ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) - First things first, Heidi Trull’s decision to re-open Grits and Groceries is not COVID-related and it’s not because the chef and owner, along with husband Joe, have had a change of heart about the challenges of operating a restaurant. It’s because Trull missed it and now, they have help.
Grits and Groceries re-opened for business June 3 after more than a year of being closed to dine-in business. The decision comes as the Trulls have a new partnership that will enable them to share the cost of running the restaurants and will also allow them to grow Grits and Groceries through other platforms and possibly open a second location.
Plans call for opening the restaurant, adding a larger events arm and launching a separate South Carolina-focused online marketplace.
“I’m back,” Heidi Trull said with a chuckle when asked about her return. “I’m ready to cook and serve again.”
The Trulls restructured Grits and Groceries in January 2019, after 14 years in business. The change meant ending daily dine-in service and focusing on private dinner events, farmers markets and a specialty line of prepared items like cakes and preserves.
Even then, the two owners were careful not to say “closed,” which left many wondering what they might do next.
The Trulls listed the entire business - property and all - for sale and had a couple of interested parties, but nothing came to fruition. Then, they met Kenneth Moyer and Brian Wilson, locals with a background in business and logistics and a passion for investing in local businesses.
The two were looking for a restaurant investment and when they read the listing for Grits and Groceries they were immediately intrigued.
“I started asking about it,” Moyer said. “Firstly, I couldn’t believe so many people had heard of a little restaurant in Belton and then secondly, I love things with a story and there were so many wonderful stories.”
Stories of people meeting their future spouse there and of graduation dinners and family celebrations.
“You could tell it meant a lot to people,” Moyer said.
The partners came to an agreement earlier in the year and had planned to reopen in March. Those plans were thwarted with the onset of coronavirus, but now, the partners feel ready to bring Grits and Groceries back to the community.
The new arrangement makes all parties equal partners in three businesses - the restaurant, the online marketplace and the events business. Trull will run the kitchen, manage menus and everything pertaining to the day-to-day running of the food, while Wilson and Moyer will handle the business side of things.
The new structure means Trull can focus her energy on what brings her the most joy and fulfillment, the people and the cooking, she said.
Diners can expect a more limited service for now - just Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for lunch, but the same locally-sourced menu and style of food. Trull has been able to maintain and in some cases grow her business with local producers, thanks to the addition of the online marketplace.
“It’ll be very familiar,” Trull promised. “Like coming home.”
For now, dine-in service will only be available on an expanded outdoor seating area. The dining room remains closed for now. A special to-go menu will still be available for pick up on Wednesdays.
The restaurant will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. It’s at 2440 Due West Highway, Belton, SC 29627.
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