumpy’s has come and the direction that they’re going in,” said Portobanco.
“We want to be that place or people can go and have a conversation,” DeLeon said. “[Customers] can get back to the old school traditional Americana Route 66 kind of diner.”
DeLeon and his staff are also still trying to rebound from a devastating fire at the Middleburg restaurant in January.
“We are in good spirits there,” DeLeon said. “The community has backed us like you would not believe.”
The community raised thousands of dollars so the staff can still get paid until that location reopens.
DeLeon said there is more than $700,000 worth of damage, but they are already rebuilding.
“We did it a year ago,” he said. “We have to do it again.”
DeLeon wants Grumpy’s Restaurant to be known as more than just a place to eat.
“Get to know your clientele,” he said. “You get to know the people in the community on a first name basis.”
DeLeon hopes to open the Neptune Beach site in June and the one in Yulee by August.