The food truck R Burger will open a restaurant in Fayetteville

Burgers, hot dogs and fries served as a specialty at a Fayetteville food truck. Now he is expanding his space and his menu in a restaurant.

Food truck R Burger has become known in the Fayetteville area for its specialty burgers and homemade ranch sauce.

Now owners Mary and Robert Russell are hoping that popularity translates to the restaurant they plan to open R Kitchen at 1006 Person St. later this month.

The Russells started their food truck about nine years ago because they had always wanted to open a restaurant, but a truck was more profitable, said Mary Russell.

The large orange “R” emblazoned on the side of the truck has become their trademark, and Mary Russell says it has a variety of meanings.

“We went through many, many names and some were too formal, too cute, too fancy and it was simple,” she said. “It could stand for Russell, but it could also mean ‘Our Burger’. In print, I use that grammatically incorrect capital R, but I use it for ‘our’, ‘are’.

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Robert Russell, an army veteran, said he always wanted to open a restaurant and chose burgers because they were popular.

“I found that what my daughter and her friends enjoyed the most was the burgers,” he said. “Although there were other things we wanted to do, that’s what we decided on. It was just something that everyone liked, for the most part.”

Old favorites that remain

R Burger will open a physical location, R Kitchen, at 1006 Person Street by the end of the month.

The restaurant will still offer its popular food truck dishes such as the jalapeno burger with colby jack cheese; the Southern burger with chilli, grilled onions and mustard; and the bacon and cheddar ranch burger topped with their homemade ranch.

In addition to their staple dishes, Mary Russell said she plans to add a salad and a chicken sandwich to the R Kitchen menu, and more may be added in the future.

Mary Russell said it took the couple about four years to find a location before signing the lease on the Person Street property in February.

“The price was better than most and it had the layout we needed as it was a burger/hot dog restaurant before,” she said.

Robert said the location provides space for their business to grow.

“We have a place to park our truck and plug it in and really service it here,” he said. “The dining room allows us to serve a number of people because it’s a split dining room. We can have private events, we can have private parties, so it’s bigger than what we had, I’m sure, expected.”

The couple said they were nervous but excited about this next step in their business.

The future of food trucks

For those worried about the food truck going down, fear not: the couple has no plans to get rid of its wheels.

“Our truck is running very well and I love the truck,” said Mary Russell. “So we’re not giving up on the truck, we’re going to try to juggle and do the restaurant for lunches and start with maybe just three or four days and then grow from there.”

With R Kitchen being open for lunch, that means they won’t always be at their usual lunch spots like Bell’s Seed Store in Fayetteville and First Bank in Raeford.

The food truck already has a few employees, but as the business grows, R Kitchen has hired additional employees and plans to hire more.

To stay up to date with the food truck and the upcoming opening of R Kitchen, visit R Burger’s Facebook page.

Editor Akira Kyles can be reached at [email protected]

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