P.T.'s Grille Owner Gears Up To Open New Location

By Emma Dill, posted Jan 11, 2024
P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille will open in the coming weeks at the Crossroads at Independence. (Photo by Emma Dill)
Following months of renovations, Joe Pate is gearing up to open the newest location of P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille in the coming weeks.

Pate, who owned the P.T.’s franchise on South 17th Street for over 20 years, is relocating the restaurant to a 2,400-square-foot space in the Crossroads at Independence shopping center. The move came after convenience store chain Wawa announced plans last year to build on the site of the midtown shopping center where P.T.’s was located at 2420 S. 17th St. 

After securing a needed rezoning early last year, Wawa has moved forward with its plans for a convenience store and gas station near the corner of South 17th Street and Wellington Avenue. Site plans for the store underwent technical review from Wilmington officials in November.

Pate said the decision to move into a corner storefront space at the Crossroads at Independence was a “no-brainer.” He thought P.T.’s would be a good fit for the center, which is bordered by Carolina Beach Road and Independence Boulevard. The shopping center, which opened in fall 2022, is also in a growing part of Wilmington near Riverlights and the Carolina Beach Road corridor. 

“There's more growth coming around here,” Pate said, “so the population should grow as well.”

Pate leased the storefront beside Fleet Feet last spring, bringing the shopping center to full occupancy. Since then, he’s been working to turn the shell space into a new P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grille. After designing the restaurant's interior, he worked with an architect and general contractor to make his vision a reality.

“The hardest part was just making sure the design was right,” Pate said. “You never know until customers get in here and dictate the flow of traffic.”

The new location leans into colors featured on the restaurant’s logo with shades of bright red, light blue and “P.T.’s blue” on the walls. It will also feature an outdoor patio area. Countertops and a bar still need to be installed in the coming weeks along with tables, chairs and other furniture, Pate said. (A photo of the interior of the new location is shown below.)

Pate aims to open the new location in late January or early February. While the space is new, much will remain the same about the restaurant. He’s even planning to tie in elements of the South 17th Street location, including a painting of that restaurant’s interior along with a P.T’s surfboard, sign and the restaurant’s former bar, which he's converted into tables.

Pate said he’s looking forward to opening the restaurant, which is known for its grilled sandwiches and hand-cut fries, in a new part of town.

“I’m excited to meet new regulars,” he said, “and to bring the old regulars back home.”

Other P.T.'s locations, which are individually owned, are located off South College Road on Fountain Drive – the original – and in Monkey Junction, Leland, Hampstead, Porters Neck, Wrightsville Beach, Goldsboro and Greensboro.
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