Kettering beer pub to drop alcohol, change concept and name

A Wilmington Pike beer-themed pub is transitioning into a family-oriented restaurant, with a new name to match its new concept: Junior's Pizza, Wings & Subs.

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Gary Leasure Jr., owner of The Growler Pub & Grub at 3808 Wilmington Pike, said the business will morph into the new restaurant this week. Junior's Pizza, Wings & Subs re-launched fully to the public on Feb. 19, Leasure told this news outlet in a phone interview.

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The restaurant is in the process of changing its limited liability corporation ownership, so it would have had to transfer its liquor license to serve alcohol. But Leasure said he has been looking to change the concept anyway.

“I wanted something that was more family-oriented,” Leasure said. “Not everyone wants to expose their families or themselves to a bar environment. A family-oriented restaurant will be more inviting.”

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The craft-beer market has changed considerably in the last five or six years, Leasure said. Earlier in the decade, beer enthusiasts had to go to a craft brewery or one of a small handful of beer pubs to buy high-quality craft beer. Now, high-end craft beers are available at many grocery stores and gas stations, the pub owner said.

The concept change will give his business a better chance to survive and thrive, Leasure said.

“In the long run, I think we’ll have a great product in a great location, and our concept will make us unique again,” Leasure said.

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Leasure said Growlers’ pizza and wings are the most popular items on the menu. Those popular items will continue to be offered on the new menu, which will expand to include a greater selection of salads, some new white-sauce pizza options, and some new sub sandwiches, the Junior’s owner said. A new appetizer of Fried Cheese Bites will allow customers to choose from mozzarella, cheddar or pepperjack.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The restaurant owner said he would not rule out adding a select list of fine wines and a handful of craft beers to the menu in the future, but a clean break from the previous concept will help the new restaurant establish itself.

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“I knew we had to pull the plug altogether to make the switch,” Leasure said.

The space housed a second location of the Wright Wing sports pub from 2015 to 2017, when it became Growlers. Previously, it was home to the Sports Deck, Monkeez Sports Bar and the original location of the Buckin’ Donkey.

Junior’s Pizza, Wings & Subs will be open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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