New Grumpy’s hopes to put smiles on hungry Middleburg diners

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MIDDLEBURG – Grumpy’s, the award-winning Orange Park eatery, is expanding and soon will bring its Americana style breakfast, brunch and lunch to Middleburg.

“Middleburg residents will resonate with our passion and love for bringing family and friends together over great diner food,” said Daniel DeLeone, owner and CEO of Grumpy’s.

Middleburg native Dell Hoard is the co-owner of the new franchise, along with his parents. He will also serve as the general manager. Hoard recently spent a weekend in the kitchen at the Orange Park location, getting a feel for the business and seeing what it took to run a restaurant. According to DeLeone, he loved the experience, and it just went on from there.

“I’ve been going to Grumpy’s for a few years now,” said Hoard. “So for me, it was just going in there, just falling in love with the environment, I guess. I really like the Grumpy’s culture; the neighborhood feel, the southern hospitality. It just made me feel welcome. I grew up in Middleburg, so for me, it just kind of fit.”

Hoard loves the Grumpy’s model of getting a good meal without breaking the bank, as well the good feelings he gets when he goes there. Hoard is also a fan of the good things Grumpy’s does outside of the restaurant.

“I always liked going in there. I came out of there full, and I wasn’t spending a lot of money. It was relatively inexpensive. It was kind of a lot of things, I guess. I liked the close-knit community that I feel that they have. I’ve gotten to know Danny [DeLeone] over the last few months, but I also go to see him on social media and on the news, and I got to see the kind of person he was. Just speaking with him over the last few months while getting this restaurant set up, I also got to see that everything about him on the news is also true in person. He really promotes and wants that family feel; that environment when you go in that resonates with people everywhere,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a stranglehold on many businesses, but Grumpy’s is prepared for its newest chapter.

“We knew as a company that our resources were all going to be reinvested in doing this and setting up for replication,” said DeLeone. “So even pre-COVID, we were capitalized to use our resources to expand and grow, so that really put us in a good position…it put us in a good position to know that ok, we were saving for a rainy day because we knew we were planning on growing.” Although sales are still down, DeLeone believes Grumpy’s is still in an excellent position to grow.

This location will bring 35-40 new jobs into the Middleburg community. At a time when many are out of work and have limited income, this will be one way for Hoard to give back to his hometown.

The new franchise, located at 1805 Blanding Blvd., is slated to open on Oct. 5 but will have a soft opening before that on October 2-3. The proceeds from the soft opening on the second and third will go to benefit the local YMCA.

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