NEWTOWN, Ohio -- The Urban Grill food truck proudly displays the catchphrase "Bacon built this city." Now, bacon has built a restaurant for this popular food truck operation.
After more than three years of serving handcrafted sandwiches, Urban Grill owners Betsy Eicher and her brother-in-law, Randy Reichelderfer, will open a restaurant at 6623 Main St. in Newtown on Jan. 11.
It's one way to make Urban Grill's food more accessible to its growing fan base.
"We thought mobile food vending would make it easier for people to find us, because we would go to where the people are," Eicher said.
However, the opposite has happened.
"We'd do private parties or ticketed events, and people just couldn't get to us," she said.
When the pair started prospecting restaurant locations in 2015, Eicher "just wasn't feeling it" -- not until Reichelderfer showed her an 1870s farmhouse in Newtown.
"The farmhouse had a lot of charm, and it's right on Route 32," she said.
Reichelderfer and Eicher, who live in Anderson Township, liked how Newtown "was very encouraging of businesses." The parks and recreation in the surrounding areas didn't hurt either.
"There are 36 soccer fields around us," Eicher said. "The pickle ball courts by the soccer fields are full all the time."
The duo bought the farmhouse and converted it into a full-fledged restaurant. The exposed ceiling beams, low ceiling and intimate feel made the farmhouse the perfect space for a coffee bar, which has open seating for roughly 30.
"We did as little as possible to the farmhouse," Eicher said. "We liked the 'bones.'"
Reichelderfer and Eicher built additions to the farmhouse to create three different dining areas: the main, private and porch dining rooms. The main dining room seats roughly 35, and the porch room (an enclosed porch) seats approximately 28.
The private dining room, which seats about 35, is fully equipped with media, including a sound system, projector and big screen. "It can be reserved during the week for meetings or serve as a dining room on weekends," Eicher said.
Eicher describes Urban Grill on Main as a full-service New American neighborhood restaurant, continuing the food truck's tradition of handcrafted food.
"We are committed to making everything fresh," she said. "These are our own recipes that Randy and I created on the truck. The marinades, sauces and dressings are made from scratch, nothing bottled."
The menu will include food truck favorites such as the family of mac and cheese sandwiches: the "urban," Buffalo chicken, barbecue chicken and goetta. Joining the sandwiches is the bowl version of grilled mac and cheese, layered with steak burger chili and topped with bacon, sour cream and more cheese.
The signature Central Porkway sandwich also is on the menu. The meaty sandwich includes marinated grilled pork tenderloin and is served with white sauce, lemon napa slaw, bacon jam, grilled onions and peppers on a grilled brioche bun.
"It was the first sandwich we ever served at the Night Owl Market at the Central Parkway and Main Street parking lot," Eicher said.
Diners also can choose from a variety of entrée salads, like the Main Street salad (shrimp and asparagus), steak salad (served with marinated flank steak) and couscous salad (Israeli couscous topped with grilled vegetables, cranberries, grilled chicken and goat cheese).
Eicher said the restaurant will offer entrees as specials with choices like Greek chicken with roasted red potatoes, lemon, capers and garlic. Even an early food truck sandwich, Roasted on Main, will get a makeover to become a pot roast entrée. And Urban Grill's food truck fans will be happy to know the "adult candy" -- bacon on a stick (maple-glazed thick-sliced bacon) -- will appear in the restaurant appetizer section, Eicher said.
The restaurant has a full liquor license and will offer craft cocktails and eight beers on tap, along with 30 other beers in cans and bottles. There also will be about 10 different wines. However, the bar is more like a service bar; it will not have bar seating.
Where possible, Urban Grill will continue to source from local purveyors such as Giminetti Baking Co. (oversized buns), Queen City Sausage (goetta) and Solstice Coffee out of Cleveland. The eatery will expand its culinary reach with a recently hired chef.
"He will collaborate to create appetizers, light bites and desserts, in addition to our truck favorites," Eicher said.
Urban Grill on Main
Address: 6623 Main St., Newtown.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; coffee bar opens at 8:30 a.m. Closed Monday-Tuesday until further notice.
Information: 513-561-8000; urbangrillonmain.com
Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO.com. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.