These Huntsville burgers have superpowers
The aprons Mark Woodard and Mike Staggs put on would possibly as effectively be capes. Greater than 10 years after opening, many restaurant house owners aren’t pulling common kitchen shifts. However at Woodard and Staggs do, at their superhero-themed restaurant Supper Heroes.
These two longtime mates aren’t merely restaurant house owners although. They’re house owners/operators within the true sense of the time period and proceed to work 40 to 60 hours every week.
Again when Supper Heroes opened in early 2013, Woodard says, “If we may do 40 to 60 folks (company) a day, we might’ve been blissful. We had type of designed it (the restaurant) in order that we may nonetheless make a residing. We wished was one thing that we may go be happy with every day, pay our payments.”
Now on a typical Friday, Supper Heroes will serve round 300 company. On Fb, they’ve greater than 14,000 followers, a formidable quantity for a domestically owned restaurant on this market.
Supper Heroes’ meals is tasty inexpensive, hearty and accessibly inventive, particularly the signature burgers. For instance, their “Huntsvillain” flagship is topped with fried jalapenos, pepper jelly, pepper jack cheese and served on a grilled brioche bun. It was not too long ago featured on AL.com’s Huntsville’s finest burgers checklist.
“Once you’re constructing your sandwich,” Woodard says, “you’re making an attempt to think about how issues hit your hit your tongue and the roof of your mouth and that type of stuff to present you each texture and style and warmth and funky, that type of stuff.”
In the meantime, “The Cowpoke” is Supper Heroes’ model of an ordinary barbecue bacon cheeseburger. However right here they offer usually mild-mannered burgers superpowers to set them aside. On this case, it’s house-made sweet-heat barbecue sauce and Tabasco-seasoned fried Vidalia onion straws.
“The primary factor that we had been making an attempt to do after we had been constructing this burger,” Woodard says, “is one thing acquainted but had sufficient completely different notes in it that it was new. One-note meals is boring. To be truthful, many of the burgers that we’ve got on our menu we’ve got seen different locations we simply attempt to put our personal private spin on them.”
To paraphrase one thing Anthony Bourdain as soon as wrote, eating places that begin primarily to point out off somebody’s memorabilia assortment virtually all the time suck and are doomed to fail.
Sure, Supper Heroes partitions are dotted with framed classic comedian books – “The Flash,” “The Unimaginable Hulk,” “Ghost Rider,” and so on. — from Woodward’s private assortment of 60,000 or so, which incorporates each challenge of “Daredevil.” Motion figures, signed pictures and different geek-chic-ery additionally adorn Supper Heroes, housed in a humble former residence at 1812 Winchester Street N.E., within the unsexy Huntsville outskirts in direction of New Market and Buckhorn Excessive Faculty.
However at Supper Heroes, the comic-book-theme really got here final, Woodard says. “We didn’t say, ‘Hey, we received a bunch of comedian books, let’s open a restaurant.’ We stated, ‘Let’s open a restaurant.’ After which we had been considering, ‘Properly, what are we going to placed on the wall?’”
Staggs says they might have completed a sports-themed restaurant, “however we didn’t need to do what everyone else is.”
Round this time, DC Comics’ “The Darkish Knight” trilogy of Batman movies was lighting up the field workplace like pinball machines. Recalling Woodard’s comic-book assortment, he and Staggs had a lightbulb second.
“Our thought,” Staggs says, “was the youngsters would have one thing cool to take a look at and be quiet and the mother and father can take pleasure in their meal. And we’ve heard that 10,000 instances: ‘We come right here as a result of our youngsters are engaged in one thing else, and we are able to take pleasure in our meal.’
“Lots of people had been stunned by the how good the meals was as a result of with all of the comedian stuff they thought that the meals wasn’t gonna be that nice. That (the comedian e-book theme) is the hook. It’s like, ‘No, that’s simply one thing further and completely different.’”
Lately, after years of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies making megabucks, superhero film fatigue seems to be right here. A number of massive finances movies have flopped. “The excellent news is,” Woodard says, “is I believe our meals could outlast the MCU.” Along with burgers, Supper Heroes menu additionally will get into sandwiches, wraps, salads and past.”
Even when the glory days of superhero movies could also be reaching finish credit, Supper Heroes nonetheless will get a pleasant bump from them. In 2022, Woodard informed me a brand new Marvel film offers the restaurant a 15 p.c or so improve in enterprise. For some motion pictures, that lasts per week or possibly two. At any time when there’s a popular culture conference being held in Huntsville, that ranges up the eatery’s enterprise, too.
Woodard and Staggs first bonded at Auburn College after they’d skip class to binge video video games like the favored soccer titled “Madden NFL” on a Sega Genesis console. They started creating lengthy careers within the service trade, together with Auburn gigs and at locations like Darryl’s, Subzone and Bowtie’s in Huntsville.
Ultimately, Woodard and Staggs moved into extra company and managerial jobs with the likes of Applebee’s, Chili’s and Cracker Barrell, the place they discovered use and analyze useful knowledge like site visitors counts, projected development, and so on.
Round 14 years in the past, they began speaking about beginning their very own restaurant collectively. These conversations received extra critical after Woodard labored a 17-hour day on a Thanksgiving on account of one other supervisor calling in sick and three cooks not displaying up.
“And I referred to as Mike on my approach residence,” Woodard says. “He was at residence cooking for Thanksgiving, and I stated, “I’m not going to be right here (at his present job) subsequent 12 months. We’ve one 12 months to get it found out.’ And that was it.”
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