Five Girls Grill Gives Leland a Taste of Home
After a long day, cooking dinner can be a drag, which is one of the reasons William and Denise Jones of Leland decided to open Five Girls Grill, a casual restaurant in Leland offering the convenience of fast food with the quality of homestyle cooking. As hard-working parents of six, the Joneses knew all too well the importance of having a go-to spot to get tasty food on the fly.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Lindsey A. Miller
“A lot of people are happy to have something like this in the area,” says William. “This is the type of food they’d [previously] have to go into Wilmington or Magnolia Greens area to get.”
William credits his wife, Denise, with coming up with the idea to open their own restaurant two years ago. With her extensive background in the restaurant industry and his many years of experience as a business owner, plus their mutual love for ‘grilling out,’ the couple combined their skills and began the process of creating their own eatery. In a spinoff of the popular fast-food chain Five Guys, the Joneses chose to name their new restaurant Five Girls Grill, as suggested by and in honor of their five daughters.
Five Girls Grill had its grand opening on June 3rd, and it’s been bustling ever since.
“It’s been pretty exciting,” says William. “We’re busy from the time we open until the time we close.”
And they’ve already established a strong customer base.
“There are several people that eat here almost every day,” he shares. “And we do hot lunches [every weekday] for all eight grades at The Roger Bacon Academy.”
Five Girls Grill boasts tried-and-true traditional American grilled eats. Among the most popular menu items are the hot dogs, brisket, chicken wings, fried pickles, onion rings, and cheesesteaks, which have been likened to authentic Philly-style cheesesteaks by native Philadelphian customers.
William learned how to cook at an early age from his mother and aunt who both worked in the school cafeteria. Denise learned from observing and lending a hand to the cooks at the many fast-paced restaurants she’s managed over the years. Now, the Joneses man the grill at Five Girls, sharing their passion for food and carrying on the family tradition by teaching their kids how to cook.
“We try to get the kids involved,” says William. “It’s another way for us all to come together.”
“The kids are pumped up about it,” adds Denise.
Five Girls Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and take out or outdoor seating is available. The set-up has been ideal for summertime, says William, but going forward, he and his wife hope to open another location with indoor seating. They’re also considering offering delivery in the near future. The pair’s vision is to eventually have several locations within Brunswick County, and to move into Wilmington as well, particularly downtown.
Running their first restaurant has been a learning process with plenty of challenges, but the Joneses say they’re having fun and enjoying the positive response from patrons.
“The support the community has shown really makes it effortless,” William says.
In addition to serving up mouth-watering food, the staff at Five Girls Grill seeks to brighten their customers’ days by greeting each one of them with a smile.
“It’s the little things,” says William. On a typical day at Five Girls, you’re likely to hear the phone ringing with takeout orders, patrons chatting over Cuban sandwiches and fresh-squeezed lemonade, and rhythm and blues drifting from the speakers. William says the family-run restaurant appeals to a diverse crowd, and that the staff will accommodate any special needs, such as customizing a meal for someone with allergies.
“Like a DJ, [we] take all requests,” says William. Five Girls Grill also takes their customers’ feedback to heart, which is why they recently added healthier options to their menu, like grilled chicken salad and tuna salad. “We’re listening to what the customers want.”
William and Denise agree that the highlight of owning and operating Five Girls Grill is providing a service to the public. “Being able to make people happy is the best part … and giving them a taste of home.”
For more information about Five Girls Grill, visit their Facebook page.
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Leland, North Carolina, NC 28451