MINT HILL, NC – The restaurant scene looks a little different these days with servers in masks and single-serve condiments, but even at 50% capacity, Mint Hill knows how to dish up some good grub! Here’s a look at how some of Mint Hill’s local joints are continuing to serve up tasty dishes amidst continued COVID-19 restrictions.
A household name when it comes to sandwiches, Subway offers customers a wide variety of options for enjoying their fresh subs while still maintaining social distance. Previously open at 7:00 am for breakfast, their current hours of operation are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm every day.
Subway has scaled back to 50% capacity by blocking off half their tables. However, with outdoor seating and numerous ways to order takeout or delivery, dine-in patrons are rare these days. Subway accepts takeout orders via phone, the Subway app, or the Subway website. Takeout orders can be picked up inside or delivered curbside. They also offer delivery through third parties like Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub.
In addition to obvious changes like requiring employees to wear masks and providing hand sanitizer for employees and customers, Subway is also working behind the scenes to ensure customer safety. Their enhanced cleaning routine includes hourly cleaning of all door handles, tables, and drink stations.
Like many restaurants, Subway has seen the effects of rising food prices and decreasing foot traffic. While they offer 6” menu specials in-store daily, the Mint Hill location has chosen to opt-out of Subway’s current BOGO footlong promotion, focusing on great food and good customer service in lieu of discounted food. “We try to keep all our food fresh and healthy,” says owner Hermant Thakor. “We try to give the customer great customer service and the most delicious food possible.”
Maintaining the necessary physical distance from other customers in a small space like Vintner’s Hill can be a challenge, but owners Michelle and Howard Hitchcock do their best to adapt the restaurant space on the fly to accommodate different sized groups in a safe way. “We have limited some seats and tables in the restaurant and on the patio with social distancing in mind,” says Michelle. “As customers come in, they are greeted and guided to tables that are open and available so that we can maintain the necessary social distance.”
For those who aren’t yet comfortable dining out, Vintner’s Hill accepts takeout orders via phone or walk-up. Typically, customers walk in to pick up their food, but they can arrange parking lot delivery for customers who are hesitant to step inside. “Just call us when you arrive, and a friendly server will bring the food to your car,” says Michelle.
In a time where anxiety is running high, Vintner’s Hill continues to pride itself on being a relaxed and casual experience where the friendly staff gets to know customers personally. “Vintner’s Hill is Mint Hill’s Cheers,” says Michelle. “Our food is always fresh and tasty, and we offer Mint Hill’s largest assortment of wines by the bottle and glass as well as a great selection of beer, coffees, and desserts.”
Vintner’s Hill is currently open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. They plan on adding Sunday Brunch from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm beginning September 13.
“If you haven’t already, stop in and give us a try,” encourages Michelle. “We offer both indoor and outdoor seating If you prefer slightly quieter times, mornings and evenings early in the week are best. If you are a fan of Vintner’s, be sure to spread the word, tell all your friends about us, encourage them to come by as well. And be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @VintnersHill.”
Big Guys Pizza
Unlike many other local restaurants, Big Guys remain closed for in-person dining, but they’re running a brisk delivery and takeout service. Takeout orders are accepted by phone and in-person, and they offer true curbside service. “Literally, you don’t have to get out of your car!” says owner Janet Muller. “When we say curbside, we put the pizza right in the backseat!”
Normally open for lunch, Big Guys is currently open evenings only from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm Friday and Saturday. With much of their daytime business being eat-in individual slices, Muller doesn’t see lunch as financially feasible right now. “We do a lot of dinner besides pizza, so it’s more of a nighttime business,” says Muller. “And this way, it gives the Burger Kings and everybody else a chance to serve lunch!”
What sets Big Guys apart from many of the other pizza joints in town is that it’s a family run business where the food is made from scratch. “Everything’s homemade, just like you were coming to my house,” says Muller who even cuts and washes the lettuce herself. “Truly, I think of it like you’re coming to our house. It really is what makes us different.” Despite the rising prices of meat and cheese, Big Guys continue to offer their New York-style pies for the same prices.
Muller looks forward to a day when Big Guys can open for dine-in service once again. “I tell you one thing I do miss with people not coming in is that interaction with customers,” she says. “I always say, they become our family. I’ve missed that.”
Chick-Fil-A Albemarle Road
Another restaurant that maintains a brisk takeout business while keeping their dining room closed is Chick-Fil-A on Albemarle Road. Guests are encouraged to order through the Chick-Fil-A app, where they can select drive-through or curbside for pickup. The app is not only a great way to order Chick-Fil-A; it also enables customers to earn points and receive free treats! They also offer delivery through DoorDash and Uber Eats.
“We definitely feel it is our team that makes our restaurant special,” says Manager Denise Boston. “We have some pretty awesome guests as well! We so miss seeing our guests come in the restaurant. We look forward to the time they can dine-in and we can serve them again!”
A small interior when not limited to 50% capacity, Wayback Burgers is taking full advantage of their big outdoor patio to serve guests lately. “Inside, we have marks on the ground showing our customers where to stand and how far 6’ is,” says owner Anna White. “People are kind and easily follow the rules and regulations, and we are thankful for that. We are in this together.”
From 10:30 am to 9:00 pm daily, Wayback Burgers offers guests a wide variety of ways to order and eat their tasty burgers. In addition to dining inside or eating on their large patio, guests can place orders to go in the restaurant, online, through their app, or on the phone. They also offer delivery through third-party partners DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates.
Wayback Burgers has been keeping things exciting with new specials on their Facebook page every week like BOGO and discounted milkshakes. They also have live music on the patio once a month. Make sure to follow them on social media @WaybackBurgersMintHillNC so you don’t miss the latest specials!
“Please give us a try,” asks White. “We want you to feel safe, and we are taking every precaution to help keep you safe. We are a local family who loves to be involved in our Mint Hill community. We are here, open every day, and ready to serve you!”
The Hill Bar & Grill
You’ll notice The Hill Bar & Grill looking a little more spacious these days with many of their tables removed to allow for 6’ of space between parties. Bar guests will find an empty stool sitting next to them rather than a potential new friend. But aside from the extra floor space, it’s the same old Hill, a fact in which owner Dave Andrews takes pride.
“We’ve been here for ten years, and we don’t change that much!” says Andrews. “I know 95% of the people that walk in. My bartender has been here for eight years; she knows everyone’s name, what they’re drinking, and what they’re ordering for dinner.”
Open 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday, The Hill prides itself on offering great food made from high quality, fresh ingredients for a good price. They’re currently offering some great seasonal specials like a prime rib sandwich. They offer to dine in, takeout, and curbside service, but they don’t currently deliver or work with any third-party delivery services.
Andrews is continually grateful for the support he’s received from the Mint Hill community throughout the pandemic. “It’s been very humbling and a blessing to have people reach out to us and do carryout and curbside and really just support the heck out of us,” says Andrews. “Without them, we would have been out of business months ago. So just keep on doing what you’re doing!”