On Aug. 8, PT’s Olde Fashioned Grille announced on its Facebook page that it will be opening its doors on Aug. 9.
PT’s Olde Fashioned Grille, a local restaurant based in Wilmington, North Carolina, is expected to open its doors to the Greenville, North Carolina, community on July 26, located at 1840 SE Greenville Blvd where Pizza Inn formerly resided.
Hank McClenney, East Carolina University alumnus and co-owner of PT’s Greenville location, said after his retirement in October 2020, he took up the offer to open up PT’s in Greenville with former Pizza Inn owner Will Page after trying out the food in the Wilmington location. McClenney said he agreed to do it because loves the restaurant business.
“Me and Will (Page), both from eastern North Carolina, and like I said, it’s (PT’s) the best burgers, and I don’t want to drive two hours and have to go get a cheeseburger,” McClenney said. “We’ve been in the restaurant business. We enjoy it. If you have something that is very good that you can offer to people, you know, they are going to like it, you do it.”
The restaurant, McClenney said, receives fresh food items three times a week. PT’s menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, salad and hand cut fries done inside the store with “PT’s special seasoning.” The price range of its menu items varies from $6 to $11.
McClenney said the Greenville location will be the largest PT’s in the state of North Carolina and the only stand-alone restaurant, as most of them reside in strip mall areas. The Greenville location will also seat 30 to 40 more customers than the original Wilmington location. McClenney said the restaurant plans to open its doors to the public on July 26 if the building passes its inspections on time.
“There’s a lot of people from Wilmington, who go to college in Wilmington, and then come up here (Greenville). So we’re getting a lot of hype off of it where people are really excited about it.” McClenney said. “I mean is, the amount of people we have contacting us about the excitement of us coming here lets us know that PT’s already has a name here.”
The ordering process in PT’s will be the same as the other PT’s locations, McClenney said. The customer will fill out a sheet where they check off their food choice and circle the condiments they want to include on their selected item.
Since the PT’s in Greenville is a little larger than the rest of its locations, the restaurant will operate in a more traditional sit-down style where customers take a number and the food is brought to their table.
“So when somebody orders, we’ll put the number on the tickets and will give them their ticket to put it on the table, so it’s easier for us to find them since we’re so large. We’re going to do things a little bit different from them (PT’s in Wilmington),” McClenney said. “But the most important thing is the food is going to be like theirs (PT’s in Wilmington) because that’s some good stuff.”
McClenney said the restaurant will also have outside dining similar to the Wilmington location, but since the Greenville location is bigger, it will also have a party room. He said PT's plans to take care of their guests with great food, guest service and a laidback atmosphere.
"You know, we really (are) planning on taking care of the guests. We want a laidback atmosphere. Because in the restaurant business, like I said, for 30 years, the majority of people that worked for me really enjoyed their job," McClenney said. "It was the people who didn't try never enjoyed it. We want to have a family atmosphere, family people working here."
McClenney said the restaurant plans to have up to eight beers on tap when the business gets its alcohol license. The restaurant will also have six televisions indoors which will show sports and "anything ECU related." McClenney also said he is open to connecting with ECU organizations for events such as a percentage night.
Junior business major Liam Crowley said in an email statement he is a Wilmington native and is excited about PT’s coming to Greenville, as it is one of his favorite local restaurants and is excited to share the experience with his friends in ECU.
As someone who associates food with social life and shares excitement for PT's to be so close to him year round instead of back home, Crowley said he will definitely be presenting it as a dining option for every lunch and dinner.
“Personally, I believe that PT’s will do extremely well in the Greenville community. There is so much opportunity here and everyone knows college kids love grill-style food, and PT’s is unmatched in quality,” Crowley said.
Crowley said he thinks PT’s will be a great competition to the other local dining options in Greenville, such as Sup Dogs, due to its price, quality and atmosphere.
ECU is home to many Wilmington natives and vacationers who have more than likely visited PT’s at some point, Crowley said. He believes the students who know about the restaurant will be excited, causing a steady flow of business from newcomers and regulars.
“To the ECU students and Greenville locals, you have been missing out on excellent food for too long and now have the opportunity to indulge in some of the best burgers, fries and more from a local North Carolina grown business,” Crowley said in the email. “I think it would be very unwise to go without eating at PT’s on a regular basis.”
Crystal Setzer, a Greenville community member, said PT’s is her favorite restaurant to get a good burger. She first tried PT’s when she lived in Wilmington and said they have options on the menu that will appeal to a variety of people.
Setzer said she would go back to PT's every chance she could get after she moved from Wilmington, and she's excited for the restaurant to be coming to Greenville.
“When my family moved 12 years ago from Wilmington, I would go back to PT’s every chance I could get and I would always ask when they were going to put one in Greenville,” Setzer said. “I am so excited to have one coming close by.”