Trojan pride is coming to New Kent in the form of sandwiches, salads and burgers.
The Trojan Grill soon will offer American-style food to fellow Trojans in the community beginning on Dec. 26.
The grill is named after New Kent High School sports teams and is located in the home of the former Aspen Burger restaurant in Maidstone Village, which closed in December 2017.
Co-owners Greg Guy and Carson Diaz have 35 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry. Diaz and Guy work for the Richmond Restaurant Group, a group of eight restaurants in the Richmond area. Guy has worked with the group for five years and Diaz six years.
Both Guy and Diaz have worked their way up in the industry. Diaz started washing dishes when he was 16; and the two have discussed co-owning a restaurant together for years.
Guy moved his family from Chesterfield to New Kent in September and noticed the “for lease” sign in the window at the former Aspen Burger location.
“I moved to New Kent because I knew it was growing, but not too saturated,” Guy said. “I built my house a few miles behind Maidstone Village, noticed the sign and realized I couldn’t pass it up.”
Guy said he checked out the 3,800 square foot space and went to Diaz to discuss opening a restaurant.
“I’ve been to New Kent a few times to play golf and visit a friend,” Diaz said. “I know it’s been growing the past couple of years and once I saw the location I knew we had to take our shot. The community is great here and we are excited to be a part of it.”
The restaurant is near the New Kent County Public Schools complex and courthouse, making it a great location for the community, according to Guy.
New Kent Economic Development director Matthew Smolnik said he has met with Guy and Diaz and thinks their experience in the restaurant business will bring them success in New Kent County.
“I think their location is a cornerstone for the county being right next to the schools,” Smolnik said. “It’s going to draw more businesses in to the other businesses in the area.”
The co-owners want the grill to give off industrial vibes with exposed wood, unique light fixtures and metal accents. The restaurant will give guests a sense of New Kent pride with barrels from New Kent Winery that hold up high tables and New Kent High School Trojans’ logos and sportswear adorning the walls.
“We want people to come here and for it to be family-oriented,” Guy said. “Come relax before or after a football game and hang out with your fellow community members.”
The grill will offer burgers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, a kid’s menu, dessert and brunch on the weekends. As well as wine, domestic and craft beers and craft cocktails.
“We want to provide good, quality food for affordable prices,” Guy said. “Almost like we are bringing a piece of The Fan in Richmond to New Kent, without The Fan prices.”
The co-owners also want to offer community events and specials such as wine night, burger night, game night, happy hour, a corn-hole league and music on the lawn, according to Guy.
“Our patio is a great space and we want the community to enjoy it and come together,” Diaz said. “We also want to work with other local businesses, organizations and the schools for fundraising and other events.”
Listening to input and feedback from the community will play into how the grill is run, according to Guy.
“We want to be super flexible and have options for and serve everyone,” Guy said.
Guy and Diaz have worked their full-time jobs while working together to turn the location into their vision since September. Guy and Diaz have not decided whether they will leave their jobs with Richmond Restaurant group or not.
“We balance each other out, I’m a go-getter and Carson (Diaz) is very laid back,” Guy said. “You need that balance to get everything done. We have both been in the industry for a long time and are ready to do it on our own together.”
The grill anticipates hiring a staff of 10 to 15 including hosting, serving, bar and kitchen staff.
The grill will be open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with brunch on the weekends from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The county Economic Development Authority will hold a meeting at the grill on Dec. 20. The meeting is open to the public.
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ashleyrluck on Twitter