$1 million on the line in Burgaw restaurant competition

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own restaurant, but you don’t have the money or know where to start?
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 9:05 AM EST
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BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - Have you ever dreamed of owning your own restaurant, but you don’t have the money or know where to start? One entrepreneur is giving someone the opportunity to win $1 million to go towards the restaurant of their dreams in Burgaw.

It all started with an idea - building up Burgaw - and one man who wished to see the town grow.

Richard Johnson saw the potential in Burgaw and decided to buy seven buildings, then find entrepreneurs who dream to open their own restaurant. He’s already accomplished two - a New York-style pizzeria and Burgaw’s first brewpub.

Big Daddy’s Pizza owner, Jay Kranchalk, was a teacher in Wilmington for 22 years and never thought he would own a pizzeria in his lifetime.

“I love the idea of owning a pizza place, but it’s not something I’ve ever really dreamed of. I thought I’d be a teacher for the rest of my life,” said Kranchalk.

This was Johnson’s first investment, knowing how a popular dish like pizza would bring more foot traffic to the charming town square.

Now, there’s a national competition with $1 million on the line.

Twenty-four to 32 finalists will prepare a signature dish at a pop-up event over the summer and let the community vote on their favorites. The finalists will then move forward and prove to some popular local chefs they have what it takes to bring home the million dollars and kickstart their business.

You might even recognize the local chefs and their restaurants: Myra McDuffie of Mema’s Chick’n & Ribs, Dean Neff of Seabird, Christi Ferretti of Pine Valley Market, and Keith Rhodes of Catch.

“At the end of the day, by creating a vibrant restaurant scene, what we’re doing is we’re creating gathering spaces. Where people can come, sit down, see their neighbors and that’s how you revitalize a town and bring people back,” said Johnson.

Hundreds of applications have already been received, and no restaurant experience is necessary. The deadline to apply is March 31, so there’s still plenty of time to enter.

To apply or learn more about the competition, click here.