It’s the life of a first-time restaurant owner.
So Grubb, a Gilbert resident, says it is important for him to walk to the back half of Grubstak, located in Heritage Marketplace, every now and again to see where it all really started.
There on the wall of his flagship location are pictures of the Grubb family on their potato farm in Bridgehampton, New York.
“He moved out west in the 1940s but always considered himself a farmer,” Grubb said of his grandfather, Lou, a staple of Valley TV and radio commercials from 1972-97. “He took a lot of pride in it, even after making a great name for himself in the car business. I wanted to pay homage to him. It’s a cool connection and why the potato is a big part of what we do.”
Different dining experience
What Grubstak does is create a different dining experience with its stacking style of building 10 entrées. The simple concept is designed to bring out flavor combinations.
Diners get to choose one or two bases—macaroni and cheese, regular or sweet potato waffle fries, roasted vegetables, romaine lettuce, quinoa or black bean chili—on which everything else is stacked to create a meal.
The diner’s decision comes down to one of the signature staks or creating one of his or her own. The two most popular are Sweet Lou’s BBQ—barbecue-braised beef with applewood bacon—and Chilaquiles—black bean chili, corn tortillas, barbacoa chicken, ranchero sauce and two fried eggs.
“Initially, we focused on the fries in general [as the base],” Grubb said. “Then we added the others like the roasted veggies and quinoa, so you can indulge but also keep it balanced.”
It has worked well enough at the two-year mark that Grubstak has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” A second shop opened Nov. 1 in Chandler.
The Southern Methodist University finance major had never worked in the food industry before coming up with the business plan.
“When I clear my mind to think about it, I can really go back and appreciate it,” he said. “It’s awesome. I try to keep the same mentality. I try to celebrate quietly and grind continuously.”
384 N. Gilbert Rd, Ste. 106, Gilbert
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mon.