With an anticipated opening in mid-August, Jake’s Burgers is hoping to bring life back into an old building off of FM 1187, a community hot spot during the 90s when Pete’s Deli was in business.
Recently, Jake’s Burgers owners and business partners Courtney Lindley and Bob Gregg met Pete and Sandra Mason, the owners of the old restaurant, to share memories of and goals for the space.
“We’ve heard their stories and loved to visit with them about what this place was for them at the time in their lives that they were running the business,” Gregg said. “It was a place where they could meet their friends and neighbors and be supportive to those people in any way that they could.”
Although the building was existing when the Masons bought it, Pete was the first person to put a kitchen inside.
“I had a brother that had a convenience store and he’ had a kitchen in his, and he did very well,” Pete said. “So we decided we needed a kitchen. There was a pretty good sized stock room, so before I opened, I had that built into a kitchen.”
A hot topic of conversation between the previous and new building owners was the unique community and the people in it.
“We tried to welcome everybody and year after year, it just kept growing,” Pete said. “If I was up front and somebody walked in, it was ‘Howdy, hello. How y’all doing?’ We just greeted everybody, tried to wait on them as quick as we could.”
After talking to Pete and Sandra, the business partners reflected on their goals for Jake’s Burgers.
“The experiences and genuine relationships with the community, I think, is what they did fantastic,” Lindley said. “That’s what we hope to bring to the community, too. It’s just a genuine, authentic relationship with everyone around it.”
Lindley and Gregg bought Jake’s Burgers with a group of partners two years ago. A growing restaurant, they decided Aledo was a good fit for Jake’s ninth location. In fact, they’ve been looking for an opportunity in the town for quite some time, according to Gregg.
“We really wanted to take a brand that had heritage and history and carry it to grow into communities like Aledo where we can provide fresh, great food, a friendly environment, and a place that really has something for everyone,” Gregg said. “So we saw these opportunities with the Jake’s brand and now we get to carry it to its next phase of growth.”
However, the process hasn’t been easy for the owners, or the construction crew. Actually, the building hasn’t been used as a restaurant since the Masons shut down Pete’s Deli in 2000.
“Every project that is an older building has unique challenges that are unknown,” Gregg said. “One of the questions we get on our website all the time is ‘When are you going to open?’ because we’ve been working on this location for almost two years. However, there are a number of challenges that you don’t find out about until you start.”
One such challenge was a massive void of dirt underneath the foundation, which conflicted with plumbing work. However, the location also provided opportunities that Lindley and Gregg turned into amenities.
“To be able to create the backyard environment that we are working to create with outdoor cooking, an outdoor bar, and a place where families and friends can hang out,” Gregg said. “Not just eat, but have a great restaurant experience and also a great neighborhood hangout experience. That’s what we were very excited about in this particular location.”
The restaurant is projected to open before Aug. 17, just in time for the first high school scrimmage game.
“We‘ll do two days of live training with invited guests and then open to the public following that,” Gregg said. “We’ll make it known to the community that we’re ready to go. We’re just waiting on final formal approvals and working through a few last minute items so that we can finalize the date.”
And Jake’s has Pete and Sandra’s approval. Now, there’s three things tying the four of them together: the building, love of community, and VIP status at Jake’s.
“I can see it’s gonna be a hot spot just by looking at it,” Pete said. “There’ll be a lot of people coming here.”
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