SPRINGFIELD, NJ — On President's Day, Springfield residents will finally get to taste the newest restaurant in town, when Super Stuffed Burgers makes its grand opening.
Friday afternoon, just a few days away from that grand opening, co-owners Rob Grunauer and Rey Perez spoke with TAPinto Springfield about their new brick-and-mortar food venture.
"I am a comic book enthusiast/collector," Grunauer said "So the love of comics, that's already there, and the burger, I worked the hospitality business a long time, and I made my signature burgers for friends, family. And one time, I made it at Ray's, and he had a try, and he was like 'These are some good burgers.'"
Perez first had stuffed burgers when he was down the shore with Grunauer.
"Robert is the one who, he introduced me to stuffed burgers," Perez said. "Because I had never had one before. He made one ... and I was like, 'This is a good burger.'"
At that point, Grunauer and Perez had yet to go into business. Grunauer described his long-term picture at that point, which was a restaurant, and as Grunauer said, Perez was on board to invest and make that dream a reality.
"The love of burgers and comics, to me, is a perfect mix," He said. "So that's where Ray and I made it happen."
As Perez noted, the first step to making the burger joint a reality was a feedback period, where the owners set up shop at street fairs and other outdoor events.
"Initially it actually started last summer," Perez said. "He [Grunauer] possibly brought up the idea of possibly doing it at street fairs and street events. So we actually signed up. it was a lot to start off with; buying the equipment, paperwork and everything, but we did a couple street festivals. Cranford, Summit and the West Orange Farmers Market, and we got some good feedback from everyone."
Perez said the next step would have been to get a food truck, but then, the Evergreen Deli space opened up, as Matt Applebaum of Apple's Deli was leaving for a new venture, and offered to lease the building to Perez and Grunauer.
"We saw the opportunity," Perez said. "Eventually we spoke with the owner of the building, and we put it together and made it happen."
The duo took on the lase this past January, and has been working since then to get the restaurant up to snuff for its grand opening.
"Everyone kept asking us, 'Oh this burger's delicious. where are you guys located?'" Grunauer said. "And we were like, unfortunately no where, yet.' And then, like Ray said, this building became available for lease, and we just said, 'You know what, let's skip the food truck and start a brick-and-mortar.'"
As the process of getting toward a physical storefront jumped into hyper drive, Grunauer decided to focus solely on the upcoming restaurant venture.
"I had a nine-to-five, and the burger business was a weekend thing in the summer," he said. "And then when Ray and I decided to open a brick and mortar, I quit my job and went into this, and I've been here all day, every day, getting it ready.
"This has always been a dream, it just happened a lot sooner thanks to the partnership with Ray, but I'm fully committed, so I've been here all day every day getting this ready. Got it painted, equipment, everything. It has been relatively quick, but again, that's how committed we are."
When discussing the menu, Grunauer said that each burger on the menu is stuffed with a different cheese. The burger patty is seasoned, and then the patties are breaded fully with breadcrumbs. He also noted that each stuffed burger is made fresh to order, which takes slightly more time than going to a chain burger place, but results in what he said is a much more personal meal.
On top of the food, Perez and Grunauer feel they have made a location where customers can enjoy their time as well.
"One thing we definitely wanted to focus on was just making sure that if you show up here with your family, you're going to be entertained," Perez said. You're not just going to come here and enjoy a burger, you have the chalkboard wall where kids can go and make some artwork. You have the arcade machine, we've got some artwork hanging on the wall. Plus we have the comics, the pops and the collectables."
Both men are excited to bring Springfield a new burger restaurant, and said the town has been enthusiastic as well.
"It's been great," Grunauer said. "The Springfield residents are all excited for a burger place in their town. What I take from their responses is they're kind fo tired of having to go to Route 22, to go to a big chain burger place. They'd rather have a "mom-and-pop" here in town that they can call theirs.
"Every town has their place, hopefully, we want to be the best burgers in Springfield. We cater to burger lovers, comic book collectors, superhero fans old and young."
As Perez noted, he joined the main town Facebook forum, where he saw excellent feedback from the residents that helped them come to the decision to open. He also said that both he and Grunauer want their stuffed burger restaurant to be a town fixture for years to come.
"I feel that people are ready for us," Perez said. "That's actually one of the reasons I moved to Springfield. I've been here for two years now.I used to be in Union Township, but I moved here, I saw they're going to redevelop the downtown area on Morris Avenue, and that was one fo the reasons I moved.
"I have hope for Springfield, and I see a bright future, and we wanted to be part of that future," Perez said. "So I feel like we're a little bit ahead of the curve right now ... We want to serve the town, we want people to come here, enjoy themselves and not have to travel outside to other towns."
"We want to be the beginning of a turn around for Springfield," Perez added.
Super Stuffed Burgers is located at 529 S. Springfield Ave., and will hold its grand opening on Monday, Feb. 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Regular business hours are Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., closed on Sunday.