Is Robin Burnum’s popular restaurant Robin’s on Main moving to a new location?
The owner herself said the answer is very likely yes, but the questions of when it will move and where are long from being answered.
Burnum was planning to do some much-needed improvement on the restaurant when building owner John Beasley informed her was entertaining offers to sell the property.
No deal to sell it has been finalized, Burnum said, but when it is, she said Beasley informed her he’d give her 90 days’ notice before she would need to relocate.
But Burnum said she was already giving thought to finding a new home for the business currently located on Main Street roughly across from the restored Hope Mills Lake.
“The building is too small for me anyway,’’ she said. Burnum wants to stay in the general neighborhood where she’s currently located, and one of the first places she looked is literally around the corner from where she is – the former Hamilton-Porter Funeral Home building, now named Hamilton-Porter Enterprise, on Trade Street.
The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners recently voted to modify the zoning restrictions on the Trade Street property, so Burnum could move her restaurant there. But there are other problems to consider.
“It’s going to cost me a lot of money to get it to become a restaurant,’’ she said. “I’ve gotten prices for air conditioning and plumbing in the $40,000 range. The biggest cost is to turn it into a restaurant.’’
Burnum is confident her loyal base of customers would follow her to the Trade Street location, but she’s concerned about being able to draw new business, since the new property isn’t on a busy street like she is now.
She’s also giving some thought to a couple of locations on Main Street, where she’d have to construct a new building. One is across from the shopping center that will be anchored by the new
Surge Trampoline Park. The other is just down the street from there near where a seafood market was located.
Once she does move, Burnum wants to increase both seating space and cooking space in the new location.
Her goal is to have a restaurant that will seat up to 80 people. Now cooking on a 26-inch grill, she plans on adding two 42-inch grills at her new home.
“Here on Saturday and Sunday, we have an hour wait,’’ she said. “It’s crazy. It’s good, but it’s crazy.’’
Burnum hopes a new location would allow her to increase the special events she holds for the Hope Mills community, like her efforts to recognize law enforcement and first responders.
“Once a month I would feed the homeless,’’ she said. “I would do more for the community with the fire and police departments.’’
In the end, Burnum said all of her efforts are geared toward helping her adopted hometown of Hope Mills.
“I like the people,’’ the Rhode Island native said. “I’m away from my family, and the customers here, my loyal customers, are like my family. I’ve become attached to them.’’