Staff photo by Cole Dittmer
Chops Deli will be adding a third location in Wilmington in the building that was most recently occupied by Gloria’s Italian Restaurant at 7037 Wrightsville Ave., and is slated to open sometime in the spring of 2014.
After building a following with their downtown Wilmington and Monkey Junction locations, Chops Deli owners Brad Corpening and Chris Graham will be adding a third location near Wrightsville Beach.
By spring 2014 Graham said the third Chops should be open at 7037 Wrightsville Ave., which formerly housed Gloria’s Italian Restaurant and Taco Bell.
While the location will feature the unique sandwiches Chops has become known for, Graham said the added space at the new location would prompt a few differences in the menu.
“We are going to be able to do a lot more things … we haven’t pinpointed all that, but we are going to have the same sandwiches that we have at the other stores for sure,” Graham said. “We are probably going to be doing breakfast … and going to add burgers, fried chicken and some good Southern classics.”
The 20-foot industrial vent hood will allow Corpening and Graham to begin roasting their own meats in addition to their regular Boar’s Head brand selections, Graham said, adding that he and Corpening are thinking about adding a catering license.
Also different for the Wrightsville Avenue location will be the method by which diners order and pick up their food.
“We are thinking about not doing counter service and having servers so it will definitely be different in that regard,” Graham said.
In addition to traditional dine-in service, Graham said this Chops would utilize the property’s built-in drive-thru lane and window.
“We are really stoked about that because we are going to try to utilize that, not as a place where you pull up and order, but where you could call in or go online and order and pick it up there,” he said. “We are also looking into developing an app so you can order on your phone and it would give you a time estimate about when your order would be ready.”
Although they plan to use the drive-thru facilities left behind by Taco Bell, Graham said he hopes the deli can shed the exterior’s appearance of being a former fast food restaurant. Adding a fresh coat of paint and a covered patio along the Wrightsville Avenue side of the building that will possibly wrap around to the front would help, he said.
As for the location itself, Graham said he and Corpening have been looking to expand to the Wrightsville Beach area for some time and that this proved a good fit.
“It seemed like a really good fit as far as the trifecta for Wilmington; to have the three locations spread out enough to where anywhere you live in Wilmington you are a 10 to 15 minute drive from a Chops Deli,” he said. “We opened up Monkey Junction two years after we opened up downtown and this month marks our four-year anniversary for downtown. I would love to say I had a four-year plan but it sort of coincidently happened that way.”