LUMBERTON — Hungry for lunch but need to squeeze a haircut into your busy day? A barbershop-grill combo might be the solution to your time crunch.
After almost two years of out-of-pocket renovations, T.J. Thomas and his fiance, Michelle Edwards, opened the back door of Lumberton Barbershop at 113 W. Fourth St. a few months ago to reveal T.J.’s Grill. The restaurant can be accessed directly from the parking lot on West Third Street.
While passersby might easily miss the grill’s awning, first-time customer Rosemary Stanton of Maxton simply followed her nose to the barbershop’s front door on Tuesday.
“It was unusual to walk through the barbershop,” she said.
Unusual it might be, but she wasn’t disappointed with cheeseburger combo and lemonade that Edwards set on the table in front of her.
“It was real good,” Stanton said.
Owner and operator of both barbershop and grill, Thomas said business is good from both directions.
“Some days, we might get a lot of traffic from the front door,” he said. “Some days, we might get more from the back door.”
Thomas’ mother, Ipana Lamb, once ran a beauty shop in the space behind the barbershop that was owned by his late stepfather, Ronnie Lamb. When she retired, Thomas began working toward realizing his restaurant dream.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” he said.
While far enough along to open for operation, Thomas said the work isn’t finished. He’s thinking about framing some of his old photographs of downtown businesses to display with photos of businesses that now exist in the same spaces.
The decor is not complete, but Thomas is no less proud of the space he renovated himself.
“This is the original hardwood floor,” Thomas said. “I built that bar. Everything you see, I did.”
Originally, he wanted to open a bar and grill, but decided not to pursue the licenses for selling beer. The menu includes breakfast and lunch items, from waffles and bologna sandwiches to hamburgers and barbecue. Thomas said the menu might be modest, but it delivers on taste.
“We use good Angus beef, local beef; you won’t find ground soy beans here,” Thomas said. “We use all-American products.”
Days of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays. Opening is always 7 a.m., and closing times are 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, and noon on Saturdays. Hours of operation are a little flexible on the closing end.
“We’re keeping them in suspense,” Thomas said.
The grill is also open for Alive After 5, and offers local downtown delivery if the order is big enough.
Thomas said he sees new faces every day, and hopes the business continues to grow.
While the menu might grow a little bit, Thomas is focused on making sure what is offered is the best.
“We started out simple, and we’re keeping it that way,” he said.
Reach Juanita Lagrone at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.