Meals at the Grill: You can pick up home-style meals from Brian’s every Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

By Susan Shinn
CHINA GROVE ó If you’ve been noticing some yummy smells emanating from Brian’s Grill on Thursday evenings recently, you’re not imagining things.
Every Thursday, you can get meals at the grill, 111 N. Main St. Grill owner Brian Culp and his friend Brad Howard have started this new endeavor, whipping up home-style meals you don’t have the time to make yourself.
You can place an order anytime from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday, then pick it up from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“We’re wanting to get into catering,” Brian explains. “This is a good way for the public to get a taste test.”
Yes, yes it is.
This past Thursday’s meal featured a half chicken, which Brad had cooked using oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
Simple ingredients, fabulous taste.
The meal also includes two veggies. You can choose from among green beans, stewed apples, fried okra, potato salad, corn and french fries.
All that, plus a roll, for $6.50, tax included. Three-item veggie plates are half that cost.
“It’s all done here,” Brian says. “We’ve got a full kitchen.”
The meals are assembled, with the customer’s choice of sides, at pick-up.
“That way, the food stays hot,” Brian says. “Cold food ó I don’t like it.”
So far, business has been booming.
“It’s getting better every week,” Brian says.
Last week, the duo sold 115 plates.
Brian opened the grill eight years ago in May, following the lead of his brother, Greg, who owns Hap’s in Salisbury.
Brad trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.
“It was a change from China Grove,” Brad admits.
There’s an understatement for ya.
He’s worked at Angelo’s in Concord before helping Brian with this project.
So far, the meat has rotated among chicken, country-style steak and pork loin.
“We do stew beef every once in a while,” Brad says.
You may have sampled their cooking at Autumn Jubilee with hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue.
“Barbecue is definitely an option” for the Thursday night menu, Brian says.
Right now, they’re going by customer feedback to tweak their menu each week.
But everybody seems pretty happy so far.
“There’s a lot of ’em would eat country-style steak every week if we would fix it,” Brad says.
He’s also had some requests for ribs.
“That would be more expensive, but everybody knows that,” he says.
The two know they’re helping out busy folks.
“It makes the evening really easy for families,” Brian says. “And you’re not gonna beat the price.”
You can call in your order to the grill, or e-mail it to Brad, who sends a message each week to about 40 customers.
A lot of folks place their orders when they’re eating at the grill, Brian says. “We pick up about 15 to 20 new customers each week.”
For now, the two are having a lot of fun doing the weekly meals.
They’re considering adding a second day.
“It’s all about supply and demand,” Brian says.
“I truly think the art of cooking is being lost,” Brad says. “I grew up around my grandmother. She was always cooking.”
His favorite meal she fixed?
Fried okra and baked rabbit.
Don’t worry, you won’t be seeing that particular entree on the menu anytime soon.
They are considering fried fish, thanks to Brad’s customers who remember him from Angelo’s.
“We’re open to any suggestions,” Brian says.
With his culinary background, Brad will be trying a few different kinds of things. For example, he made a chutney with apple, bacon and onion for the pork loin.
“Everybody loved it,” he says. “That’s the first thing I’ve done something that complex. You’ve gotta ease it in slowly.”
The two have had customers from China Grove and Kannapolis and points farther, too.
“We’ve got some that catch us on the way through from work,” Brian says.
Lisa Sprinkle of Spencer meets up with her parents, Nell and Lewis Moose of Rockwell, each week. Sprinkle’s daughter and Brian are getting married May 2.
“We’re so proud of him and I love not having to cook,” Lisa says. “We all want to support Brian, and it’s good food.”
“He can cook!” Nell Moose says, on her way out the door.
Morning regular Don Webb comes in after being part of five funerals with the color guard at the VA. He’s whipped.
But not tired enough to tease Brian and Brad mercilessly ó which they dish right back to him.
Webb is serious in his praise of the meals, though.
“They’re real good,” Webb says, before leaving with plates for himself and his wife.
For more information about the Thursday evening meals at Brian’s Grill or to add your name to the weekly e-mail, call 704-857-2857.